Wednesday, October 22, 2014 [Tweets] [Favorites]

CloudKit

John Siracusa:

CloudKit isn’t just the network data storage API that developers have always wanted from Apple; apparently it’s also the API that Apple has always wanted for itself. Both iCloud Drive and Apple’s new iCloud photo library service (upon which the upcoming replacement for iPhoto is being built) were written from scratch on top of CloudKit. Looking at it another way, if CloudKit doesn’t work well, third-party developers won’t be the only ones suffering.

Apple’s ability to make sure its servers are always available and that they answer requests in a timely manner is still an open question. As anyone who’s ever gotten an inscrutable error or interminable spinner from an Apple TV while trying to watch a video from the iTunes Store knows, Apple’s use of a network service does not necessarily ensure its reliability or speed.

The most reassuring thing about CloudKit is its design. It looks a lot more like a well-executed client library for a traditional Web service than a Cocoa API that just happens to have a network component. It’s still far from the cross-platform, multi-language ideal presented by Microsoft’s Azure Mobile Services, but Azure can’t hope to compete with the platform integration of CloudKit on OS X and iOS.

Roustem Karimov:

We don’t have to guess when something goes wrong anymore, and we no longer have to tell our users to perform a set of magic steps hoping that some of them would trigger iCloud to work. CloudKit solved the problems we had with the old iCloud.

It’s a great sign that Apple is eating its own dog food and no longer trying to abstract away the network. I think it’s a mistake to only make CloudKit available to App Store apps.

3 Comments

"Instead of writing the files locally and then waiting for them to magically appear on other devices, the app simply makes a request to update its data on the server."

Does this mean that CloudKit apps don't work offline? Seems like a major limitation if so.

@Doodpants Right—unlike with iCloud Core Data, that isn’t handled automatically. The developer has to code the app to cache data in order to work offline, send the changes to the cloud when the network becomes available, and merge changes coming in from the network.

[…] that it thought there were major problems. It kept reporting minor improvements and bug fixes. When CloudKit was announced in 2014, it had no official Core Data story. As far as I know, there is still isn’t one. […]

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