iOS 9 and OS X 10.11

On Wednesday, Apple announced that they’ll be releasing iOS 9 on September 16 and OS X El Capitan on 30 September. Will Wandle Software’s apps be ready?

Short version: yes.

The last updates to Yummy and ShareEverywhere fixed a couple of minor glitches that I saw when running on iOS 9. To be clear, these versions do not use any new features in iOS, they just work properly with it.

Coming soon, both apps also have “real” iOS 9 updates.

ShareEverywhere 1.1.2 is a minor update, mostly to support iPad side-by-side multitasking.

Yummy 3.2 is a bigger update that includes the side-by-side multitasking, Spotlight indexing and a few other neat new features that are unrelated to iOS 9.

Version 2.2 of Rootn Toon is nearly ready to go, too. The current App Store version has a couple of minor visual glitches on iOS 9 but it’s fully usable otherwise.

www.cut is in a similar state to Rootn Tootn. After the battle to get the last version released, it’s not clear how soon this update will be available, though.

Finally on the iOS side, I need to do more testing with CameraGPS. It seems to be okay, but with the same visual glitches seen in Rootn Toon. A new version will be forthcoming if necessary.

On the Mac, Quick Calendar still works well on OS X 10.11.

More information about each specific app when I submit to Apple.

Delicious Certificate error

If you’re seeing a certificate error when syncing Yummy with Delicious this blog post is for you. 

Unfortunately it’s a problem on the Delicious side so there’s nothing that we can do to fix the fundamental problem — which is that their SSL certificate is either invalid or has expired.

However, what you can do is tell Yummy that you want to ignore the error. This is generally not something I’d recommend, but it’s happened often enough that there’s an option to do exactly that. 

You need to open the Settings.app, scroll down to Yummy and enable the “Ignore invalid certificate” option. I’d recommend you switch it back off when it’s fixed. 

Yummy 3.1.1 for Workgroups

Recently, for unknown reasons, I’ve seen a substantial increase in the number of crash reports for Yummy. Sadly I’ve not seen very many of them on my own devices and I’ve not been able to reliably reproduce them.

Yummy 3.1.1, however, is my attempt to fix as many of them as possible.

Additionally, you should see a “delete” button on the edit bookmark screen — functionality that was, of course, already present but it’s no bad thing to make it easier to find and use.

Other than that, there should be very little that is user visible. If you have a lot of bookmarks or tags, you might see a slight loss of smoothness in the UI while syncing. I have removed some “clever” code — which was there for the benefit of performance — and replaced it with simpler, hopefully more reliable code. This should be a net win for everyone. I’ll try to add back the performance improvements where it makes sense.

A free copy of Quick Calendar and Rootn Tootn to everyone who can tell me where the “for Workgroups” ‘joke’ comes from.

It should be available to download in about a week. Enjoy.

ShareEverywhere 1.1.1

I’ve just submitted a minor update of ShareEverywhere to Apple for approval. If past performance is any indicator, it will be available for you to download in a week or so.

In addition to the usual bug fixes and minor improvements, there are two new actions:

You may find that the order of the sharers has been reset in this version — that was unavoidable when adding the new options I’m afraid — and you might need to log into LinkedIn again, since they changed some details with their API.

Yummy 3.1

Introducing Yummy 3.1, the first feature update of Yummy since the completely new version 3 first hit the App Store earlier this year. It’s currently with Apple for review and should be available to download in a week or so.

With each release of Yummy, we try to have a main focus. The theme for version 3.1 is tags. To that end, here are some of the highlights:

  • Tag suggestions
  • Tag filtering/sorting
  • Tag cloud
  • Improved tag selection screen (both in the app and the share extension)
Yummy 3.1 Home screen
Yummy 3.1 Home screen

But just because tags were the main focus doesn’t mean that there are no other features:

  • Saved search (shared between your devices using iCloud)
  • Bookmark filtering/sorting
  • Tap-and-hold back/forward to get list of previous links in the web browser

Let’s talk about those features in more detail.

You can ask Pinboard or Delicious for suggestions when you’re creating or editing a bookmark; you can filter bookmarks (by date, shared/private, to read) and tags (number of bookmarks) and sort (alphabetically, chronologically, by tag count). The speed of modern hardware make these options possible when they were not when Yummy was first written.

Saved search is a popular feature that was in Yummy 2.x but didn’t make the cut for 3.0. It’s back in 3.1 and it better than ever. It now syncs between your devices using iCloud. If you flag a search as a “Favourite” then it will appear on the home screen ready for quick access.

As ever, there are a lot of other, smaller features that I won’t get into here. It’s a pretty big update for a “0.1”. We hope you like it.

WWDC 2015

As always, WWDC, Apple’s annual developer conference, is a bit of a firehose even when you’re sitting at home just reading the blogs and watching the occasional session video. I’m not sure how people in San Francisco actually keep up!

What I’m trying to say is that this post is far from complete. I’m sure that I’ve missed something important. But here is my top four things that I’ve taken away so far.

Bitcode

I list this one first because this is the one I’m most concerned about. The gist is that instead of compiling apps down to ARM and ARM64 code and sending that to Apple for review and release, we send a “partially compiled” app to Apple. When a user downloads it, Apple’s servers finish the job, compiling this intermediate code down to the specific hardware that they have.

Clearly this is Apple’s way of saying that new hardware is on the way — also see App Thinning — and they don’t want us to have to recompile our apps before they’ll work on it.

Why is that bad? Well, I have no idea what code will be executing on my users machines. What optimiser settings are Apple using? What compiler are they using? Are there any bugs in it?

Or put another way, Apple put an invisible step between the developer and the user. If it works, users get an optimised app. If it doesn’t, the developer gets a bunch of one star reviews for something that they had no ability to test. It doesn’t seem to me that the upside outweighs the risks.

Let’s hope they do it well and cautiously. Or that the new hardware is worth the hassle!

iPad multitasking

This one is going to sell a lot of iPad Air 2’s to developers in the next couple of months. I love this both as a developer and as a user.

As a user, being able to run two apps side by side suddenly makes the iPad far more useful. Can I say, finally?

And as a developer, it’s not even terribly hard to implement as long as the app is relatively new. With the caveat that more testing is needed, I got Yummy up and running in the Simulator without changing any code.

SLSafariViewController

It’s basically a “Safari view controller” that developers can use to show web content in their apps.

I thought that this would be ideal for Yummy. The value of the browser in Yummy is diminished by its lack of autofill (of password, addresses, credit card details, etc.) and log in details. SLSafariViewController, which suffers from none of those disadvantages, sounds like the solution.

However, in the first beta at least it’s limited in two important ways that means it won’t work in this scenario. Firstly, it’s modal. Secondly you can’t edit the URL. I’ve raised bug reports about both. We’ll see.

Still, I can see uses for it in its current form.

Spotlight searching inside apps

This is another good one, both for users and developers. Using Spotlight search — which has had lots of other nice improvements too — it will be possible to find things inside apps.

For example I was able to use Spotlight to find bookmarks that had been indexed by Yummy. This is more work that the multitasking but is not super hard.

In summary…

Yeah, I didn’t mention Swift or the Apple Watch. I think both have a great future but I don’t have any immediate applications for either right now. (For what it’s worth, my first app with Swift in it will probably ship before the end of the year.)

Like the multitasking, the Spotlight searches are going to create more reasons for more users to keep using compatible apps. But, more than that, it’s going to make apps considerably more useful without having to invest vast amounts of time to get the benefits.

This contrasts greatly with the last two releases of iOS. With 7, a huge amount of work was required just so that apps didn’t look out of place in the New World. For many apps, that work resulted in no new features or stability improvements. Version 8 required none of that, but it was a huge release for developers. Extensions were brilliant, but required a lot of work, especially since the development tools were flaky.

iOS 9 appears to be a stability release for Apple and the new features seem to give a lot of “bangs per buck” for developers. That’s my kind of release.

Quick Calendar

Update 25 June 2015: Available for download now.

Quick Calendar
Quick Calendar

In the olden days, Apple added the Dashboard to Mac OS X. It had lots of potential — widgets to quickly give you information or make simple calculations — but it stagnated and then has pretty much gone in Yosemite (10.10). By and large it has been replaced by the Notification Centre.

I wouldn’t mind so much, but there’s one widget that I use all the time: a simple monthly calendar. It didn’t link to Apple’s Calendar to show events or anything clever. It was just a quick way to work out that, say, next Friday is the 23rd or that February 24th is a Tuesday.

And, oddly, it’s not there in the Notification Centre. There’s a list of todays events. There’s a list of your reminders. There’s what’s happening tomorrow. The weather. But not a simple calendar widget.

Well, now there is. Or at least, will be soon. I’ve submitted my Mac calendar widget to the Mac App Store and, with luck, it’ll be available soon.. It will be free but we accept donations right inside the app if you’d like to support us and help us product future updates.

ShareEverywhere 1.1.0

We’re pleased to announce the imminent availability of ShareEverywhere 1.1, the only share extension you’ll ever need!

Custom Sharer
Custom Sharer

Two major new features in this release:

  • Sharers can be re-ordered
  • Custom sharers

Of course there are the usual array of fixes and minor enhancements, too.

Ordering the sharers means that you can put your most frequently used services in the most convenient place for you. In the main app you simply press and hold on the sharer name and drag it to where you want it. This order is maintained in the share extension.

Secondly, custom sharers. Custom sharers mean that you can pre-populate values that you might want to use frequently. For example, you might want to send links by email to a colleague or pictures using iMessage to your partner. Custom sharers mean you can set up these properties in advance, reducing the number of taps needed to share your content.

We don’t normally talk about specific fixes, but there’s one worth mentioning. I liked Instagram’s new Layout app. Once you create your image you can share it with Facebook, Instagram or using the system share menu (including ShareEverywhere). But not Twitter.

It was at this point that I found that the ShareEverywhere Twitter sharer didn’t work with Layout. It turns out that some of the code assumed that the image will be a JPEG but Layout exports a PNG. That’s fixed in this version, so you can now export directly from Layout to Twitter.

ShareEverywhere 1.1 is currently with Apple for review and should be available to download in a few days. It’s a free update for existing users or $1.99 as a new purchase. It’s also available as part of the Wandle Social Bundle for $4.99.

Yummy 3.0.2

The TL;DR version is: one new feature, lots of bug fixes, available soon.

Yummy 3.0.2 is currently with Apple for review and should be available to download in the next week or so. There were two legs to this relatively minor release.

Firstly it crosses off the few remaining crashing bugs and hangs. At the time of writing, only two users have been affected by crashing bugs in 3.0.1 according to my crash reporter, but that’s still too many. The hangs are harder to quantify but we think they’ll all gone in this version. As always, please let us know if you find otherwise.

Secondly, adding back features that were in 2.x but didn’t make it into 3.0. This time it’s the turn of “add bookmark from the clipboard.” If you tap the add button and the URL field would otherwise be blank, Yummy 3.0.2 inserts any URL on the clipboard for you.

Alternatively, you can have Yummy automatically show the add bookmark dialog on launch. You can enable this in the settings.

Apple have been approving updates in about a week, so it should be available to download soon.  We hope you like it.

Delicious API Outage

Update 10 April: It appears that the Delicious API is available again and you should be able to sync your bookmarks in Yummy again.

For what it’s worth, I don’t feel that Delicious communicated the problems very well — their blog said, incorrectly, that the API was working — and the amount of time they’ve taken is clearly disappointing. Sadly short of hosting our own bookmarking service, there is little that we Wandle Software can do when this happens.

At the time of writing most users will not be able to log into or sync with their Delicious account using Yummy or any other third party clients. The cause of this is Delicious moving data centres:

We are currently in the process of moving our data center. The entire maintenance window is expected to be from Friday April 3rd at 8:00 p.m. PT until Saturday April 4th 9:00 a.m. PT. During this time you may experience interruptions when saving and retrieving links. We are anticipating a full site outage at some point during that window,  but we are expecting it to last less than 1 hour.

It appears that they hit, or nearly reached, this target for their website but there are a number of unresolved issues around the periphery (feeds, importing/exporting links). They have not explicitly mentioned the API — the method by which Yummy accesses your bookmarks — but it’s certainly not working for me and I have received a number of support requests.

It appears that some work is ongoing. Over the weekend I was getting “503” errors (“Service Unavailable”) but as of Tuesday morning requests are failing with “invalid certificate” errors. If you’d like to validate this yourself, you can do so with the following command (replacing username and password with your actual username and password):

curl ‘https://username:password@api.del.icio.us/v1/posts/update’

I can only apologise for this outage and wish that there was something that I could do to help. In the meantime, I am waiting to submit Yummy 3.0.2 in case there are some required changes that they have not currently documented.

Please follow the Delicious and Wandle Software Twitter feed for more real time updates.