Codebook 1.4.1 Released in App Store

2010-12-01 19:00:00 -0500

As previously noted, we pulled Codebook 1.4.0 from the App Store due to a start-up bug, and rushed to get a fix prepared. The update has been released, Codebook 1.4.1 is now available in the App Store, and all users of Codebook should update as soon as possible. Visit the App Store now to get the update.

If you had installed Codebook 1.4.0, or any other recent update and could no longer start Codebook on your device, this update will restore your access to your data. As we mentioned before, we had done quite extensive testing on Codebook before releasing the last update, but we didn’t do it on enough disparate iOS devices to detect this bug, and will be doing far more extensive testing on all future updates.


Well, obviously, we fixed the start-up bug.

But the biggest change since Codebook 1.3 is that Codebook 1.4 provides the oft-requested support for multi-tasking: on devices that are running iOS 4 and support multi-tasking, you can now set a timer, allowing Codebook to stay temporarily unlocked while you switch applications. Makes the app a lot more convenient to use on the Subway, I’ll tell you that.

I’ve also ditched the recycled-paper background displayed on the note view/edit screen in favor of a more subtle paper texture that’s far more pleasant.

Coming Soon in Codebook 1.5

Work on Codebook 1.5 was completed recently, and we’re now testing it as mentioned above for any surprises. It includes a ton of usability improvements and a fantastic new feature: Dropbox Sync.

Codebook 1.5 Sync View

The note view/edit screen also got a lot of love, too:

Codebook 1.5 Note View

If the differences aren’t readily apparent: the top-right navigation bar button is no longer the action button kicking up an email compose view. This + button allows you to quickly add a new note — the current note is torn off the view (a la Apple’s MobileNotes) to reveal a fresh page.

The toolbar is a long-overdue addition. Now you can delete what you’re looking at without having to pop back to the list view, or you can hit the Action/Share button. The share button, by the way, no longer just throws up a compose view. Instead it presents a modal sheet providing you the option of sharing the current note as an email. This pause in the process allows us to add more options later and will help cut down on some accidental mailing of notes.

Finally, while you can’t tell from the screenshot here, the animation of presenting the keyboard and re-sizing the text view for editing is greatly improved. It’s no longer jerky, but nice and smooth, and the background doesn’t appear to get squished or stretched, it just remains static, providing a much nicer editing experience.

This is all probably a couple weeks out from appearing in the Store. Hopefully, by Christmas.

Thanks for using Codebook!

STRIP: Not Cheap And Nasty

2010-11-30 19:00:00 -0500

SY, a fan of our password manager STRIP for iOS sent us one of the funnier complements we’ve ever gotten:

Overall I love the app, the interface is clean and simple but doesn’t look cheap and nasty like XXXX and others.

Thanks, SY!

Codebook Startup Bug in 1.4.0

2010-11-16 19:00:00 -0500

Updated, Update II, below

Bomb Restart gif

Thanks to direct reports from our customers, and some crash logs we’ve received via iTunes Connect, it appears that the new version of Codebook that we published in the App Store (version 1.4.0) had a start-up bug in certain circumstances, on certain iOS versions and hardware. Basically, the app was crashing immediately on iOS 3, and crashing on some instances of iOS 4 during the application start-up sequence. We’ve since pulled Codebook from the store to prevent anyone else from downloading this update.

No one’s data is lost, but anybody who’s run into this problem will find their data inaccessible, simply because they can’t start the application. To that regard, we are hustling to deliver a fix through the App Store (we’ve already got the bugs solved, and thoroughly tested). We realize that if you’re a serious user of Codebook, you depend on being able to access your data, and we’re on it.

For all future releases of Codebook, we’ll be testing on more devices, iOS 3 and 4, to make sure this doesn’t bite us again. I should note that we had done extensive testing of Codebook, but it was limited to iOS 4 on an iPhone 4, and iOS 4 on an iPhone 3G. Clearly, we need to be testing this on the iPod Touch, on iOS 3, etc, and that’s what we’ll be doing from now on.

We do have some good news: Codebook 1.5 is already undergoing testing and should be ready for release soon. The main reason for the version bump, aside from a ton of user interface and usability improvements, is the new feature: Sync with Dropbox!

Thanks again for your patience and feedback.

Update, Nov 23rd, Codebook 1.4.1, which fixes the issues outlined here, was submitted to Apple on Sunday (Nov 21) with a request for expedited approval due to the situation at hand. We’re waiting to hear back, hopefully it will be approved and posted to the App Store within the week.

Update II, Dec 2nd, Codebook 1.4.1 is now available from the iTunes App Store. All users of Codebook should upgrade as soon as possible. Release notes (and sneak peaks).

Strip Desktop and the Future of Strip

2010-10-28 20:00:00 -0400

Updated: 6/6/2012 Strip for Windows and Strip for OS X are now for sale.

It’s about time we came out and said it: we are in fact working on Strip Desktop. Long requested by fans of our popular private data management app for iOS (and previously for Palm OS), Strip Desktop will provide a means for users to manage their Strip data on their desktop computer, in addition to the features we’ve already made available in Strip Sync.

Strip MacOSx Promo 500w

As you can hopefully tell from the screen clip above (click to enlarge), we are working hard to maintain the same simple and elegant style used in Strip for iOS, by borrowing some of our design choices from Apple’s Address Book. We expect this interface to change and mature quite a bit over the next few months, but this is a reasonable approximation of our intended product. You can’t tell from that lone screenshot, but all the basic features of the data editor in Strip for Mac OS X are complete at this point.

Strip Desktop is a bit of a misnomer, as it actually describes two distinct, native applications: Strip for Windows, and Strip for Mac OS X. We’ve been making great progress recently on the Mac version, but we’ve fallen a bit behind on the Windows version and expect to pick up the slack soon. We are considering publishing Strip for Mac OS X in the new Mac App Store recently announced by Apple, and expect to have it ready for release by the time the Mac App Store opens for business, whether or not we decide to go that route (Apple estimates this will be around Jan 26th, 2011, so that’s our target).

Online Backup & Strip

We’ve reconsidered our previous stance on providing an online-backup feature. We’ve found that supporting Sync over local WiFi networks is particularly difficult. With so many different types of home networking hardware out there — with all the infinite variations of network configurations, combinations, pitfalls, and firewalls — it’s no wonder Apple does sync over the Dock cable. It’s time for us to find ways to make this easier, too.

We’re not getting rid of Sync over WiFi, but we are going to begin experimenting with an online backup & sync feature for Codebook, and if all goes well, we’ll port it back to Strip. The basic gist of the feature is that a copy of your encrypted db will be placed in your Dropbox account. When it’s time to sync, any one of your copies of Strip can download the master copy in your Dropbox, and sync against it locally. Your unencrypted data will never be stored on Dropbox, and your password/key will never be sent over the wire. This feature will have the happy side-effect of providing you with the same multi-device replication you get now with Strip Sync.

Discontinuing Strip Sync

Relatedly, we have one maintenance update in the pipe for Strip Sync, and we plan to discontinue development of the application once Strip Desktop is released. Once we have Strip Desktop and the Online Backup feature in place, there won’t be a need for the software anymore — whether or not you choose to use Strip Desktop. The forthcoming maintenance update of Strip Sync will coincide with the release of Strip 1.5 for iOS, a rather handy set of small productivity enhancements and bug fixes. Users who upgrade to Strip 1.5 will need the latest version of Strip Sync, as well. We’ll publish a notice to the mailing list as soon as this next release is ready.


We really appreciate the requests you’ve been sending in for an Android port of Strip! At the moment we need to focus on the desktop applications. Once we’ve brought them to market, we will take another look at building a port for Android.

How to Structure Applications for Mac OS X?

2010-10-27 20:00:00 -0400

There’s a really telling thread active on the cocoa-unbound mailing list right now, regarding the difficulty in grasping how to structure applications in Mac OS X, especially as compared to its sibling iOS, and the materials that are available, a subject with which I’ve become quite familiar as I hack on STRIP for Mac OS X:

When I create a new Rails application or Ruby Gem, there’s a clear, predefined application structure. Its obvious what things go where. It’s the same structure every time,

When I first created new iPhone projects, picking a “Navigation-based app” or such like gave you all the structure you’d really need for that type of app. You could see exactly where the VCs lived, how they hooked up to NIBs and how they talked to each other. I don’t need the templates now, but they were very instructive in the beginning.

I’m missing the same thing for Mac applications.

Exactly. List users are starting to add their suggestions for reference material and tutorials, some good resources there. But really, we could use some better, more comprehensive materials from The Source for Mac OS X. The WWDC video sessions are invaluable, the small app examples are great, the API documentation is fantastic, but we devs really could use some beefier, more complex, real-world reference materials.

Update: It’s not really a how-to document, but I did get a lot out of Matt Gallagher’s article, The design of every Mac application.