There are many many great developers working on OSX and iOS. The number of tools you can pick from is awesome. Better yet everyone can pick there favourite tools.

After listening to Episode 98 of the Mikes on Mics podcast it got me thinking of better ways of mixing the tools you like. I want the markdown tools from Byword the searching and replacing features (including REGEX) from BBEdit and the PDF tools from PDFPen. But that is still a little bit of a pain in the OS X environment with opening, closing, cutting and pasting. It is nearly impossible in the world of iOS.

I’m thinking there needs to be a way to integrate your best choices in tools and bring them into everything we do. While also allowing different Then it came to me.. we used to have something like that .. it was called OpenDoc. I think iOS might be a place that would see a comeback of OpenDoc.

It was, in part, a method of cross application communication, one of the major asks for iOS users.

Among it features included the concepts of Publish and Subscribe that would allow a user to blend capabilities from different products in a document centric view. Do you really think Apple wrote two bits of code; one for Numbers and another for the Tables in Pages? I don’t think so.

Currently Developers are required to register their applications entitlements as part of the Mac App store process. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine a process where entitlements would announce publish and subscribe features.

OpenDoc also had another concept that would be interesting on iOS and possibly help user confusion over the current lack of a file system. OpenDoc was a document centric ideal that moved away from the application centric model which we have been living with for a long time.

This make even more sense if you had an ‘iCloud’ icon on the iPad or iPhone and all your documents were in there. You could then invoke the features of other installed apps without having to swap between screens.

Could you imagine a world where 1Password or Textexpander could ‘publish’ their features to Safari on the iPad? That could save a lot of cutting and pasting in my life.

But I can’t really make this happen, so all I can do is tell the guy that I’m pretty sure can….

My letter to Tim Cook:

Dear Mr Cook;

By way of a short introduction, I am a long time Apple user since my Dad bought our first Apple ][+ as a Christmas gift. Like many. I have lived through the ups and downs of Apple and its products and now celebrate the sucess that Apple has (again) achieved. My thanks to you and all the folks at Apple for the hard work to make these products happen.

As I move back and forth between my iPad, iPhone, iMac and Macbook Air I can’t help but think about the ways to get my tools to work better. I know many must have suggested unique ways to provide inter-application tools, especially on iOS.

I offer a suggestion, that is not unique and where Apple might be able to look backward to pull another idea out of its hertiage to bring forward new functionality. We used to have a tool that tried to merge features of various applications in a document centric view. It was called OpenDoc. This used the concept of Publish and Subscribe for developers to allow users to move between different data and tools within the same view. A capability similar to Publish and Subscribe would allow Applications to share features in a sandboxed environment like iOS. The features would be part of the entitelment declaraiton that are already being implmented for the App Store. The document centre would be within iCloud.

I think there are many novice user frustrations that could be solved by a big iCloud button somewhere in iOS 8 or 9 an all the documents created live there and the last though that you need to navigate around a file system to get back to what you were doing can go away.

Bill Kempthorne

PS: This was written on my iPad and MacBook with ByWord and synced with iCloud.

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