Michael Rockwell, over at Initial Charge write a piece about a really interesting way to give web apps a more native feel on iOS.
Firstly, he mentions Fluid, which is an application for macOS which lets you “convert” web apps into containers that run as normal apps:
On macOS, there’s an application available called Fluid, which lets you create site-specific web browsers. Many of us use web apps everyday and Fluid allows you to run them side-by-side with your native applications without being sequestered inside of a web browser. Fluid is a handy little tool that every Mac user should have in their arsenal.
I hadn’t heard of Fluid before, so I’m going to try this myself, but it’s not as good as his next suggestion for iOS:
To build these site-specific browsers, it just takes two simple actions — a URL action with the web app’s address and the Show Web Page action. When run, Workflow will open up the URL in a Safari View Controller, which gives you access to your action extensions alongside forward, back, and refresh buttons. From there you can give the workflow a name, set an icon color, and a glyph to fit the website or web application’s functionality.
So, he uses Workflow! It’s something I haven’t thought at all about before, but it makes sense. You can use the standard Safari View Controller inside Workflow, or you make partner it with apps like Sidefari, or maybe even add another layer to it with Opener.
I’ve actually just set one up myself to handle my the interface for this blog, which runs on Ghost.
Whether you use macOS or iOS, there’s a solution for you in this post!
Lately I’ve been thinking about making another run at file tagging. It’s kind of funny how these tech issues percolate up. It all started with some receipts that I wanted to save to both client folders and tax folders. I found myself creating duplicates to have them in two places at once, which rubs me, someone who used to save computer data onto a cassette tape, as fundamentally wrong.
So I’m looking at a hybrid tagging system that will still work with folders at some level but also rely on tags to help sort, store, and find files. There still are a lot of downsides to tagging. It takes extra time and it has very shaky support on iOS. I’m making a list of problems as I go.
I have moments like this where I think using file tagging would make my life so much easier, especially when I first found the feature to be quite interesting when first announced. However, when I decided to try out the feature, it never seems to stick with me. It was always a bigger task to set up, then to just deal with the problems one by one.
Nevertheless, I am very interested to see what results David has, and it may spark myself again to try them out.
A few days ago Setapp was released to the public, but I was fortunate enough to be in the beta, so I've had a lot of experience with it. If you don't know about Setapp already, it's a subscription-based service that gives users access to a huge bunch of great macOS apps.
If I calculate correctly, this is my second month using Setapp, and it's been great. I've had access to so many great applications, that before I wouldn't of even thought about, or even heard of.
But after all of this time, there's only a few applications that I have actually launched:
CleanMyMac is something I've ran a few times, just so I could get an idea on the state of my new MacBook.
CodeRunner is actually quite a nifty application, it's basically a text editor for programmers, that can actually compile and execute code itself. I played around with this a few times when doing Java at university, but it wasn't something I stuck with.
iStat Menus is probably the only consistent app I use from Setapp, and that's really just providing me with a few useful stats, that I could realistically live without. Because my Mac isn't at any stage where I need to worry about resources.
I think I've opened MoneyWiz about three times, once to set it up, and then twice to check out my transactions. It's a nice idea, but not something I need.
Ulysses, maybe my favourite application out of the lot. But I've been doing a bit less writing recently, so I haven't used it as much. I do have iA Writer, and then there's Bear, so it's not a necessity, although Ulysses is a well made app.
From a usability point of view, Setapp has worked perfectly. And it does provide a great deal of applications for a little amount of money a month.
However, my problem is that I simply don't need these applications. And although a few of them are nice to have, it doesn't warrant any kind of subscription fee.
I've seen a few people have issues regarding opening applications that they have downloaded from the internet, that they get the error below, about it being from an unidentified developer.
This is due to the latest security settings in macOS, and these are accessible in the Security & Privacy pane in System Preferences.
There are two options to choose from:
App Store and identified developers
Of course the top option means you can only open applications distributed from the Mac App Store. But the other one means it allows all apps from the Mac App Store, and also any developers that have signed their application with Apple's "Developer ID" certificate. This allows developers to distribute their apps outside of the store, but also maintain the same security features, and trust level as the former option.
There is also a temporary solution, which lets you override the security settings on a case by case basis. Just press "Open Anyway" at the bottom of the preferences pane, and it will then open like normal!
Edit (14th January 2017):
My friend Cesare let me know that you can also unlock a third option, this let's you choose "Anywhere" in the preferences, and will let you download and open any application without restriction.
To unlock it, just open Terminal (Applications/Utilities/Terminal) and enter the following line exactly:
sudo spctl --master-disable
If you want to return it back to normal, just enter the following:
I just set up a nice little automation on my Mac that I just had to share with everyone, it's quite small, but it's a big help to me when writing my project report for university.
I'm writing it in iA Writer at the minute, and I'm certainly making full use of the content blocks for things like images, and referencing separate bits of text. But I wanted a way to take a screenshot, and then have it available to me to embed into the document. It meant I had to google a few things about AppleScript, but that seemed pretty simple.
To keep my project folder nice and tidy, I created a new folder inside it called "Resources". At the minute it's just for images, but who knows!
Then I created a new rule in Hazel, to detect any file in my Inbox folder1 that has the tag "KeepTrack"2, which then moves it into the appropriate Resources folder that I just created. It then runs a small bit of AppleScript to copy the correct text to my clipboard, that I can then paste into iA Writer.
set the clipboard to "/Resources/" & item 1 of inputAttributes
The inputAttributes is the variable Hazel provides, and I have only set one item to pass through, the full name of the file that was matched, so "Image.png" could be one.
Then I'll get something like /Resources/Image.png in my clipboard, that iA Writer will accept as a content block and show the image!
So it's not a grand automation workflow, but it's something that I worked out due to the fantastic capabilities of Hazel!
I'm starting to really love the app, and it's allowing me to automate my work on my Mac even more.