Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Omni Group and The App Store

The Omni Group: “The app is now a free download. When you first run the app, you’re asked whether you’d like to start a trial or purchase a license. But before you purchase anything, we also explain that discounted pricing is available to existing Mac App Store customers. If you check for discounts, validating your previous install, we either offer you discounted upgrade pricing (50% off) or—for recent purchasers—a completely free upgrade to the new version.”

This is a significant breakthrough. The App Business is a tough nut to crack, especially with millions of competitors in the store. Couple that with the lack of trials and it’s very difficult to keep a business afloat. The Omni Group happens to be a longtime developer of Mac Apps so they know what’s at stake. They create beautifully designed and engineered software at a fair price for Mac and iOS. They’re one of the best in the business.

Until now only really big companies have been able to provide what could be seen as a trial. Microsoft and Adobe are so large they setup subscriptions for their software, think Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud. While Omni is definitely one of the big players in the Mac and iOS market they’re still a very small company. With this move it finally appears that Apple is relaxing their stance on trials a bit. For productivity software having the ability to use a trial that creates meaningful output and becomes a read-only viewer after a period of time is huge. This will give folks the time to create some drawings, kick the tires, and decide if they really want to purchase OmniGraffle. Brilliant!

Future macOS Frameworks

Duct Tape, fixer of all things!I stumbled upon an interesting conversation between some well know Apple Ecosystem Developers this morning discussing, maybe lamenting, the lack of UIKit on macOS. I’m afraid I may have pushed these fellas to take their conversation private, I am sorry if that was the case.

Here’s the tweet that started the conversation:

I’m not known in any development communities. I’m what you’d call a nobody. But I’m a nobody with years of experience that has seen changes to my development ecosystem.

Having experienced a dramatic shift in Windows Development technologies I have opinions about what I would expect to see from Apple. These opinions and $10.00 should be enough to buy you any item on a Starbucks drink menu. Take if for what it is. An opinion of a nobody.

What I Expect

Given Apple’s love and focus on Swift I fully expect Apple to put their effort into moving their frameworks to focus on Swift while continuing to allow App developers to use Objective-C with anything new. I’ve written about the idea of Swift only Frameworks. I believe we will eventually arrive there. For now we have excellent UIKit support for three different devices; iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Odd man out would be macOS. It doesn’t make sense, at least to me, for Apple to spend time back porting or adapting UIKit to the Mac. Their bread and butter is their  iOS based trio of the phone, watch, and cable like device. Since iPhone accounts for around 60% of revenue it makes sense for the iOS Platform to be their primary focus. That begs the question, will the Mac ever receive the attention we’d like it to receive? Probably not.

In the end I’d expect Apple to push iOS forward while keeping the Mac as a primary development system for iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS developers with the latter receiving very little attention from a new Frameworks perspective.

A Brief History of Windows Development

Like I said above, I’m opinionated and I’ve been around the block a few times. I know Apple isn’t Microsoft and people tend to hate those comparisons. But I do see similarities between the Microsoft of the 90’s and the Apple of today. That’s a discussion for another time.

The discussions around Frameworks reminds me of Microsoft’s transition to .Net and C# as an easier way for developers to create Windows Apps. Apple is making such a big push with Swift a new framework targeting Swift developers feels like a natural progression.

It’s taken over 15-years to really push app development into a .Net world. I suppose some could argue it took less than 10 and I wouldn’t fight that. The point is Microsoft managed to push an entire development community to a new technology while allow old technologies to continue to not only function but grow. Look at the Microsoft Office Apps and Adobe Photoshop among others. They continue to be very relevant today and continue to add new features while the Windows API receives much less attention than does .Net and C#.

Ultimately the point is I know Apple could choose to push toward a Swift only framework and allow legacy Objective-C/Cocoa apps to continue to grow and thrive. Microsoft is a prime example of how a company could pull it off.

I think it’s kind of nice being a new developer to Apple’s platforms. I don’t have 20+ years of baggage like I do with Windows. It’s been so much easier to move from Objective-C to Swift because of it. Well, that and being most familiar with C++ made the transition to Swift feel more natural to me.

Whatever Apple has in store for us, be it the growth of Cocoa, a new Swift centered framework, or a Swift only framework, I’m ready for it and welcome it.

macOS Sierra and my MacBook Pro

I recall listening to a podcast I really love a few months back and one of the hosts described his late 2011 as unusable. That statement is completely hyperbolic. I’m writing this post on my late 2011 15in MacBook Pro and it runs just fine.

If you’re an Indie dev and looking for a MacBook Pro laptop to get started I’d recommend considering a late 2011 15in MacBook Pro. When you get it add some additional RAM to it and pickup a nice big SSD for it. It’ll server you well, just like mine continues to serve me.

macOS Sierra

Evernote to use Google Cloud

Evernote: “Until now, Evernote has owned, configured, and maintained its own servers and networks. This approach gave us the ability to build the service we wanted the way we wanted to build it. But it is also limiting—expensive to maintain, slow to upgrade, and difficult to scale. And while the infrastructure we have now is perfectly suited to support Evernote as it runs today, it lacks the speed and flexibility we need for tomorrow.”

It’s interesting to see Evernote make this move. It almost feels like they’re hoping Google will purchase them. We’ve all heard that Evernote is in trouble and only time will tell if there’s anything to that rumor.

Evernote has maintained their own hardware all this time and decided to go to hosted. On the flip side we see Dropbox move the exact opposite direction. Opting to move from Amazon Cloud Services to their own hosted infrastructure.

I’m a big fan of Evernote. It’s one of those rare applications I use everyday. It will be interesting to see how this goes.

Exeter: Internet Backwater

Watch out! It's a blog fly!The Sun Gazette: “The first time Frontier will be asked for an update on their progress will be the end of next month, when it is required to present the first of its semi-annual (twice per year) report to TURN and ORA. The first milestone won’t happen until Dec. 31, 2018 when Frontier is required to add 100,000 homes with service at speeds of 25/2-3 Mbps in households where fiber optic service is not currently available as part of an effort to bridge the digital divide in both urban and rural areas.”

I have Frontier‘s service and I actually feel lucky to have it. When we moved back to Exeter I hadn’t considered internet services. Heck, we had Comcast in Visalia and it was a decent 50Mbps unlimited, which was just fine. When we met our real estate agent to get the keys to our new place she asked “What are you going to do for internet service?” Silly me, I said we’d get Verizon DSL, like we had back in 2008. Turns out Verizon was at capacity. Whoops. We went with Dish Internet, which is not so good. It’s satellite which is good for the desperate, I guess I fit that description. Desperate. We bought it but it had restrictions on use; 15Mbps down, 2Mbps up, 50GB per month data limit. When we hit the 50GB limit mid month (every darned month) we were throttled to dial-up speeds. We got by but we couldn’t do any streaming or play games. It just wasn’t good enough for that once you bake in the delay from the ground to the satellite.

After struggling with Dish Internet for about a year we were relieved when Frontier took over Verizon’s network. I set a reminder to call them the day it became Frontier’s and signed up. Luckily we managed to get in. I’m now the proud user of a 2Mbps connection without data limits. We can now stream, which we do all the time, and overall I’m really pleased with their customer service. They’ve been really great. We’ve also had a couple visit from their tech’s and both have been outstanding. They actually know what they’re doing, YES!

Does that mean it’s perfect? No. It’s not. I’d love for our tiny hometown to get a few decent network options. We basically have one plus a bunch of scavengers that offer satellite or ground based radio systems that are expensive and not overly useful, except for the desperate. Which, as I’ve said, all of Exeter is desperate for decent internet.

I can’t imagine trying to run a business with this level of service. It’s been solid, but the numbers need to jump up.

If we can manage to get 25Mbps, or even 15Mbps, consistently? I’d be thrilled to death.