MarsEdit 3.6.6: Performance And Bug Fixes

November 6th, 2014

MarsEdit 3.6.6 is available now from the MarsEdit home page, and has been submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

This release addresses a pair of performance issues affecting some people on OS X Yosemite, in which typing in the post editor or sorting items in the main window can become very slow.

The update also improves overall reliability, including fixes for several nuisances and crashing scenarios:

  • Fix a performance problem that caused slow typing in the post editor for some users
  • Fix a performance problem with sorting large lists of posts in the main window
  • Fix a bug in which image attachments could be removed erroneously when canceling a draft save
  • Fix the functionality of the AppleScript “save” command to save a post as a local draft
  • Fix a bug that prevented sorting posts by the Tags column
  • Fix updating of post editor window contents when left open after publishing
  • Prevent a crash when pasting text with invisible characters
  • Fix a bug that could prevent the main category from being changed by the category popup

Let me know if you notice anything unusual after updating to the latest release!

Black Ink 1.6.2: Fix New York Times Login

October 30th, 2014

Black Ink 1.6.2 is now available from the Black Ink home page, and will soon be submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

Starting with version 1.6.1, Black Ink supports the ability to download premium puzzles from the New York Times, prompting for your username and password as needed.

The main purpose of 1.6.2 is to fix a problem that cropped up due to a change in the New York Times’s web page, making it so Black Ink did not detect the need to authenticate and thus could get stuck unable to download premium puzzles.

This update also makes a minor refinement to the drawing of clue numbers within puzzle squares.

Black Ink 1.6.2

  • Fix an issue that prevented NY Times Premium login request from appearing
  • Fine-tune drawing of clue numbers so they aren’t so close to the left edge of squares

Please let me know if you run into any problems with the update.

Yosemite’s Automation Improvements

October 29th, 2014

Ray Robertson of Automated Workflows offers a good rundown of the automation changes Apple provides in OS X Yosemite and their iWork suite of apps. When you look at the mass of changes, including enhancements to AppleScript, Automator, and the addition of an all new JavaScript dialect for application scripting, it reads like a pretty huge update to the state of automation. So much for AppleScript being “dead” to Apple, huh?

One of the interesting new features in AppleScript is support for scripts exposing their own “progress” as they run. This facilitates the system displaying e.g. a busy indicator, or even a progress bar that fills up as the script moves along the steps of its work. Unfortunately the progress feature of AppleScript has not been exposed to 3rd party developers, so far as I can tell. So an app like FastScripts, or any other app that runs scripts on its own, cannot yet take advantage of showing users the fancy progress feedback.

I’m especially impressed and intrigued by the changes Apple has made to iWork to better facilitate scripting. When they launched the major updates to the suite last year, they gutted AppleScript support in the apps. They’ve been gradually adding stuff back, and the latest updates make another big leap. As described by the Automated Workflows post, they’ve gone so far as to provide custom UI in the app for labeling fields with scriptable terms. I look forward to seeing what I can do now with some automated Pages workflows that I’ve been holding back to the previous generation of the app.

FastScripts 2.6.8: Fix Folder Aliases

October 24th, 2014

FastScripts 2.6.8 is available now from the FastScripts home page, and will soon be submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

For years FastScripts has supported the ability to follow Mac OS X aliases, so you can drop an alias to a script, or an alias to a folder of scripts, and it “just works.” For example, some folks found this to be a handy way of keeping a bunch of scripts on Dropbox that would be accessible from whatever computer they use FastScripts from.

At some point along the line, this functionality started breaking in subtle ways that I didn’t track down until now. The long and short of it is Apple has moved away from “alias files” in recent years, and now favors a format they call “bookmarks.” To users, the files behave the same way, and Apple continues to call them “aliases” e.g. in the Finder when it offers to make an alias to a file. However, the older system service for “resolving an alias file” does not work on bookmarks. Thus, existing aliases in your FastScripts tree may have worked, but new aliases created recently would actually be “bookmarks” and thus not work.

The problem was compounded at some point, maybe as recently as OS X Yosemite, when Apple started aggressively converting old alias files into bookmarks. So even if you had an old, functional alias to a folder in your script tree, it may have recently stopped working in FastScripts because Apple converted it … helpfully … to a bookmark.

FastScripts 2.6.8 solves this problem once and for all by using newer system services that resolve both alias files and bookmarks. You should now be able to make an alias to a folder or script, drop it into your Scripts folder, and have it show up as expected.

This update also addresses a cosmetic issue with 2.6.7, where my efforts to update the FastScripts icon for Yosemite’s “dark mode” caused it to appear inadvertently too light when running in standard mode.

FastScripts 2.6.8

  • Fix a bug from 2.6.7 that caused the menu bar icon to draw too lightly in OS X Yosemite
  • Restore proper functionality of aliases to folders within the script hierarchy
  • Fix a typo in the first-launch welcome message

Let me know if you run into any issues!