inessential by Brent Simmons

Apps working together

It’s almost like a religion with me—apps should work together. No app is an island.

This is one of the things that got me into scripting (and later into working for UserLand Software).

And it’s one of the reasons I like OS X. It blends two worlds, Mac Apple events scripting and Unix scripting.

The bare bones level of working together for GUI apps is the clipboard. Can you copy from one app to another? Can you drag from one app to another?

Later today or tonight, if all goes according to plan, I’ll release a new beta of NetNewsWire Lite with cleaned-up and documented clipboard formats.

The idea being that you could drag an RSS subscription to Tinderbox, for instance. Or copy an RSS item into Archipelago or Blapp. And so on.

So, along with a new beta of NetNewsWire Lite, I’ll also put up a page that documents the clipboard formats for RSS items and RSS subscriptions that NetNewsWire exports. (When copying and when dragging it uses the same formats.)

Along with the documentation I’ll release sample code, a Cocoa app and a Carbon app, that show how to get the information from the clipboard.

Of course, it will still be up to other developers to take the sample code and integrate it with their apps. But I’ve talked with a few people via email and I think we’ll see this happen.

Which is totally cool.