Goodbye Delicious

Delicious has been bought by Pinboard (of all companies) and is going to be switched into read-only mode on June 15.

If you look at what’s been happening in the last few years, that it has been sold (again) and is being shut-down should hardly be a surprise. If you recall, we had to remove support for Delicious in Yummy — an app that was deigned as a Delicious client! — after their API was broken for months. It’s not a pretty end, but it’s still an end that I want to commemorate.

Early version of Yummy

Why would I want to commemorate such a failure? Well, Wandle Software was, effectively, founded becaused I liked and used the service. In 2008, when I first got an iPhone, I used it as a “read later” service; I used it to save and share interesting links; I even pulled its RSS feed into my blog as a kind of micro-blogging service. When the iPhone SDK launched a had a quick play around and figured that I wouldn’t have the time to do much. Then the store launched without a Delicous client and… long story short… I wrote one, called it Yummy and launched it in late August.

As much as I liked and used Delicious, it was flawed even from the beginning. The API was terrible. I did a talk at the London iPhone Developer group ostensibly about API design, but actually a barely disguised opportunity to complain about Delicious. (In short, it’s not entirely clear what the API is designed for. It’s not terribly good at syncing bookmarks. And the methods it did have didn’t work well on a device with 128Mb of memory.)

In addition to being badly design, it was also badly managed. At the time that Apple were taking around two weeks to approve app updates, Yahoo decided to announce a significant change to the API and then released it on the same day. No third party clients supported it. There was no first party app. I won’t recount the complete saga here — I already did that once — but, suffice it to say, it wasn’t pretty.

Having said all that, developing for the iPhone was (mostly) fun. My day-job involved working on “big iron” so making anything work with a single, slow CPU and very limited memory was a challenge. And sales in the first couple of years were in the thousands. Clearly not a huge commercial success, but not bad for a hobby and it encouraged me to keep going.

Meanwhile, Delicous’ death-sprial continued. A sale. Removal of the fun API change above. Brief optimism that things would change. Then the realisation that they wouldn’t.

I wrote this nearly a year ago:

At this point I see no point in maintaining Delicious support in Yummy. When you consider that the app is named after the site this feels a little crazy but pretending that Yummy supports Delicious when it can’t is starting to feel dishonest, even though this is not a problem of my making.

But just becasue we could see it coming doesn’t make the end a happy occasion. Here’s to you, Delicious. I’m sorry to see you go.

Glider

Glider

Did you ever read Ellen Ullman’s novel, “The Bug“? It starts with a description of Conway’s “Game of Life” and the story — without wishing to give too much away — follows a characters obsession with a variant.

Glider allows you to play with the same thing, on your nice, big screen in the living room using your Apple TV. The idea is that even with simple rules, complex behaviours can emerge.

It comes with quite a few fun presets, but you can also draw your own shapes on screen and have it cycle through. Maybe it’ll be static; maybe it’ll cycle through a few iterations; maybe it’ll fizzle out. Find out what happens is half the fun.

It’s available now as a free download for Apple TV. There’s a donate button right inside the app and we’d really appreciate it if you could support the work that went into it and any future updates.

CameraGPS: End of life

Sadly it’s time to say goodbye to CameraGPS, our photo location tagging app. It’s not proved as popular as we hoped and the support load has been higher than anticipated.

To move forward we’d have to make it easier to accurately record a trail, fix a few visual glitches and rewrite the whole iCloud sync engine (the current one is deprecated in iOS 10). It’s incredibly difficult to justify making this investment given the lower-than-anticipated sales.

Despite this, it is still an app that we’re proud of in many ways. It was the first app we developed using Core Data and CocoaPods. Early versions also included the Dropbox and Box APIs, though they were later removed in favour of iCloud Drive (also a first in one of our apps!).

By removing this app from sale, we hope to be able to spend more time supporting our existing apps and creating new ones. If you bought CameraGPS, we thank you support.

Quick Calendar 1.0.1

When I first download macOS 10.12 Sierra I noticed that Quick Calendar looked a little out of place. While all of Apple’s Notification Centre widgets had a light theme, Quick Calendar had a dark title bar and looked much more like things did in Yosemite and El Capitan.

I re-build the widget for Sierra. No change. I looked in the documentation for style and theme changes. Nothing. I thought, perhaps, that Apple had kept the light theme for themselves. Luckily I was wrong.

And this new version of Quick Calendar has that tiny update so that it looks at home on macOS Sierra. It still works on El Capitan and Yosemite.

I just submitted it to Apple. It should be available to download in a few days hours. Enjoy.

Update: It was approved last night, less the six hours after I submitted it!

ShareEverywhere 1.1.3

Readability have decided to retire their “read later” service, which means that the time has come to remove it from ShareEverywhere, too.

This release also removes the error checking when saving a link to Delicious. You’d be right to think that’s an odd thing to do, but it’s down to the way that the Delicious API works. Or rather, doesn’t work. From our testing, the “add bookmark” API seems to work correctly but always returns an error. Sadly, this means there’s no way to distinguish between a genuine error and no error.

So not an earth shattering release, but definitely an improvement. We hope you like it.

Rootn Tootn 2.2

This update has been a long time in coming and doesn’t contain anything like the feature-set originally envisaged — the story behind this may be revealed eventually — but what’s about to hit the App Store shortly is nice.

Rather than a long list of new features, it mostly makes existing features either easier to find or easier to understand.

For example, some users found the difference between a duration timer and an event time to be confusing. And, honestly, we can’t blame them. While the best names we’ve been able to come up with, they’re not necessarily immediately obvious. So rather than just say “do you want duration or event,” the new reminder screen now has some explanatory text.

We’ve extended this kind of thinking throughout the app. So it’s not a flashy new release, it doesn’t have a tonne of exciting new features, but we think there’s a lot of value in allowing new users to find the current functionality more easily.

Readability

Today I received an email:

After more than five years of operation, the Readability article bookmarking/read-it-later service will be shutting down after September 30, 2016.

Currently, ShareEverywhere supports the ability to post links to Readability, so we will shortly be issuing a release that removes support.

It feels like every blog these days is about functionality that’s being removed! We hope to have better news soon!