Archive for October 13, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

iOS 5 Cleaning

Marco Arment:

There’s no longer anywhere to store files that don’t need to be backed up (or can’t be, by the new policy) but shouldn’t be randomly deleted. This is problematic for lots of apps[…]

Dennis Ritchie, RIP

Tim Bray:

It’s hard to believe that there was a time when any of these weren’t conventional wisdom, but there was such a time. Unix combines more obvious-in-retrospect engineering design choices than anything else I’ve seen or am likely to see in my lifetime.

Not to take anything away from Ritchie, but Unix got so much right and was so successful that it created a bit of a monoculture, with even some of the bad ideas becoming conventional wisdom.

Herb Sutter (via John Gruber):

Bjarne Stroustrup made an eloquent point about the importance of Ritchie’s contributions to our field: “They said it couldn’t be done, and he did it.”

Update (2011-10-16): More from Lambda.

Secrets of iOS 5

Jeff Carlson:

If you type with your thumbs while holding an iPad in both hands, or if you want take the new Show/Hide keyboard button out for a spin, check out the new Split Keyboard feature. To begin parting the Red Sea, drag using your thumbs outward from the middle of the keyboard to split the sections. To put the keyboard together again, put a thumb on each section and push them together.

This is one of the best features in iOS 5, but I don’t understand why there’s a preference and you have to specifically split the keyboard with a gesture. What would be the benefit in switching off the preference?

In Mail on the iPad, in portrait view, swipe left to right with two fingers to display the mailbox list, which slides as a panel from the side of the screen.

I don’t know why the list doesn’t appear as a popover, as it used to — perhaps Mail will become the iTunes of the iPad: the place where Apple experiments with interface.

It’s be nice to see some guidelines and consistency, but I like the sliding panel. Popovers seem better suited to tools and inspectors than to navigation.

A Permanently Sweet Solution?

Business Week’s profile of Scott Forstall (via John Gruber):

Before the introduction of the iPhone, Forstall supported Jobs’s view that Apple didn’t need to create an ecosystem of third-party developers. Back then they figured the device would stand out for combining a phone with an iPod plus a superfast browser. For the most popular activities—watching YouTube videos, for example—Forstall’s team would simply partner with market leaders such as Google (GOOG) to create apps built specifically for the iPhone.

I’ve long assumed that Apple always intended to create an iPhone SDK, but that they didn’t talk about it in 2007 because it wasn’t ready yet. The line about changing their mind and opening it up due to feedback from customers and developers was just rhetoric. Supporting this theory is that Apple emphasized to developers that it was built on Cocoa and other frameworks that they were familiar with. And, secondly, that it was blindingly obvious even then that iPhone OS would be a great app platform and that this would benefit Apple. But what if that really wasn’t the plan?

iCloud and the Mac App Store

Clark Goble:

My real worry is that programs like those will stop being made. My secondary worry is that more and more features of the OS will require being a signed application by Apple. i.e. only work from the MAS. Consider iCloud. It’s completely understandable why Apple may wish to have applications go through the approval process to use iCloud. (Apple apparently hasn’t decided on policy here yet – at least not in any official statement) Suddenly that means that no application can send arbitrary Applescript and access iCloud. I think it is safe to say that more and more features may start requiring the limits that the app store imposes.

John Gruber also notes the uncertainty:

My gut feeling/semi-informed hunch is that yes, it will be restricted to App Store apps, so that Apple can approve all iCloud storage use cases in advance, and easily pull the plug on any app that proves to be abusive in the wild. Put another way, my bet is that if your app isn’t signed by Apple, it won’t be able to write to an iCloud container.

iCloud and the application sandbox were probably the two biggest Mac announcements at WWDC in June. Now they’re deployed on customers’ Macs, and Apple still hasn’t clarified the policies for using them.