General

JavaScript for OS X Automation

Not only does Apple provide an API for interacting with the operating system and install apps, but they also provide an Objective-C bridge to work directly with native libraries such as Cocoa. This is HUGE.

That’s why the fact that Apple is now offering JavaScript for task automation is so compelling. It’s not that developers have been dying to write more task automations, it’s that we have all long been searching for a universal language for building applications. The fragmentation in mobile has agitated this to nearly a tipping point. Nobody wants to install different IDEs, learn different SDKs, and maintain separate code bases. It’s simply not sustainable. Cross-compilation is appealing for this reason, but results in enormously bloated apps and a level of complexity between the developer and the operating system that they cannot control. If there is one thing developers hate, it’s a black box.

I totally missed this announcement but indeed it’s very exciting and could be a huge step for bringing web developers into true app development. Hopefully, it gets integrated beyond just Automator.

Google Indexes JavaScript

This might be old news to you, but new to me:

In order to solve this problem, we decided to try to understand pages by executing JavaScript. It’s hard to do that at the scale of the current web, but we decided that it’s worth it. We have been gradually improving how we do this for some time. In the past few months, our indexing system has been rendering a substantial number of web pages more like an average user’s browser with JavaScript turned on.

I just ran into indexing of JavaScript that was embedded inside an iFrame. I figured no way they could index that, I was wrong.

Bootstrapped – Episode 43

The latest Bootstrapped.fm podcast had myself and the rest of the UserScape developers on as guests.

In this episode, we sit down with the developers of Userscape; Eric Barnes, Chris Fidao, and Taylor Otwell, to talk about weird dreams, Eric’s, Chris’ and Taylor’s backgrounds and how they got started at Userscape, supporting open source, Forge, newsletters, servers, building Scribbleton for Linux, content-based products, deploying desktop apps, and TV shows

Cheating Or Good Design?

A comment on Reddit (by raygundan) points out an interesting technique Apple uses on their iOS platform:

when you switch apps, the device saves a screenshot of what the last screen looks like for that app so that when you switch back again, that saved screenshot is the first thing you see. This is done to buy time for the app to fully load. Instead of showing you a blank screen or a loading screen, the device shows you a screenshot of the app. This technique works because the time it takes to load the rest of the app isn’t very long anyway, so a second of showing a screenshot that the user cannot interact with doesn’t cause confusion. What it does do is make it looks as if the app has loaded instantly, which results in a very good experience for the user.

I think this is a brilliant idea. It seems we live in a world full of loading gifs and I appreciate fine details like this. The fine details that you don’t see is the difference between mediocre and extraordinary.