Friday, November 22, 2013

TextExpander Rejected From App Store

Apple no longer permits sharing data among iOS apps via Reminders, the new method that Smile developed for iOS 7. Greg Scown:

We have less than two weeks to develop an alternative data exchange mechanism, and this is complicated by the impending Thanksgiving holiday.

We considered revising the SDK to incorporate code to access users’ snippet data directly on Dropbox. This is not possible due to Dropbox’s app sandboxing. We considered the Datastore, but its limit of 5MB per account is too small for many users’ TextExpander data, and this is not how it was intended to be used. Dropbox is not a viable choice for the available timeframe.

Our only alternative appears to be providing TextExpander data via x-callback-url. User action will be required to acquire and update snippet data. Each app will have its own copy of the TextExpander data, which will not sync automatically with user updates made in the TextExpander touch app. It’s not ideal, but it is within the App Store Review Guidelines.

Brent Simmons:

I would love to see a supported means of sharing data between apps on iOS. I’d love to see something like AppleScript (only much, much better).

In the absence of that, the only non-hacky way of sharing data is a web service.

Manton Reece:

A web service is the best solution right now, but it seems tricky. Charging would potentially alienate many of the existing users. And charging developers would limit the apps that synced.

Regardless of the workaround chosen, the result is that TextExpander will be made more difficult for people to use, for no obvious benefit.

Update (2013-11-26): The new SDK using x-callback-url is available.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

This is a shame and another casualty of Apple still not providing any way to share data locally.

However, I was always surprised TextExpander existed on iOS without a web service. The fact Apple ever allowed TextExpander to work the way it did is more surprising to me than Apple changing their tune now. (Again, not that I support it. Some method of local data sharing is sorely needed at this point.)

@Nigel Yes, it seems absurd to me that two apps that don’t otherwise need to access the network should both have to log into a Web service in order to exchange data. Secondly, forbidding local data sharing takes an area that could reasonably be monitored by the sandbox and makes it more dangerous.

I agree that it’s a bit surprising that Apple ever allowed the Reminders method.

[…] is a “keyboard” of animated GIFs. Then there’s TextExpander, which has used crazy hacks to try to enable systemwide support; TextExpander snippets can now, erm, expand in every app by way […]

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