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Wandle and iOS 13

The site has been quiet this summer, but it’s not due to a lack of activity behind the scenes. More that this time last year I trailed a few things that never came to fruition. Sometimes things are just not as close to shipping as you think.

But, as I type this, some things are very close to shipping. The latest update to Quick Calendar for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch is currently with Apple for review and, hopefully, should be out this week. It’s entirely geared around Apple’s new operating systems, including a new Dark Mode and the ability to download to the Watch without first installing it on your iPhone. There will be another blog when this finally hits the App Store.

An update for Yummy is also in the works. While built using the new developer kit, I wouldn’t say the next release will be optimised for iOS 13. Other features will be more prominent. As this is long delayed, I want to ship first and then later create a more iOS 13 optimised version, including Dark Mode and enhanced shortcuts. I’m not putting a date on either of those updates right now but hopefully soon.

Finally, I do want to update Rootn Tootn at the very least to support the latest iPhone sizes. I mention this not because I have a timescale in mind but because by now you might think it has been abandoned. It has not.

In summary: unless something goes wrong, Quick Calendar this week; Yummy a few weeks behind that; Rootn Tootn… eventually.

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news

ShareEverywhere end of life

It’s time to say goodbye to ShareEverywhere, the app I introduced on the same day that iOS 8 launched so people would have at least one app to use with the new “share extensions” feature.

Listening to the WWDC keynote in 2014, Share Extensions struck me as the most important new feature but it was difficult to know who else thought so. How many other applications would launch extensions on day one?

I decided to remove that uncertainty. Rather than wait for services to (eventually) update their own apps, I would write an app to do it all in one place.

It’s the only time that I’ve tried to release an app at a specific time. Working with beta software has its challenges — does this thing not work because I’m doing it wrong or because it’s broken? Working with a deadline can also be tricky. Doing both together… totally not recommended. What I’m saying is, if you know any iOS developers, be extra nice to them every August. Also, ShareEverywhere isn’t exactly as I imagined it when I started. The deadline and the technology resulted in a few compromises I wasn’t entirely happy with. It did, however, work. It got coverage in the Guardian newspaper and it sold okay, especially in the few weeks after iOS 8 came out.

It’s sad to write this so soon after www.cut, but the reasons are actually very similar: few sales, limited utility and the relatively high cost of maintaining it. In 2019, most apps that would benefit from having a Share Extension already have one. And ShareEverywhere is quite difficult to maintain as there are so many services that change and potentially break.

As I did with www.cut, I’ve made it free for now and will remove the app for sale entirely in a few days.

So thank you if you downloaded a copy, I hope you got as much use out of it as I did!

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news

www.cut end of life

It’s time to say goodbye to the second app that Wandle Software released: www.cut, the “no touch” URL shortening app. I’ve dropped the price to zero and it will be removed from the store in a few days.

It’s never easy to end of life a product, but the fact is the use case for it no longer really exists.

In 2009, URL shorteners were all the rage. Twitter didn’t have its own but did have a 140 character limit for each message. Most people who shared links used at least one service. Most of them had “bookmarklets” that (kind of) worked on early iPhones. If I remember correctly, some did have apps but they weren’t very good. They worked with a single service and required many taps to do the one thing you really wanted to do.

www.cut’s unique selling point was that, once configured, you could shorten a URL without even tapping a button (other than the home button to exit): you launch the app with a URL on the clipboard and it pastes the shortened one back on the clipboard. I though it was a neat idea. App Store review often had other ideas, complaining, in essence, that the UI was too sparse. They weren’t wrong, per se, as much as missing the point. In the last few years, each update has taken several rounds in review to be approved.

I’ve used it as a “playground,” rewriting both the UI and the backend several times over the years to try out new Apple technologies. I also used it to experiment with different business models (it started as advertising supported, then an IAP and finally paid upfront). I’ve even used it myself a lot! But all good things must come to an end.

Thank you to everyone who downloaded a copy. I hope you liked it.

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news

Yummy 3.3.3

You’ll find a new version of Yummy on the App Store. It’s one of the usual “fixes and minor improvements” releases.

There (should be) no user-visible change… except if you have one of the recently released Apple devices with new screen sizes. In that case, you’ll find that Yummy now knows about the whole screen!

In the meantime, I’m continuing to work on Yummy 3.4 that will have some more substantial changes.

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news

Quick Calendar 1.1

Quick Calendar version 1.1 is just now on its way to the App Store, ready for download!

Which version, you ask? The Mac version or the iPhone version?

Quick Calendar for Apple Watch

All the above. And more!

Version 1.1 on the Mac brings a couple of frequently requested features:

  • Support for macOS Mojave. This means, mostly, it works much better when using Dark Mode
  • You can now change the colours of the days

And, of course, there’s the usual minor changes and fixes.

Version 1.1 of the iPhone version brings support for all of Apple’s recently released new hardware. And by that I don’t just mean the iPhone and iPad, but the Apple Watch, too!

The Watch app allows you to skim back and forth, month-to-month, using the digital crown. (Really annoys me that you can’t do that in the month view in the Calendar app!) There’s a complication that can be used instead of Apple’s date complication on some watch faces.

As before, Quick Calendar is free to download. No purchase is required to get its full functionality, but if you like it please do add to the Tip Jar available in both apps.

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news

Smart App Banner 1.1.2

This almost happened without any fanfare at all, and, while it’s a tiny update, it seems that releasing software without even a tiny blog is fair to both the users and the people who develop it.

And, this time, the developer wasn’t me.

The change to our Smart App Banner WordPress plugin is small but was submitted by a user. You shouldn’t notice anything new or different but it’s a nice, internal update that should limit the risk of Bad Things happening in the future.

Enjoy!

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news

Yummy 3.3.2

So here’s the last “tidy things up before the new version of iOS comes out” update for Yummy. The changes are mostly fixes for things reported by users:

  • Refresh tags on edit tag screen when they arrive from Pinboard after the screen appears (#43)
  • Fix for handover not working when using Safari View Controller (#46)
  • Always show title/url in browser view (#48)
  • Open in Safari and Chrome actions for browsers (#47)

(The last one is kind of a new feature but, oddly, one I thought Yummy already had. Not sure if I imaged it or I accidentally removed it at some point. Anyway… the point is… it’s there now.)

A quick explanation for the wording in the last one: yes, it says browsers (plural). Yummy has two. On the iPhone it uses something called Safari View Controller mostly. This is nice because it shares cookies and other niceties with the main Safari browser. Sadly, you can’t really embed it as part of a screen (like on an iPad) and you can’t edit the URL once you’ve displayed it (like a browser), so Yummy also has its own screen. If you want to play spot-the-difference, the Safari View Controller has a “Safari” button on the bottom right.

I submitted it to Apple today and it should be available soon. Keep an eye out for it!

Update: there’s a snag with App Review so this is taking longer than anticipated.

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news

WWDC 2018

What do the announcements at this years Apple Developer Conference mean for Wandle Software’s apps? In addition to a few more general thoughts, that’s what I hope to answer with this post.

But first, what was I hoping from Apple and what did we actually get? I didn’t put up a wish-list for WWDC this year mostly because my desires matched up mostly with the rumours, which was that this was going to be a “stability” update.

High Sierra has been a low point for Mac releases in my opinion, with the installer on both of our Macs failing (mine on the initial install, a point release for my wife). You might forgive the installer if the update had huge user-facing benefits but, as neat as ADFS is, there’s not much to see upgrading from Sierra. iOS 11 also had problems, but more like glitches than absolute failures. I’m not adding anything new here to the “stability” debate, I’m just saying that I see the same problems.

The rumours were not untrue. The first thing Apple talked about was performance. I guess for marketing reasons it’s difficult to come out and say “we’re fixing lots of bugs” so talking about speed improvements was probably smart. But the surprising thing was the number of other nice, new additions. There was not a single must have feature, but put together all the changes to both iOS and macOS look like they’ll be well worth having.

As a consumer, there are a bunch of nice things that I’m looking forward to. The most glitzy is possibly being able to have up to 32 people in a FaceTime call. (Yeah, it’s a big number, but anyone who has used Zoom or Bluejeans will know that it’s possible if not a great experience.) And the other stuff like being able to use your iPhone camera from your Mac is going to simplify a number of more convoluted workflows. On a day-to-day basis, the enhancements to notifications is likely to be the feature that helps us the most.

The stand-out feature as a developer has to be Siri Shortcuts. If you recall from the keynote, they’re a combination of commands that you can, for want of a better word, train Siri to understand mixed with some simple scripting (using an app that isn’t currently available outside Cupertino). Unfortunately, right now, playing with the iOS 12 beta, there’s really not very much you can do with them as no apps support them yet!

Overall, the announcements made don’t have a huge impact on Wandle’s apps. I’m looking into Siri Shortcuts to see if they can add any value and, obviously, I’m testing on the iOS 12 to make sure that everything still works as intended.

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news

Yummy 3.3.1

Not a super-exciting update unless you’ve been affected by any of the bugs that have been fixed or notice any of the performance improvements. Yes, it’s one of those “bug fixes and misc improvements” updates. But it’s none of the worse for it.

Of the user visible issues, the two most interesting changes are:

  • Saving a bookmark using the share extension from apps other than Safari now works again. (This slipped through because, personally, I use Safari and the “title” field is a mandatory field in Pinboard but not Delicious. Ah, the good old days of when Delicious was a thing.) Many thanks to the user who reported this.
  • An occasional crash during sync has been squashed. I’ve been trying to find and fix this bug since early in the 3.x development cycle so it makes me really happy to have got to the bottom of it!

Anyway, this is almost certainly the best ever release of Yummy. Enjoy!

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support

Wandle and iOS 8

Apple releases the new version of iOS, the software that runs on your iPhone and iPad, on Wednesday. I’ve been running it on my iPad for a couple of months and my iPhone since last month and I’ve generally been impressed. It doesn’t have the massive visual change that iOS 4 or 7 had but there’s lots of changes that will make using iOS that little bit better.

Having said that, a lot of the new changes are developer focused so we won’t see a lot of the benefits until after iOS 8 launches and other developers can share their hard work.

Talking of which, we have a lot of work to share. We already blogged about ShareEverywhere, our new app launching at the same time as iOS 8.

As far as I know, all our apps currently work without problem on iOS 8. Of course they don’t currently take advantage of the new hardware or new software features, but they should continue to work as before. (If not, please let us know.)

We will be updating all our apps for better functionality on iOS 8. www.cut is getting very close to being available. Version 3.3 will hopefully be out by the end of the month.

Rootn Tootn and CameraGPS are a little further out, but both will be getting updates to better cope with the bigger screens and some of the other iOS goodies. More information nearer the time.

Yummy will get its biggest update ever — version 3 — some time after that.

So, in summary, everything should work right out of the gate, we have a new app and all our other apps will get updates to work even better with iOS 8.