Archive for January 8, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 [Tweets] [Favorites]

codesign Lies

Marcel Weiher:

Just had a case of codesign telling me my app was fine, just for the same app to be rejected by GateKeeper. The spctl tool fortunately was more truthful, but didn’t really say where the problem was.

To verify that my apps are signed properly before deployment, my Makefile includes these two lines:

spctl --status | grep "assessments enabled"
spctl --assess --type execute -v "${APP_PACKAGE}"

Fortunate Bear’s Future

Andy Finnell:

I regretfully announce that most of Fortunate Bear’s products have been discontinued and support ended effective immediately. Specifically the products terminated are Illuminate, Skyscraper, Pagesmith, and Log Leech. When I acquired these products I had big plans for all of them, which suffice to say didn’t work out. I will spare you the details, but in broad strokes I was unable to make them financially viable.

As with Hog Bay’s products, these were good apps from a very talented developer. He’s also written an interesting Postmortem of Failed Products. One of the common problems was the Mac app sandbox. Also:

I thought porting it to iOS would be a great idea. After all, there was no 1st party competition and a lot of the 3rd party competitors were crap. However, I ran into trouble on the outset. After submitting it to the App Store I got a call from Developer Relations saying they didn’t allow “that kind of app” in the store. I pointed out there were already half a dozen of “that kind of app” in the App Store, which they seemed genuinely surprised about. How were they supposed to know what got let into the App Store?

Update (2014-01-09): Brent Simmons:

It reminded me of my first go at being an indie developer.

Hog Bay Software’s Future

Jesse Grosjean:

For the last 3 years Grey, Mutahhir, Young Hoo, and myself worked full-time at Hog Bay Software. Unfortunately our sales dropped this year forcing it back to just me again.

Going forward I will focus on the Mac apps: FoldingText, WriteRoom, and TaskPaper. The next version of FoldingText is in progress. After that I’ll do updates to WriteRoom and TaskPaper.

I will stop selling the iOS apps. I’m sorry, I know this is disappointing, but I see no way to maintain them all myself. They are free this week and then will be removed from the app store.

And:

That major problem that I’m having is supporting two different platforms. And in particular on iOS I spend 90% of my effort on infrastructure issues… file system browsers, url data sharing schemes, sync, etc. Leaving me little time/energy to actually push the actual app function forward.

OS X is much easier in this regard. You don’t need to build the finder from the ground up. You get Dropbox and iCloud sync (and lots of others) for free. For document based productivity apps OS X is a much more mature system.

PlainText has been sold. TaskPaper for iOS is now open-source.

Sad news, both for fans of these apps and for anyone who wants development of quality iOS apps to be a sustainable business.

Grasp: AST-based JavaScript Find and Replace

Grasp (via Patrick Dubroy):

Grasp is a command line utility that allows you to search and replace your JavaScript code - but unlike programs such as grep or sed, it searches the structure behind your code (the abstract syntax tree), rather than simply the text you’ve written

Apple Shutting Down Developer Mailing Lists

Greg Branche, administrator of Apple’s MPW-Dev mailing list, quotes a message saying:

List owners are encouraged to move their conversations to http://devforums.apple.com (for developers), http://discussions.apple.com (for users) or create an “Open community” group (via <redacted>). To facilitate this transition, we plan to make the non-confidential Apple Developer Forums readable by all Registered Apple Developers (i.e. the free membership level).

Via David Ryskalczyk and Landon Fuller. This is terrible news, as the mailing lists offer a superior user interface compared with the Web forums, along with better searchability and reliability. Of course, the MPW list no longer sees much traffic, but the Cocoa list continues to be very useful (and the archives are invaluable). Hopefully, a third party such as The Omni Group can (once again) step in to fill this void.

Update (2014-01-09): Reprieve!:

I am working with several fellow list owners to secure some resources to address the remaining concerns that will allow lists.apple.com stay alive. The good news is will not be retiring the service after all.

UITextView Scroll-to-Typing Bug

Brent Simmons:

The caret is hidden. Type any other key and it un-hides. But I really, really want the caret to be not hidden right then.

Brent Simmons:

So I went through all the help I got on Twitter and tried different things. The only things that worked reliably were the solutions that involved adding a delay before scrolling.

[…]

So this is an opportunity to talk about when to use hacks like this. The short answer is never. I hate doing things like this and I can go years in between.

But the important thing is the quality of the user experience. Nothing else matters.

Update (2014-01-09): Peter Steinberger:

To enable these fixes, simply use PSPDFTextView instead of UITextView

Apple’s 2013 Scorecard

John Siracusa:

At the beginning of last year, I posted a list of things Apple can and should do during 2013. It’s time to settle up. Because I’m feeling scholastic, I’ll give a letter grade to each item.

Here are my thoughts on his to-do list:

Ship OS X 10.9 and iOS 7.

In general, OS X 10.9 is well designed and executed. However, it shipped with the most unreliable version of Apple Mail that I can recall. Some of the bugs have been fixed, but I help customers with Mail every day, and many of them are still having major problems with smart mailboxes, basic server connectivity, AppleScript, and junk mail handling.

There are also still major problems with code signing. I am holding off submitting updates to the Mac App Store because there’s a good chance that storeagent will break my app so that it won’t launch.

In general, I like iOS 7, and the transition has gone better than I would have predicted. However, my phone still crashes multiple times per day, which never happened with any previous version of iOS. From what I’ve heard, this is a common problem, but only when running the 64-bit version. Update (2014-01-23): Adario Strange: “‘We have a fix in an upcoming software update for a bug that can occasionally cause a home screen crash,’ Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller told Mashable.”

Diversify the iPhone product line.

The iPhone 5s is terrific. I don’t think the 5c is quite what people were hoping for in terms of diversification, nor can I recall seeing one in the wild.

Keep the iPad on track.

I’m blown away by how good the iPad mini with Retina display is. The iPad Air is impressive, but I’m not very interested in the larger form factor.

Introduce more, better Retina Macs.

The current Retina MacBook Pros are very good, but where are the other models and displays?

Make Messages work correctly.

I’m in the camp that finds it pretty buggy still. Update (2014-01-17): iMessage is apparently the number one software problem reported at Apple retail stores.

Make iCloud better.

There have been some improvements, but iCloud Core Data is not fixed yet. Calendar syncing works very well for me, better even than Google Calendar. Reminders still do not sync reliably. Documents are still siloed per-application and per-user. Photo Stream works reliably, but what people want is not what it’s designed to do. You can now download old versions of apps. I’m not using iCloud Keychain.

Resurrect iLife and iWork.

It’s not clear to me that the current iPhoto is better than iPhoto ’09.

There were major changes and regressions for iWork. It’s now more compatible between Mac, iOS, and the Web. However, I’m not convinced that the redesign is an improvement. The app I use the most is Numbers, and I find it slower and more cumbersome to use than before. Apple has shown little concern for document or workflow compatibility, so I would be hesitant to use iWork for serious work. Google Docs is better for simple stuff and sharing. Microsoft Office is better when you need more power or efficiency.

Reassure Mac Pro lovers.

The Mac Pro is back, but it’s different. When I used Apple’s pro desktop computers, they offered far superior CPU performance for most apps and fast internal drive bays. Apple no longer makes that type of Mac. On the plus side, I pay less of a penalty for having portability.

Do something about TV.

I want what Siracusa wants, but I’m not sure what Apple could be realistically expected to do here, other than fix bugs. Apple TV still has that bug where if you tell it to hide NBA game scores it shows them anyway. But this matters little since nearly all the games I want to see are unavailable due to blackout rules.

See also: Erk Barzeski, John Gruber, Hacker News.