Swift or Android

I was nodding my head while listening to the latest Developing Perspective yesterday. David Smith talked about all the work to update his apps for iOS 8, starting on Apple Watch apps, and so taking the pragmatic approach to keep using Objective-C rather than dive into Swift.

Then I read this by Russell Ivanovic on getting started with Android development:

“It’s really not that hard to get started, but you have to be realistic. If you want to get somewhere, you’re going to have to invest some time. If you want to build a viable business on Android like we have, that might end up being a lot of time. I really feel like 2015 might be the only window you’re going to get though, before Google Play becomes as hard to succeed in as the iOS App Store.”

And I thought, getting up to speed with Swift is probably not that different than learning Android. I’ve programmed Java before, but don’t know the UI frameworks; I know the Cocoa frameworks, but have never programmed anything significant in Swift. Both would require setting aside current priorities and investing some time in a new language or new tools.

If I had to build an app in either as quickly as possible, choosing Swift would certainly be faster. I’m just not sure it would actually be a better use of my time than poking around in Android.

2015/01/29 9:24 am

Sunlit 1.3 is a little delayed because it was rejected by Apple for opening Safari to let the user sign in. We’ve appealed the rejection. See also: Craig Hockenberry’s post on why it’s a security risk to use embedded web views.

Snippets category paging

Today I fixed some URL-related issues with this blog since moving to WordPress. Clicking through multiple pages of posts in a category now works again. I tweaked the category links slightly, dropping the .html extension, but all the old URLs are preserved through redirects.

Also a reminder if you’re subscribed to the RSS feed: my shorter, microblog-style posts go into the Snippets category, which is not included in the main feed. If you’d like to subscribe to those as well, just add the Snippets RSS feed to your news reader. I also still cross-post them to App.net.

2015/01/22 12:59 pm

“They really are trying to invent the future here. And they’re a lot further along than we gave them credit for.” — The Verge on Microsoft’s HoloLens

2015/01/22 9:45 am

We’re hoping the rain lets up a little tonight for NSDrinking, but if not we’ll grab a table inside. Come have a beer (or soda! or food!) and chat about iOS and Mac development, 8pm at The Ginger Man. Everyone’s welcome.

Tweet Library 2.7 and promising features

Last year I wrote that I would be removing Tweet Library from the App Store at the end of December, and later said on Core Int and in a tweet that there would be one last update before the app is gone. It’s well into January and the old version is still for sale. I’m over a month behind schedule but still plan to release the updated version and stop selling the app.

On the latest Release Notes podcast there was a great discussion about when to give up on an app that isn’t making money, including a mention of my plan with Tweet Library. Joe and Charles talked about why it’s usually such a bad idea to promise features before you ship, and whether there’s an obligation to give customers any updates at all.

I pretty much agree with everything they said, but the upcoming Tweet Library 2.7 “features” are different. My goal with this release is for the app to be functional and stable for as long possible. I think the app needs better syncing of tweet collections to help future-proof it, to make it easier for customers to move between iOS devices when they upgrade their iPhone or iPad a year from now. For an app that is going away, I should do everything I can to make sure that a customer’s data is accessible and that import and export are as robust as possible.

It’s a reasonable question to ask why I would spend so much time working on something that will essentially bring in no additional revenue. But while it won’t directly make any money, it probably helped convince some new customers to buy the app over the last month, and it will very likely reduce the support burden for the app over the following year.

I also view it as a sort of parting “thank you” to my customers. It’s just the right thing to do to wrap up the app. Panic did the same thing when they stopped selling Unison, releasing a major free update at the same time.

If you’re interested in picking up a copy of Tweet Library before it’s too late, you can buy it on the App Store for $4.99. The new version should ship in early February.

2015/01/20 5:25 pm

Great to see Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack 3 released today. It’s a huge update and complete UI redesign. They’ve been working on this for a long time and it shows.