Archive for June 21, 2022

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Mail Merge Returns to Pages

Dan Moren:

The feature was originally included in Apple’s word processing software, but got the axe in 2013’s version 5.0, when Apple redesigned its iWork suite to give even footing across the iOS, iPadOS, and macOS platforms. In the interim, Mail Merge remained possible only via workarounds like Sal Soghoian’s Pages Data Merge app.

Version 12.1, released today, brings a brand new implementation, however, which lets you populate a template document either from your contacts or a spreadsheet. On the Mac, just create a template with the File > New command or open an existing one, and then choose File > Mail Merge to step through the process. (The feature’s also available for the first time in the iOS and iPadOS versions of Pages, under the three dots menu: tap Mail Merge to start the process.)


Update (2022-06-24): Juli Clover:

These are minor version 12.1 updates, and each app has received a few new features, as outlined below.

John Gruber:

Second, the fact that workarounds like Soghoian’s Pages Data Merge were even possible in the interim shows the essential nature of good automation/scripting support in serious apps. Automation isn’t so much about letting all users script apps, because we all know most users aren’t scripters. But automation lets the users who are scripters provide solutions for the whole community of users.

See also: Hacker News.

SwiftUI Change Log

Kuba Suder:

I made a thing: SwiftUI Index/Changelog - an alphabetical index of all SwiftUI views, modifiers, property types etc. + changelog for each version, auto-generated from official documentation.

See also: Code Workshop and SDK News.


Review of the Mighty Browser

Jacob Russell (via Hacker News):

At its core, Mighty lets you run a chromium browser in a virtual machine on a beefed up computer that streams the data to your personal computer. Mighty’s bet is browsers will start to act more like operating systems where more and more activities will happen via web apps as opposed to native apps. By providing 2 Gps of bandwidth, 40 GB of RAM, and 8 vCPUs to each browser instance this becomes a serious value proposition and starts to remove the downsides of web versus native applications.

I’ve switched nearly my entire workflow to web applications with Mighty: Slack, Teams, Outlook, Discord, WhatsApp, as well as resource intensive web applications like Miro, Figma, Jira, and Notion. Being able to have all of these apps open in my browser while still maintaining lightning fast responses is a game changer. I can have all of these apps open without my fan coming on saving me from being “the fan guy” in the meeting as well as saving me a significant amount of battery life throughout the day.

He doesn’t say what hardware he’s using. Is there any benefit—e.g. because of their faster Internet conection—if you already have a fast computer? Otherwise, I guess is this like renting a new computer—that’s only faster for Web stuff—for $30/month. Plus, maybe there are some features that make the browser itself better.


Update (2022-06-22): Or, I wonder if it helps in cases where you have a fast computer but a slow or high-latency connection.

WWDC Lab More Useful Than Feedback


Bugs are an inevitable part of the development process. Though they can be frustrating to bump up against, you can help squash these sorts of problems quickly by identifying the issue you’re running into, reproducing it, and filing a bug report through Apple’s Feedback Assistant.


You should always file feedback for any bugs you find while developing for Apple platforms; after all, we can’t fix problems we don’t know about. But how can you be sure that the information you provide is helpful for triaging the issue, rather than a bug-solving dead end? Here are our top tips for making sure your bug report is clear, actionable, and — most importantly — fixable.

Casey Liss (tweet, Hacker News):

Very quickly upon getting to work on my new computer, I realized that things weren’t working properly on this new machine. After some research, it appeared that some aspects of the Vision Framework were not available on Apple Silicon based Macs.


In the roughly 225 days since I filed that feedback, I received precisely zero… well… feedback.


I didn’t expect much to come of this [WWDC] lab[…]


Having my problem worked around, in the span of five minutes, with a single-line code change is both delightful and incredibly frustrating.

Frustrating because he took the time to file a good bug report with no response, frustrating because labs are only available once a year and not everyone can get in to one, frustrating because Apple was already aware of the bug but had neither fixed it nor documented the workaround.