Categories
news

Yummy Update

A few weeks ago I said that there would be a new app, Yummy for Mac, coming along very shortly. What happened? Has the window for “very soon” not passed?

Well, yes, is the short answer. Those familiar with the Apple app ecosystem may well be able to predict what happened: App Review.

I did not expect Yummy to pass App Review on the first attempt, but since the iPhone and iPad versions have passed the same process many, many times over the years I did not anticipate what did happen. They said that they were unable to review the app since they can’t see what it does. As a third-party Pinboard client, I am not able to provide a sample username and password.

As App Rejections go… this is not entirely unreasonable. It does make me wonder how they’ve been reviewing the iPhone app. But it does present a problem. How can Apple see the app if I am unable to provide valid credentials?

The solution comes from the product’s history. Those with long memories may recall that Yummy used to be a client for a site called Delicious (hence the name). For a while after that, it supported both Delicious and Pinboard and, now that Delicious is defunct, it only allows Pinboard accounts.

With Yummy 3.6.0 for Mac, this changes again. The new version now also supports local accounts. You can now add bookmarks to your Mac and they won’t be uploaded to the cloud at all. I’ll be honest: the main motivation for this is to pass App Review. However, I have had requests for something like this in the past so hopefully, it will prove useful for some users rather than just Apple.

Since the Mac and iPhone apps both share a common code base, this feature will be coming to iOS in the next version, too.

With this additional account option, Yummy should be able to enter App Review proper and, with any luck, will actually be approved. There’s no guarantee that further obstacles will not be created, so please cross your fingers!

Categories
news

Yummy 3.6

The latest version of Yummy is a surprisingly large release. In terms of lines of code changed, this is probably the most significant since version 3.0 back in 2014.

Three pane view on iPad

Since I use the development version on my own phone and tablet, I sometimes forget how much has changed since the last release. This is one of those times.

If there’s one theme for version 3.6, it’s a refreshed user interface. The most visible changes are available on the iPad, where you can see a new, three-pane view of your bookmarks. On the left is the main menu, next are your bookmarks or tags, and on the right is the usual web view. You’ll also see a refresh of many of the icons and graphics. Rather than use custom glyphs, Yummy now uses Apple’s SF Symbols wherever possible.

There’s also a completely new user interface: Shortcuts. Apple’s automation tool has been around for a few years now and is getting more powerful with every year. Yummy 3.6 adds a couple of new actions to the system, allowing you to add a new bookmark and get the title of a webpage when given a URL. It’s true that the system provides a version of both of these built-in, but, frankly, they’re not very good (especially the “add bookmark” option). When adding a new bookmark, you can add it to any account, and set the title, tags, shared and “to read” status. Naturally, any of these values can come from your automation.

In the “improved but not yet complete” category, we have keyboard shortcuts. There are more keyboard shortcuts in this version but there’s still work to be done.

Yummy has worked on every version of iOS since 2.0 in 2008. During that time, Yummy has acquired special cases for quirks and behaviours for those old versions of iOS and the “best practice” for doing some things has changed over time too. While supporting old phones I have not been able to use the “new” methods, resulting in what programmers call “cruft.” So one of the nice things about this version of Yummy, one that almost no one other than me will ever see, is the amount of code that has been removed from it! But less code means (hopefully) fewer bugs and better support for modern operating systems.

Oh, and did I mention that coming soon there is a Mac version of Yummy? (There will be another post about that shortly when it’s available for download.)

Categories
news

End of 2021 Update

The last update here was in June, so it may look as though there is nothing happening. Not true! So here, very quickly, is what’s going on behind the scenes and what you can expect to happen some time next year.

First: updates for iOS 15 and macOS 12. Broadly, all our software continues to work correctly on the latest operating systems even without updates. Additionally, the new operating systems do not appear to offer any new features or APIs that will enable exciting new features. So yes, there will be updates and they will be built for the new OSs, but there is no urgent need.

The main activity for the last few months, however, is pretty big. It’s driven by both my own, personal needs and customer demand, which is generally a good sign. I have been working on Yummy for Mac.

The new Mac version is a port of the iPad version using Apple’s “Catalyst” technology. Getting a version running was actually pretty straight forward. I had a version running back in May.

But it turns out that there’s a big gap between having a version that “basically” works and one that I’m happy to release.

The changes that are being made for the Mac version mostly improve the iPhone and iPad version too, so none of this is wasted effort. It’s just taking longer than I originally expected.

The Mac version will be released as a new app, initially only in the Mac App Store. Other download options may be made available later. Naturally, the iOS and iPad version will also have some new features but I’ll keep them under wraps for now.

So that’s the new from Wandle HQ. Wishing everyone a great festive season and success in 2022.

Categories
news

App Tracking Transparency

A new feature in iOS and iPadOS 14.5 has been getting a lot of press recently. It’s called “App Tracking Transparency” and the idea is that it gives people the choice as to whether companies can track user behaviour across apps and websites.

Many companies that are funded by advertising dislike ATP as it limits their ability to target individuals. They claim that this will make advertising less effective and end up costing small business more.

We at Wandle Software are big fans of this feature.

We don’t track people. Our apps don’t even include third-party analytics. We literally don’t know how many people are using any of our apps, much less what features they use or any of their behaviour outside the app. Is this limiting? Yes! When we include a new feature we don’t know whether it gets used. But we don’t want our activities to be tracked, so we don’t inflict it on our users either.

Will ATP cost small businesses more? It shouldn’t. If Facebook and Google’s advertising is less effective, market forces would suggest that they should lower their prices. So maybe they make less money. And if they don’t lower their prices then either they didn’t need tracking or there is no effective market (in which case maybe governments should intervene).

Long story short: we don’t track people. You won’t see the “Can we track you?” prompt in any of our apps. But because we’re not supported by advertising, all the money used to fund development comes directly from users, either by purchasing the app or by contributing to the tip jar.

Categories
news

Yummy 3.5

If I said that there were no new features in the latest version of Yummy, you might very well get the wrong idea.

In fact, a lot has changed.

Rather than add new things, Yummy 3.5 concentrates on making existing things easier and faster, while also updating the core code to make it more maintainable and future proof.

Bookmark Edit
Bookmark Editing screen in Yummy 3.5

In terms of things you’ll notice, three screens have been completely re-written. At the centre is one of the main screens in the whole app: the dialog used to create and edit bookmarks. There are also new screens to filter and sort bookmarks and tags.

The new screens are completely new, using Apple’s latest user interface framework, SwiftUI. Arguably they all have a cleaner, more modern look.

The bookmark editing view has had the most changes. New this time are the tag suggestions. In addition to the auto correct suggestions at the bottom of the screen, beneath the tags you’ll now see tag suggestions. It will show you three suggestions based on what you’ve typed so far. Hopefully that will save you some typing.

Additionally, as you type tags, they appear as tags rather than just as text. The visual representation is helpful, I think, but there’s also utility. You can quickly remove tags that you added by mistake just by tapping them. Again, saves some typing.

The funny thing, though, is that I never got many complaints about the bookmark entry screen. One of the most frequent requests was about the “Share Extension,” the screen that allows you to add new bookmarks in Safari and other applications. As a way of heading those off, in addition to rewriting the whole bookmark editing screen, I also ported the whole thing over to the “Share Extension.” There are a couple of minor differences, but, basically, the “new bookmark” screen is now the same whether you access it from Yummy itself or from another application.

Of course, there are the usual collection of “bug fixes and performance improvements.” It’s been “modernised,” uses more of Apple’s latest APIs and has more updated dependencies so that it operates as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Overall, while it is technically accurate to say that there are no new features, it’s not fair to say that Yummy 3.5 isn’t greatly improved. It’s currently with Apple for review and hopefully should be available for download shortly. Hope you like it.

Categories
news

Quick Calendar 1.3.2

Version 1.3.2 of Quick Calendar is currently with Apple and, with luck, will be available for download as you read this. This version is for Mac, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

Version 1.3.2 checks off pretty much every feature request I’ve received for Quick Calendar since version 1.3 came out late last year.

  • Option to show the week number
  • Option to change the first displayed month
  • Option to use the “system” highlight colour
  • Customise the first weekday in the Watch app
  • Localised in French, German, Spanish and Portuguese

Most of these are self-explanatory, so I won’t go into any detail. A couple of them need some context.

The second feature I lied about: the ability to change the first month displayed is not a popular request. The request I get is “I’d like to be able to move to the next and previous months,” though often the message is not that polite. The amount of abuse I’ve received for removing this feature has been shocking. Pretty much every negative review on the App Store is about this.

But I didn’t remove the feature because I wanted to. I removed it because Apple provides no way to implement it! Big Sur uses a completely different way to display widgets and it does not provide interactivity. (So the people threatening to use a competing product were barking up the wrong tree.)

The best alternative I’ve been able to figure out so far is to have the ability to start on a different month other than the current one. I appreciate this isn’t ideal, but without the ability to add buttons I’ve not come up with anything better.

Finally, I’ve localised the widgets and the Watch App into a handful of languages other than English. If you have any corrections for what’s there in French, German, Spanish or Portugues, please let me know. Similarly, if you’re interested in localising into any other language, please get in touch.

I hope you’re enjoying using the widgets. Remember, if you do, I really appreciate any donations. It takes a lot of effort to keep it up to date with the latest Apple technologies — the widgets in iOS 14 and Big Sur were a complete rewrite of the older widgets — and other feature requests.

Update, 7 March. Apple approved the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch version but rejected the Mac version, for reasons unrelated t the new features.

Update, 14 March. I submitted a fix to Apple. Second time lucky?

Categories
news

Yummy 3.4.3

New shortcut menu
Yummy

Yummy 3.4.3 has just been approved by Apple and should be available for download from the App Store shortly (if it isn’t already).

It’s a pretty small update, one of those “bug fixes and minor update” releases. The main user-visible change is that it now supports all the latest Apple devices and their new screen sizes. It’s built with the latest Apple developer kit but doesn’t currently take advantage of any of the new iOS 14 features.

I have heard a few reports of Yummy’s Share Extension not appearing correctly on iOS 14. I think this is a problem with iOS since I’ve not changed anything in Yummy and it’s been working since 2015. Indeed, Yummy 3.4.2 is still built against iOS 13. I can’t guarantee that this version will miraculously fix it, but that’s my hope.

Categories
news

Quick Calendar 1.3.1 (for iPhone, iPad and Watch)

Quick Calendar

Approved in super-quick time: the latest update for Quick Calendar. This version runs the same code as the Mac version and has the exact same features in the iOS14 widget.

That means, new in this version is the ability to pick the first day of the week. Previously it always picked the day your system’s locale suggested, and that’s still the default. But now you can change it.

This was basically the number one feature request. Embarrassingly it only didn’t make it into 1.3.0 because of a silly off-by-one error. Anyway, better late than never!

Hope you like it. You can download it from the App Store now.

Categories
news

Quick Calendar 1.3.1 (macOS)

If you’ve been following along to the earlier happenings in the world of Quick Calendar, this new version should not be a Big Sur-prise (sorry).

Earlier this year I migrated the Watch app from its old watchOS foundation to an entirely new SwiftUI base. I don’t normally talk much about the internals, but this time it’s important. I was able to use exactly the same code to build the widget for iOS and iPadOS 14. Again, I’ve been able to use exactly the same code to build a new widget for macOS 11.

There’s currently feature parity between the iOS and macOS versions of the widget (or will be when version 1.3.1 for iOS is released). So you get multiple sizes. You get the ability to change the “today” highlight colour. And you can change the week start day from your calendar default — this is probably the number one feature request.

What I’m talking about here is a completely new widget for macOS 11 (and above). You’ll need to update your Mac to the latest release to make use of this new widget. Quick Calendar still comes with the “old” widget, unchanged from the previous version.

The software is currently with Apple for review. I’m hoping that it will be available for download at the same time as Big Sur itself.

Categories
news

Quick Calendar 1.3.0

Quick Calendar 1.3.0 is currently with Apple for review. You can think of this as the iOS 14, ipadOS 14 and watchOS 7 release.

Quick Calendar’s iOS 14 widget

If you saw the tweet, you’ll realise that this release didn’t entirely go to plan. The whole Apple developer community were wrong-footed by the new versions of the operating systems launching with less than a day’s notice. Fortunately, this release was almost ready.

The “original” notification centre widget is largely unchanged, but there is additionally a new one that’s supported only in Apple’s newest operating systems. It’s based on the same foundation as the Watch app that arrived in version 1.2.

You can place your widgets on the left side of your iPad screen, alongside your app icons or on the very left screen of your iPhone. Quick Calendar’s widget comes in three sizes: one month, two months and four months.

One of the most popular requests I’ve had since launch has been for the ability to change the “today” highlight colour. The new widget has this ability. If you press-and-hold the widget, it flips over to reveal the available options.

I’ve been using this widget myself for over a month now and I like it! I hope you do too. I should be available to download in the App Store shortly.