As users of the open source CocoaREST library may have noticed, it hasn’t updated in a while. (To clarify: not having updates does not equate to is not being worked on.) There’s a lot of reasons for this.
One of them is specifically because Blocks became available to us before Snow Leopard’s arrival, in the form of PLBlocks, which makes writing asynchronous code fantastically simpler. I’ve done a lot of work rewriting core components of CocoaREST to use PLBlocks, and I’m waiting to see how PLBlocks works out in the long term before publishing these updates to CocoaREST itself.
Another reason is because, well, work related to my company has been overwhelming lately. You might have noticed that I have 7 applications for download on my website now (more in the works), with 6 of them for sale. While I’m fortunate to not get very many support requests, the few I do get (usually license keys not sent in email, etc) need me to actually respond to them instead of closing my eyes and plugging my ears, and that adds up over time.
On a related note, I’ve recently recoded my entire website using my very own rewritten version of Tyler Hall’s simple-php-framework. With this great move forward comes great responsibility; instead of gathering data from a bunch of .plist files on the server, my site now uses a MySQL database. While this is great for performance, it’s been hell creating an administrative tool to interface with it (unfortunately Property List Editor no longer suffices). After a few hours of researching and flipping coins, I’ve decided the administrative interface should be a Mac app with a RESTful interface on the server’s side (in PHP).
As I was writing the administrative Mac app, and the RESTful service on the other side, I noticed that it’s more difficult than it should be to create subclasses of SDNetTask for specific services. So, I ended up making a lot of changes to CocoaREST’s core, which has become an entity of its own, tentatively named SimpleHTTP. This will eventually be integrated back into CocoaREST, but will also be its own project on github, once I see how stable PLBlocks is; right now, PLBlocks is at beta 2, and the word ‘beta’ being in there makes me a little cautious.
As for Facebook support, well, Facebook decided to make this incredibly messy. See, they have horrible 2 requirements (instead of the more attrative 0, like Twitter does). First of all, Facebook’s API requires that the user be redirected to login.php on their server. This means that it’s not possible to authenticate the user by giving the user’s credentials to the server behind the scenes; no, Facebook demands (in their Terms Of Service, as well) that the user must visit login.php, log in, check whether or not they wish to remain logged in indefinitely, and then go back to your app. “Fine, whatever,” were my final words on this, as I decided to use a WebView instead of sending the poor user over to Safari or Firefox to do the dirty work.
But wait, it gets better. Doing this only allows you to get certain information from their facebook account, and limits many things you could do, including post status updates, notes, etc. In order to actually do this, the developer needs to force the user to permit this application to give them “write permissions” or something along those lines (as if giving their credentials to Facebook wasn’t enough). So, this requires yet another visit to a Facebook page in an actual browser. This process makes the user’s experience what I consider a very tedious and annoying one, and I personally don’t approve the dang thing one bit.
But that’s not why I have yet to upload these changes to my github. Showing these two WebViewss consecutively is something the developer should have to do, not the library itself, because CocoaREST is a purely non-GUI library. But at the same time, I don’t want to advocate crappy user experiences (such as sending a user to their actual browser) in my library, so I’ve been trying to think of a way to allow this “user experience” inside an app through a companion-class to CocoaREST, and still haven’t found an elegant way to do it just yet.
If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions on any of this, I welcome the conversation in the comments below!
My name is Steven Degutis, and I've been writing software professionally for a decade. During that time, I've written many apps and websites, quite a few technical articles, and kept up-to-date with the rapidly evolving software industry.
If you have software needs for web, mobile, or desktop, and are looking for a seasoned software professional, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a phone call.
- Self-employed – present
- Clean Coders – 5 years
- 8th Light – 2 years
- Big Nerd Ranch – 1 year
- Self-employed - 1 year
- Web: full-stack
- iOS (UIKit)
- macOS (Cocoa)
- REST APIs
- AWS / EC2 / ELB
- HTML5 / CSS
Over the past decade, I've written a total of 169 technical articles on various programming languages, frameworks, best practices, and my own projects, as I kept up-to-date and active in the software industry.
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- 2017 — "Clean code" isn't actually clean
- 2017 — Passion in your field is overrated
- 2017 — What I learned in 5 days of writing an experimental website
- 2014 — Age of the Polyglot
- 2013 — How to Program
- 2013 — Ignore the Naysayers
- 2013 — Writing Clearly
- 2012 — Reinvent the wheel
- 2010 — Good usability
- 2009 — Twitter is the wrong tool
- 2009 — We're all pretty bad at driving
- 2008 — Why I Code
|March||Notes on Haskell Extensions|
|February||Second thoughts on front-end tools|
|February||First thoughts on front-end tools|
|February||Some thoughts on GUIs|
|February||First thoughts on OCaml|
|February||First thoughts on Haskell|
|August||Age of the Polyglot|
|August||The history of Mjolnir|
|August||Quitting the GUI wars|
|June||Lua: my new favorite extension language|
|January||My programming life-goals|
|January||Lingua Latina, Pars I|
|January||Allocating an AST on the stack|
|April||Ruby Accessors Considered Pernicious|
|March||Reinvent the wheel|
Here are some of the projects I'm most proud of. They were created using a variety of technologies, running on several different platforms and OSes. They're all finished products, and many of them are open source.
I made Docks in 2009 for users who wanted to swap out icons in their Dock with a single click. Its unique functionality and design aesthetic attracted the attention of Apple, Engadget, MacWorld, and led to an acquisition of my start-up by Big Nerd Ranch.
This toy was made in a weekend to entertain my 1 year old daughter. It lets you create bubbles with your fingers, which then simulate physics by bumping into each other and falling.
When I couldn't find an app in the App Store that let me make very simple lists extremely quickly, I made one myself. I use it almost every day to organize and track my activities.
I created this app to increase my productivity by letting me move windows around in macOS using keyboard shortcuts. It grew into a community-driven highly extensible app, using Lua for its plugin system.
Implementing this elite social network gave me experience integrating both Apple Pay and credit card payments (via Stripe.com) seamlessly into web apps, for a frictionless and pain-free payment experience.
This isn't just any chatroom. In this web app, you can see what everyone is typing while they type it. I made this in order to scratch my itch for making real-time apps and games, and learned how to use WebSockets in the process.
This was written in 2009, before the time of Slack, when IRC was the main way for programmers to get short-term assistance from each other. Its purpose was to be a beautiful app with an emphasis on simplicity and usability over technical power.
This is an app I actually use every single day. It lets you move windows with global keyboard shortcuts. Since it uses Vim-like key bindings, it should feel pretty natural to any programmer. There's no configuration needed; it Just Works™.
As an evolution of Phoenix, Hydra was my first attempt at embedding a full Lua virtual machine into an Objective-C app, to make a lightweight and efficient window manager that focused on speed, low memory usage, low CPU usage, and overall being gentle on laptop batteries.
These may be tiny, but they're interesting technical feats.
|Lua4Swift||Swift framework for embedding Lua with a native Swift API.|
|choose||Command line fuzzy-matching tool for macOS that uses a GUI|
|music||Command line music daemon for macOS that only speaks JSON|
|hecto||Command line text editor with an embedded Lua plugin system|
|ZephSharp||Window manager for Windows using Clojure for scripting|
|management||Minimalist EC2 configuration & deployment tool in Ruby.|
|go.assert||Assertion helper package for writing tests in Go.|
|go.shattr||Go library for printing shell-attributed strings to stdout.|
|OCDSpec2||Objective-C based testing framework with Xcode integration.|