Archive for August 1, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014


Mattt Thompson:

Alamofire is an HTTP networking library written in Swift. Think of it as AFNetworking, reimagined for the conventions of this new language.

Of course, AFNetworking remains the premiere networking library available for Mac OS X and iOS, and can easily be used in Swift, just like any other Objective-C code. AFNetworking is stable and reliable, and isn’t going anywhere. But for anyone looking for something a little more idiomatic to Swift, Alamofire may be right up your alley. (It’s not a mutually-exclusive choice, either! AFNetworking & Alamofire will peacefully co-exist within the same codebase.)

Swift Retain/Release and Pointer Arithmetic

Russ Bishop (via Wolf Rentzsch):

While creating ThreadLocalSlot<T>, I needed to call the posix posix_getspecific and posix_setspecific methods. Not only that, I needed to store an Objective-C object in a plain old void*. How can we accomplish that in Swift?

The key is Unmanaged. It contains magic sauce to let us turn an AnyObject into a COpaquePointer, which is implicitly convertible to most of the other C-pointer types in Swift. It also lets us apply retain or release to an object arbitrarily. Granted, you can certainly shoot yourself in the foot, but we all lived dangerously before ARC.

Russ Bishop:

You might end up kicking yourself, but UnsafePointer<T> and its cousins all have arithmetic operators already defined so pointer manipulation is very simple:

Office for iPad Updates

Andrew Cunningham:

All four apps can now export files as PDFs, crop pictures inline, and reset changes made to pictures. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can also use third-party fonts, presumably in addition to the Microsoft- and Apple-supplied fonts that come with iOS and the Office apps themselves. Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote pick up more features that will be appreciated by heavier users of the desktop Office apps.

It’s great to see Microsoft using a shorter update cycle.

Core Data Editor Is Now Open Source

Christian Kienle:

In a little while I will remove Core Data Editor from the Mac App store and offer Core Data Editor as a free download from my website. One of the main reasons for doing so is my health. I can maintain a project like Core Data Editor but I cannot add significant features on my own anymore.


Core Data Editor lets you easily view, edit and analyze applications‘ data. Core Data Editor is compatible with Mac and iOS applications and supports XML, SQLite and binary stores, visualizes all relationships and is able to edit the data and generate Objective-C code for the data model.

The Adobe Illustrator Story

Terry Hemphill (via Khoi Vinh):

When Adobe Illustrator first shipped in 1987, it was the first software application for a young company that had, until then, focused solely on Adobe PostScript. The new product not only altered Adobe’s course, it changed drawing and graphic design forever.

Watch the Illustrator story unfold, from its beginning as Adobe’s first software product, to its role in the digital publishing revolution, to becoming an essential tool for designers worldwide. Interviews include cofounder John Warnock, his wife Marva, artists and designers Ron Chan, Bert Monroy, Dylan Roscover and Jessica Hische.

App Disillusionment

Lukas Mathis:

I’m also not saying that Apple’s tight control doesn’t have advantages for Apple, and for its users. It’s great that people can feel safe downloading things from the App Store. But feeling safe only goes so far when every visit to the App Store makes you feel depressed because the store is overflowing with useless, unsupported crap that crowds out all of the good apps, and when many apps that you download turn out to be manipulative Skinner boxes intent on turning you into one of the unfortunate whales who spend vast amounts of money on pointless in-app purchases.

If design is how it works, then rules that restrict what you can do with a device are part of its design. The App Store review guidelines, and the often inexplicable rules that reviewers actually use when deciding who’s in and who’s out, are just as much part of the design of the iPhone as its chamfered edges. If you restrict what your device can do in a way that directly or indirectly prevents your users from using the device in a way that would be desirable to them, your design has failed these users.

Apple’s rules have created a situation where fear of rejection pushes developers away from the platform, or, if they do support it, incentivizes them to release apps that are unlikely to be rejected, do not require large investments of time so that the loss is small if they are rejected, and can compete in a market that is overwhelmed by manipulative crap.


Commoditizing apps and tightly controlling the market for apps on iPhones benefits Apple, and many of its users, in the short run. But in the long run, an unhealthy software ecosystem can’t be good for Apple, for its users, or for the developers who write apps for Apple’s platforms.