inessential by Brent Simmons

New website: macopenweb.com is a single-page directory of “open and indie Mac, iOS, and web apps that help promote the open web.” It’s by my friend Brian Warren.

I love this. This is a page that would never appear as a category on the App Store — and yet it’s an important category.

And it’s a reminder that we can create things that don’t appear on Twitter, Facebook, or Medium. Putting up a website isn’t hard. And it’s fun! Plus you get to do it exactly how you want to do it.

The site has a repo on GitHub, where you can file bugs and feature requests or make pull requests.

Do yourself a favor and bookmark the site. :)

I’m currently testing FeedBin syncing in NetNewsWire, and just filed issue #666. Hell yes!

I’m so looking forward to LIVE near WWDC — not just because it’s fun, but because the App Camp for Girls folks deserve a huge round of applause and a big party!

And, of course, we want to support their ongoing mission, even if doesn’t include summer camps.

Is it true that UISplitViewController doesn’t support three panes?

If so, then what I want from WWDC is three-pane support. Bigger iPads these days need it.

Fiery Feeds is looking pretty damn good!

Slack has a new thing — I think it’s new, anyway — where you can have a page where people can sign up to get an invitation. No longer a need to run your own thing.

Here’s a link for signing up for the NetNewsWire Slack group.

ScriptWeb for iOS found: it’s Automation Orchard. :)

Here’s what’s cool for me: normally I’d be stressing right now about a talk to give during WWDC — at AltConf or SwiftBy or somewhere — but I’ve retired from doing talks. It’s so nice not to be stressing!

ScriptWeb for iOS Should Be a Thing

Back in the ’90s and early 2000s — before we forgot how easy and fun it is to code up a little site and put it up on the web — people used to make sites for the communities they were in.

It was like: “I know! Let’s put up a page! It will link to all the cool resources somebody interested in __ would learn from. We’ll update it now and again when there’s new stuff.”

Key point: it’s not a blog. It’s a directory, and often a single-page site. (There might be a few bullet points under a “What’s New” section, though.)

The best example that I know of was ScriptWeb — which still exists, though it’s no longer updated. It was all about Mac scripting, back in the early days of AppleScript, in the days of UserLand Frontier and MacPerl and HyperCard.

ScriptWeb was great. I started off my career as a scripter, and I went to ScriptWeb all the damn time.

So… where’s the ScriptWeb for iOS automation? I’m not going to do it, but somebody should!

* * *

If I were doing one of these sites these days, I’d store the source on GitHub, so that people could see revisions, and, most importantly, be able to make pull requests and file bugs for things they think should be added.

In other words: let the community help with the site. It shouldn’t be a big time commitment.

NewsWave developer writes about his new app, including the principles behind the app and how he decided on the business model.

I finally converted this site to SSL. It’s not the first site I’ve converted, but it’s the last.

It wasn’t hard. I’m using Let’s Encrypt, and my hosting provider handles all the details, including renewing and updating.

The one thing I had to do manually was edit the .htaccess file so that http requests get redirected to https.

I’m still dubious on the use of https for sites like this one — but mainly I worry about sites that are hard to convert or where there’s nobody to do the work. What happens to what remains of the web’s history if, at some point, browsers won’t let us visit those sites anymore?

I’m thinking specifically of alexking.org, penmachine.com, and aaronsw.com. There are plenty of others.

* * *

The change from http to https means all the permalink and guids changed in my feed — so you may get reruns in your RSS reader. Sorry about that!

I discovered just today that there’s an independent forum for outliner software users: outlinersoftware.com. (I’ve been using outliners for decades. Couldn’t live without one.)

Becky Hansmeyer writes, wisely, of App Store pricing, that “you’re not going to make it up in volume.”

Dave Mark wonders if Marzipan apps will be available only through the App Store.

I wonder this too. This one of the biggest questions for this year’s WWDC. The answer matters to me personally: if Marzipan apps are App-Store-only, then I can’t use it for my apps.

More to read: Martin Pilkington on Appreciating AppKit, Part 1.

Hopefully we’ll find that UIKit is awesome for writing Mac apps. But it’s worth knowing what AppKit provides, because it’s part of understanding Mac apps.

Craig Hockenberry’s What to Expect From Marzipan should be required reading for iOS developers considering doing Mac versions.

I want to amplify a couple things.

If you’re writing a Mac app using Marzipan, you’re still writing a Mac app. You’re a Mac developer now! For real.

As a Mac developer, you should do what other Mac developers do: understand and respect the platform and get help from Mac users, power users, and fellow Mac developers.

I’ve always found that Mac users are rooting for our success. They want us to make great apps — and they reward us for it. It’s a smaller, more intimate community, and warmer than iOS world. But you can also blow it by not trying, by not respecting the Mac and Mac users.

And that’s the biggest investment here. It’s not the coding. It’s your own intellectual and emotional investment in the Mac itself.

If you decide you’re up for it, then great! And: thank you.

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