Just published episode 9 of Timetable, following up on the iPhone app and what the Kickstarter is actually all about.→ 2016/01/29 2:44 pm
Getting some really good feedback on the new app. Lots to do! Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever ship this.→ 2016/01/29 10:22 am
There’s new activity at the W3C around independent blogging, with new proposals recently posted as working drafts. Helped by a push from the IndieWebCamp, two of the highlights include:
- Micropub: Simple format for adding content to your site from native apps.
- Webmention: Modern replacement for Pingback/Trackback, for handling cross-site replies.
I want to support these in my new web app. At launch, I hope to allow Micropub POSTs alongside the classic XML-RPC Blogger API (and my own native JSON API).
I don’t think it’s my imagination that more and more people are blogging again. Now’s the time to resume your blog, start a microblog, and take back the future of the web from silos. If we can roll some of these new standards into what we’re building and writing about, the open web will be on the right track.
Bad news from the Parse team at Facebook today:
“We have a difficult announcement to make. Beginning today we’re winding down the Parse service, and Parse will be fully retired after a year-long period ending on January 28, 2017. We’re proud that we’ve been able to help so many of you build great mobile apps, but we need to focus our resources elsewhere.”
For years I had always heard great things about Parse. I eventually used it for the first time a few months ago on a client project. It’s got a well-designed API, friendly monthly pricing (free for many apps), and it seemed well supported, with new features like tvOS support and a web dashboard redesign rolling out just a month ago.
Thinking about this tweet from Daniel Jalkut, I’ve always advocated for iOS developers to also be good at web services. Customers expect sync everywhere now, and you can do things with your own server that will give you an advantage over competitors who have a simpler, standalone iOS app. But being forced to migrate server data isn’t fun, especially on someone else’s schedule.
Fixed more bugs in my new cross-posting code. The code already probably needs to be refactored… Lots of complexity and edge cases.→ 2016/01/28 8:56 am
Nice observation by Jason Snell from the Apple quarterly report conference call:
“It probably means nothing, but when Maestri listed off Apple’s four major product platforms, he said this: ‘We’ve built a huge installed base around four platforms: iOS, Mac OS, watchOS, and tvOS.’”
Like Jason, I’ve long wanted a return to “Mac” as the most important part of the OS name, and have suggested it a couple times on Core Intuition. It was a missed opportunity to do this transition after 10.9, when it could have cleanly gone to Mac OS 11 without the .10 and .11 silliness.
The new tvOS and watchOS branding — combined with Apple’s quote above — makes an official rebranding to “macOS” at WWDC this year seem almost likely. The next major version should be macOS 11, without the “X” and “10.x”. That would still look a little wrong compared to simply “Mac OS”, but it would be much better than “OS X”, and the lowercase would be consistent with the rest of the platforms.
There’s a lot of great stuff in Panic’s 2015 report, but I’m especially struck with how well they executed on updates. This is something that successful companies get right, and which I still struggle with: continuing to make each app just a little better, with bug fixes throughout the year, instead of getting completely sidetracked with new projects. Cabel writes:
“Not only did we release great things, but I feel we demonstrated dramatic dedication to our apps — we released the most high-quality, bug-free updates in our history.”
The product update grid that accompanies the report really underscores this:
Congratulations, Panic. I’ve been using the new Coda for iOS on my iPad Pro and it’s excellent.
“There are problems with that approach, the main one being the tacit admission that their ads are detrimental. If you’re rewarding people by reducing the hostility of their experience, maybe just fix the experience for everyone, and find something positive to charge for instead.”
Ads are the worst. I don’t know if it’s possible to build a large-scale social network like Twitter or Facebook without being mostly ad-supported, but I’d like to believe it is. WordPress.com — which has elements of a social network, even though we don’t consider it one — might be the closest successful attempt.
When I was first trying to figure out how my microblog posts should look, I was thinking more like tweets and less like HTML. Eventually I settled on HTML for publishing and display, with Markdown for writing.
Here’s what a microblog post looks like in the timeline for my new web app:
You can compare that to how it looks when cross-posted to Twitter. It’s not exactly a fair comparison since the tweet was truncated, but it’s still incredible to me how much better these posts look if you allow inline links and some more characters.
“If the leaked image turns out to both be the real deal and what Apple ships later this year, that means the updated 4-inch iPhone will feature rounded volume toggles and a relocated sleep switch like on iPhone 6 hardware versus a top sleep switch and iPhone 4-like volume buttons from the iPhone 5 series hardware.”
NoooOOOooooo. I can understand wanting consistency between models, but the iPhone 6 sleep button is a major usability issue because it gets in the way when trying to use the volume buttons. I’ll be disappointed if the design trade-offs from the 6 make the 5se worse. (But I’ll buy one anyway.)
For the last couple years, I’ve ignored Apple changing to lowercase on the 4S, 5S, and 5C. Giving in for the 5se.→ 2016/01/26 10:10 am
Rob Rhyne wrote an essay last week that caught my attention, on Tim Cook and the incredible pace of new major OS versions at Apple:
“Still think Apple isn’t innovating enough under Tim Cook? Don’t let an app developer hear that talk—they want a vacation, and the end of 2015 showed no signs of relief.”
But I found it significant for another reason too: Rob hadn’t blogged on that site in over 2 years. He picked it up as if no time had been lost, hitting the ground running with a great post.
He’s not the only one starting to blog more. Matt Gallagher just rebooted Cocoa with Love after 4 years since his last post. Swift was a good excuse to resume writing, but he had wanted to continue the site anyway.
Most of my favorite blogs have new posts every day, or at least once a week. New posts bring more links and traffic, giving the blog life and momentum.
There’s no single correct way to blog, though. Blogs are forgiving. If you’ve neglected your blog for a while, you don’t owe anyone an apology. Just hit command-N in your favorite text editor and start writing.
Worked on emoji issues in MySQL today (hi again, utf8mb4!). Should’ve had this right earlier, but at least happy to fix it before launch.→ 2016/01/25 5:04 pm
Joe Cieplinski ported his iPhone timer app Fin to the Apple TV:
“Three weeks of spare hours here and there to get myself familiar with the HIG, the UI challenges, etc. was well worth the effort, as far as I’m concerned. And now I get to see if any of my users find the TV app useful, or if I pick up any new attention as a result of being there.”
Hearing stories like this, and thinking about my own apps, I’m convinced that the Apple TV needs split-view support like iPad multitasking. Our apps could be off to the side of the screen while someone uses most of the TV for watching shows or running another full-screen app. Just as I suggested that lightweight universal apps are okay, there is a class of apps that would become more useful when they don’t have to monopolize the entire TV.
Soroush Khanlou, looking for more new blogs to read, makes a great point that the process of blogging leads to better writing:
“Opening my RSS reading and finding 30 unread items makes me happy. Opening Twitter and seeing 150 new tweets feels like work. I’m not sure why that is. I think Twitter has become more negative, and the ease of posting quick bursts makes posting negative stuff easy. With blogging, writing something long requires time, words, and an argument. Even the passing thought of ‘should I post this’ creates a filter that lets only better stuff through.”
I think there’s something to that. It’s often only after writing our thoughts down that we fully understand how we feel about a topic.
And here’s where I bring this back to microblogging. Because when starting a post, we don’t always know whether it will be long or short. How often have you seen a series of tweets that in hindsight even the author would agree should have been a blog post?
This is less of a problem if instead of tweeting you start out with the intention of posting to your own site. Short post can stay short, and posts requiring more words can naturally expand to a full essay.
I don’t think that our short-form, seemingly unimportant writing should exclusively be on centralized networks. If it’s worth the time to write something — whether a thoughtful essay or a fleeting one-off microblog post — then it’s worth owning and publishing at your own domain name.
Mark Gurman reveals at 9to5Mac that the new phone I’ve been waiting for will be called the 5SE:
“The ‘se’ suffix has been described in two ways by Apple employees: as a ‘special edition’ variation of the vintage 4-inch iPhone screen size and as an ‘enhanced’ version of the iPhone 5s. Indeed, the upcoming ‘5se’ features a design similar to 2013’s flagship but upgraded internals, software, and hardware features that blend the old design with modern technologies from the past two iPhone upgrades.”
Seems odd to keep the “5” name for a phone that more closely resembles the iPhone 6/6S except for size. But I don’t really care what it’s called. This phone matches my expectations or exceeds them. Fantastic that it even supports Live Photos.