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What's Next for Wicca Plus - Violet - 2016.07.05

Hey everyone,

I'm (finally!) getting back into iOS development again and that means working on the next version of Wicca Plus.

At the moment I'm catching up on what's changed & what's new in the development tools, and figuring out what needs to be scrapped / replaced / updated to bring the code up to date.

Then moving forward, there've been a number of feature requests made over the past 2 years which will all be considered. If anyone has more or additional requests to make, please don't hesitate to do so.

There are two big ones which are both significant but in different ways:

Editing the Existing Entries
So far, the existing entries in Wicca Plus have been 'locked' in the sense that you can't edit them, export them, or print them. What you can do is delete them and replace them with your own entries. Even the 'special' ones in the Sabbat section, can be replaced and flagged to include the sabbat date and sorting information just like the built-in entries.

Nonetheless, people want those existing entries 'unlocked' so they can manipulate them.

This is under consideration; there are some technical as well as philosophical hurdles to overcome, so it's still somewhat up in the air.

iCloud Integration
This is a big one and I would love to include it. However, there are some massive technical issues to overcome first.

In a nutshell, Wicca Plus handles the entry and image data in a particular way, which made a lot of sense at the time I set it up. I don't remember if iCloud was available back then or not, but I do remember that the first iterations of iCloud's dev tools seemed incredibly complicated and unfriendly. I also recall that the way devs could access iCloud changed a few times as Apple continued to tweak things.

To make matters worse, I didn't actually use iCloud myself (still don't for the most part; I was burned once by Apple's "cloud services" and haven't trusted them since.) and without being intimately familiar with the way it all worked, I was not comfortable building for it.

Now we're a few years down the line and iCloud has some new options which I am exploring to see if it can accomodate Wicca Plus's data handling methods. 

If so, then (hopefully) iCloud integration will not be too-tremendous a challenge to achieve.

On the other hand, if the way Wicca Plus handles its data is still incompatible with iCloud, it becomes a much bigger problem. I'd have to include a mechanism to basically convert all your existing entries and images, into some different format that iCloud accepted; not to mention, rewriting Wicca Plus to use that new / different data scheme.

This isn't so much a problem for the 100 or so built-in entries. I'm thinking about the hundreds and hundreds of entries you've all created, the images you've saved, and the hours you've spent updating and adding to your Books. 

So.  iCloud integration is definitely on the list, but with a lot of questions and caveats as to whether or not it will be feasable.

To wrap up this little novel, I'm back at work on Wicca Plus, and a tentative target for the next major release will be autumn of this year. Ideally, somewhere between Mabon and Samhain, but no promises yet.


RE: What's Next for Wicca Plus - Dreamsinger - 2016.07.07


Now that you've mentioned the Big Ones, could we get a list of the rest of the requested features and what you're noodling on?

Personally, I've looked at a LOT of alleged BoS apps on Android and iOS, and have not found one with the flexibility and stability of WiccaPlus. It's a great gift to the community. Well thought out, and totally stable, which is more than I can say for apps from larger players.

I'm looking forward to seeing the app grow and evolve.


RE: What's Next for Wicca Plus - Violet - 2016.07.07

Thanks for the kind words Dreamsinger - I really appreciate it.

Among the minor things, there will be a lot of general code-cleanup and modernisation.

Eg. getting it compatible with the split-screen feature introduced last year. This is sort of a biggish thing in the sense that while the app does use autolayout exclusively, it still makes some assumptions based on whether it is running on an iPad or not. That paradigm has to be abandoned and all the layout decisions have to be made based on available screen size. It's a bit of a PITA but will result in a more-capable app in the end.

I also want to clean up the button bars, which have gotten a bit messy with various options. The 'share button' / 'share sheet' thing is the goal, to incorporate printing and emailing functions and anything else that is suitable.

There are a few more entries I'll be adding to the built-ins, nothing revolutionary just some add-ons here and there.

Beyond that, I'd rather not make a comprehensive list at this time since things can change and I don't want to mention I'm working on XYZ only to have to drop that for whatever reason.

Suffice to say I have been re-reading the posts and requests here, and making notes.


RE: What's Next for Wicca Plus - Violet - 2017.01.09

Ok, version 4.0 is finally through the various approvals and should be appearing available very shortly.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to do much more than I outlined above, due to time pressures and health matters, but here's what you will see:

1) The split screen / screen sharing / multitasking is working.

2) Core entries can be unlocked to allow editing, printing, exporting. This is a one-time in-app-purchase. I don't think I'm asking a lot for it, but folks who really wanted that feature now have the option, if they want to pay for it.

3) iCloud... didn't happen unfortunately. Honestly, I worked on this for a solid month and it kicked my a**. It's just really, really hard to work with. I know it works great when it works, but Apple has just too many hoops to go through and very few options for how to make it work, and none of those options were compatible with Wicca Plus.

3) Instead, I have included Dropbox, which isn't quite as perfect but it gets the job done. And by comparison it only took 2 days to build Dropbox functionality into the app. You can link your Dropbox account from within Wicca Plus, then you can export individual entries, or do a complete backup. And of course you can import entries or complete backups from Dropbox.

4) There are also some various minor changes, bug fixes, that sort of thing. Most visible is the top-left corner of entries, there's a three-dot 'more' menu icon which replaces several icons. From the 'More' menu you can edit, print, delete, and export entries.

I apologize for how long it took to get this update out to everyone, and thank you all for your support and patience.