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Inessential

Brent Simmons’s weblog.
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On “the blind leading the blind”

Inessential By Anonymous on 12/07/2020 am31 02:24:00

Local Seattle developer and good friend Olof Hellman finds the phrase “the blind leading the blind” problematic, and he writes: Let your guide take you to Pike Place Market and taste the coffee and the piroshky and the crumpets and the nectarines and the chowder. Let your guide take you to the Olympic Sculpture Park, to hear the city and the train tracks and the ferry and the the wind curling around Alexander Calder’s Eagle, and taste the air from the Sound and feel the full force of the sunset. Let your guide take you to Sake Nomi where Johnnie will pour you a flight of Junmai Daiginjoshu and treat you like the Nomidachi regulars. That right there is why we wish... Read the article
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Imagining SwiftData

Inessential By Anonymous on 11/07/2020 pm31 23:29:00

If SwiftUI and Combine are the new, Swifty V and C in MVC, where’s the M? I keep thinking that Core Data, amazing as it’s been, is part of NeXT-world Apple, and we’re due for a Swift data model framework. Instead of defining your model in a schema editor (a la Core Data), you’d use a Swift DSL — which would be nice because you wouldn’t have to keep the schema and your model code in sync. It would be just one thing. It would use (or at least allow for) value types over reference types. It would use protocols instead of inheritance. It would play perfectly well with Combine. It might not even use SQLite — I can imagine Apple creating a storage system more... Read the article
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Imagining an Open Source SwiftUI

Inessential By Anonymous on 11/07/2020 pm31 21:00:00

Swift is open source and is used in more places than just Mac and iOS apps — it’s now appearing in places like AWS Lambda, for instance. But SwiftUI is not open source. At least not yet. As a developer who uses SwiftUI, I’d sure like to see it made open source. I think there might be a good reason beyond that, though — an open source SwiftUI could be made to work on other platforms. Somebody would have to actually do that work, of course. But imagine that work has been done, and you can write SwiftUI code that runs on the web, Android, Windows, and Linux as well as on Apple devices. Right now people are using web technologies and things like Electron... Read the article
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Apple Privacy Changes

Inessential By Anonymous on 04/07/2020 am31 02:24:00

I was actually surprised at the changes Apple is making to stop tracking. It’s not enough to stop tracking on the web, and it’s not enough to stop tracking in iOS apps — which is happening probably way more than you think it is — so Apple did both. While I know that Apple takes privacy seriously in a way other large tech companies don’t, I still didn’t expect them to go this far. I’m glad they did. My pet theory is that this set of changes is the most important thing to come from WWDC this year. These privacy changes will, I think, have far more impact on the tech industry, on society, and on our lives, than SwiftUI or a new processor... Read the article
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Apple Privacy Changes

Inessential By Anonymous on 04/07/2020 am31 02:24:00

I was actually surprised at the changes Apple is making to stop tracking. It’s not enough to stop tracking on the web, and it’s not enough to stop tracking in iOS apps — which is happening probably way more than you think it is — so Apple did both. While I know that Apple takes privacy seriously in a way other large tech companies don’t, I still didn’t expect them to go this far. I’m glad they did. My pet theory is that this set of changes is the most important thing to come from WWDC this year. These privacy changes will, I think, have far more impact on the tech industry, on society, and on our lives, than SwiftUI or a new processor... Read the article
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I Had Been Worried About the Mac

Inessential By Anonymous on 03/07/2020 am31 05:19:00

I spent the month or so before WWDC like you — suffering through a pandemic, outraged by violent racism, worried about democracy. Heartsick and appalled, mad and sad. Nothing has changed since WWDC, either. Except for one thing. A small thing in comparison, but important to me — I had been very worried that Apple would, as part of the ARM transition, lock down macOS so that only Mac App Store apps would be permitted. That didn’t happen. And Apple employees explained that it’s not going to happen — and, given that it didn’t happen this time, given that they had this chance, I believe them. I understand adding security features to the Mac. But to take away our freedom to create whatever Mac apps... Read the article
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Reporting in After More Than a Month at Audible

Inessential By Anonymous on 03/07/2020 am31 02:20:00

I’ve been reluctant to write about how my new job is going — I don’t want to look like the guy who drank the kool-aid, and I certainly don’t want to be the guy who couldn’t read the room during our new multi-crisis normal. But, maybe, some good news, even if for just one fortunate person, is okay to write about? I’m not even sure. But some of my friends have suggested I write it up, so I am. * * * Anyway. It’s going well! I love the job and the people and what we do. Telling stories by way of human voice is among the most elemental and powerful of arts, and I believe that stories transform lives. My work at Audible is... Read the article
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Reporting in After More Than a Month at Audible

Inessential By Anonymous on 03/07/2020 am31 02:20:00

I’ve been reluctant to write about how my new job is going — I don’t want to look like the guy who drank the kool-aid, and I certainly don’t want to be the guy who couldn’t read the room during our new multi-crisis normal. But, maybe, some good news, even if for just one fortunate person, is okay to write about? I’m not even sure. But some of my friends have suggested I write it up, so I am. * * * Anyway. It’s going well! I love the job and the people and what we do. Telling stories by way of human voice is among the most elemental and powerful of arts, and I believe that stories transform lives. My work at Audible is... Read the article
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Accessibility and the Dynamic Nature of Objective-C

Inessential By Anonymous on 02/07/2020 am31 06:48:00

Doug Russell, who used to work on accessibility at Apple, writes: some of the code that powers accessibility on apple platforms is just disgusting to look at and to work on. most of the code that makes apple software accessible lives in what’s called an accessibility bundle. without diving into the minutia of the thing, bundles are a way to load something akin to a plugin into a cocoa app at runtime if an assistive technology is activated. it involves manipulating the app or framework class hierarchy and using objective-c dynamism to read app state and build up a usable accessibility hierarchy. insert a super class here, read an instance variable there, swizzle in a method and store the state... Read the article
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Work at Universe

Inessential By Anonymous on 26/06/2020 am30 02:14:00

When I was looking for a job, I talked with the folks at Universe a few times. I love what they’re doing — an iOS app that helps people make websites — and I really enjoyed talking with the team. Such a great bunch. The good news is: they’re still hiring. They have a bunch of jobs, even — iOS, Swift backend, database, product design, marketing, and support. Check ’em out! PS Here are their key values. Read the article

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