Composer Status Update

10/03/2012 21:51:18
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I have been really busy in the MultiMarkdown super secret laboratory, and it’s time to mention a bit about what’s been going on for the last few months. (Plus a few people were asking about it on twitter and worried that a big secret had been leaked…)

As discussed back in February, I learned a lot during the development of MultiMarkdown Composer. I have basically been rewriting the entire code base, and writing it from the perspective that the same code should run on both iOS and Mac OS (mostly…)

Here’s where we stand:

Composer for iOS is going well. I’ve got some great beta testers who have helped me continue to refine the app. It is mostly feature complete, but still needs some polishing in a few spots. I’m really excited about it — Composer for iOS will bring features that no other editor on the platform has, and allows you to work in completely new ways.

I’m currently tweaking the shared codebase to run on Mac OS. I’ve made tons of progress in the last few weeks, and Composer 2.0 for the Mac almost has every feature from version 1. Plus so much more. It’s generally faster, smoother, cleaner, and just plain old better. I liked what I did with Composer 1, but this is really a giant step forward. It should contain fixes for all the known issues in Composer 1.1, and includes almost all of the submitted feature requests I have received on the poll and by email.

On the backend, the core functionality is contained within a shared code base. Most of the features I have added work for both platforms from the same code. If I fix a bug on the Mac, it gets fixed on iOS. Being able to test features on both platforms helps me make the code more robust and reliable, which helps everyone. This will make maintaining both apps, and adding new features much easier. (Plus, that code can be inserted into other apps, such as a new and improved Quicklook plug-in that I created the other afternoon.)

Composer 2.0 will require OS 10.7 (Lion). It runs on Mountain Lion. Too much of the code requires features that are not available in Snow Leopard for me to support 10.6 moving forward.

As mentioned previously, support for the ODB Editor protocol is not compatible with sandboxing and the App Store (let me know if I’m incorrect on this). From what I can tell, support for this feature will have to be dropped. I have commented elsewhere about the fact that it’s really not a very good protocol, IMO, but that’s beside the point. Trying to keep support for this in Lion was the cause of some of the bugs that do still exist in Composer 1.1, and jettisoning these workarounds will greatly improve reliability.

I won’t give a release date, because I know it will be wrong. I can tell you that I am using both versions of the app (Mac/iOS) on a daily basis and am very pleased. I still need to make some tweaks, and some of these will improve the experience on both platforms. The biggest piece that is not yet finished is the syntax highlighting and stylesheet support for the Mac version (this will not be available in iOS for now since Apple still has some glaring deficiencies in their support for attributed text in 3rd party software. I might be able to use another library to provide these features, but haven’t found anything quite right yet.)

If you’re interested in beta testing the iOS app, you can sign up with TestFlight. I can’t promise I will be able to add you, but you’re welcome to submit your information (make sure you include your device ID so I can add you to the next build). It might be a little while before the next iOS build as I finish up what I’m working on now.

If you’re interested in beta testing the Mac app, you can email me. I am not currently beta testing yet, but I will email you when it’s time.

Hopefully this lets you know what’s going on, and thank you for your support!

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