Monthly Archives: June 2012

La Luna and Paperman

Since I follow Enrico Casarosa on Twitter, I’ve been hearing about La Luna for what seems like a year. I was so happy to finally see the film run in front of Brave last weekend. Beautifully done and possibly my favorite Pixar short, perfect for a short film. (As an added bonus for seeing it at Alamo Drafthouse, they ran 7 other Pixar shorts before the feature started.)

There’s so much interesting work possible with short films. Disney apparently has another great one up their sleeves in Paperman. Some of the early hype:

“From what they told me and from what I’ve glimpsed in these concept drawings and videos below, it could be a game-changer for hand-drawn animation. In fact, it’s a new holistic hybrid of 2D and 3D, thanks to an interface called Meander that they ‘hijacked’ for the project from a young Disney programmer named Brian Whited, which was then refined by animator Eric Daniels and others. It’s a vector-based tool that empowers the animator with digital in-betweening and puts the drawings back on the screen.”

Also check out the series of YouTube teasers from the director: the idea and the look. And the first still shots from the film.

This kind of has why am I still programming written all over it for me.

Podcasts app

Podcasts are more popular than ever. We’re lucky right now to have a bunch of podcast networks and great iOS clients, including the newly-released official Podcasts app from Apple. My favorite remains Instacast on iPhone, but there are other good choices like Downcast.

It’s never easy for developers when Apple arrives into your market with free competition, especially if it might one day be bundled on the OS alongside the Music and Videos apps. I wish the third-party guys the best of luck.

But for podcast creators, the extra exposure can only be a good thing. I hope we can welcome even more listeners to our Core Intuition podcast. We just opened a new way to send in feedback and questions, too: Glassboard. Use invite code COREINT on the web or iPhone app to join the board and get a little behind-the-scenes look into the podcast.

Sandbox iLife and iWork

Chad Sellers has a post comparing Mac App Store sandboxing to mistakes from Linux, with this very reasonable advice:

“I believe that Apple should have at least led the way by sandboxing all of their own apps sold through the Mac App Store (I believe they have not sandboxed a single one of their 17).”

This reminds me of Twitter. When Twitter forced third-party clients to move to OAuth, but didn’t change their own app to use it, many developers said it was a double standard. Twitter’s response: the official Twitter app was part of the service, not really a separate app, so it didn’t need to use OAuth.

Maybe Apple could make the same case for Mac OS X’s built-in apps: Address Book, iCal, and Mail don’t need to be sandboxed because they are part of the operating system. But that argument doesn’t work for Keynote or iMovie. Those apps should play by the same rules that all productivity and video software in the store does.

If Apple were to sandbox a few of these it would go a long way toward convincing developers to do the same. And it would also shake out bugs and missing APIs in the whole sandbox environment.

Ship everything

David Barnard shares the story of App Cubby’s Timer app, along with this story of a failed project that got out of control:

“Back in the Spring of 2009 I had this great idea for an interactive music app. A series of 2D/3D scenes that would react in real time to music as well as user input. That idea became Project VJ, a project I worked on for the better part of a year. After hundreds of hours of my time and $50k in expenses, we had a decent prototype. It was a gut-wrenching decision, but in April 2010 I shelved the project, realizing that it would take at least another year and a lot more money to ship.”

This must have been very disappointing. It’s bad enough for a side project to fail, something that you’ve only invested your time into. With the kind of investment that David talks about it is surely even more difficult to let go.

I used to get this wrong – too many apps, not enough polish. There are a few products I worked on that never saw the light of day. But I don’t do that anymore. Everything I have worked on in the last 2 years has shipped, in one form or another.

You have to ship everything because you never know what is going to hit. David Barnard and Justin Youens’ latest, Launch Center Pro, which started as a few-week experiment, reached the iPhone Top 10. You have to ship everything because time is precious. Make the decision early on about whether to start. If it’s worth coding, it’s worth letting the world see.

Growing list of apps leaving MAS

TextExpander 4 shipped this week, and with the update it breaks from the Mac App Store and instead requires customers to buy directly. TextExpander is the first popular app I’ve seen to do it.

Moom is another one that actively encourages users to move away from the store. Recently on launch Moom displayed a news window that included this:

“Apple has activated sandboxing on the Mac App Store; under the sandboxing rules, we can no longer add new features to the App Store version of Moom (we can only fix bugs). However, we have a method by which you can migrate (at no cost) to our direct sales version of Moom, which has no such limitations. For details on how sandboxing affects our apps, and how to migrate to the direct sales version, please read this article on our blog.”

Even Panic – frustrated with the long approval times for Coda 2.0.1 – is experimenting with how best to let Mac App Store customers migrate to the direct version. See this tweet and screenshot from Cabel Sasser.

This has been a theme on the last couple episodes of Core Intuition. Daniel Jalkut and I talked about how we feel about sandboxing after WWDC, and more on my decision to migrate Clipstart out of the store. Things are getting better in Mountain Lion, and I’ll revisit my decision next year, but for now I think I made the right call to focus on work outside the Mac App Store.

(And if you haven’t listened to the podcast recently, check out the new episodes and subscribe. We’re now a weekly podcast!)