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NeoOffice :: View topic - Development plans for the rest of 2014
Development plans for the rest of 2014
 
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pluby
The Architect
The Architect


Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 11853
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 8:37 am    Post subject: Development plans for the rest of 2014 Reply with quote

Now that we have finished all of the tasks in last year's development plans, Ed and I thought it was time to post a list of what development tasks we need to work on through the end of this year.

For the most part, there are no new exciting features in our development plans. Instead, Ed and I will likely be spending most of our available time rewriting our existing code to keep up with Apple's ongoing Mac OS X changes. Specifically, most of the tasks on our list are rewriting any of our code that uses functions that Apple has marked for removal. Soon after Apple announces that some functions will be removed, Apple requires us to remove those functions before we can submit any new versions of NeoOffice to the Mac App Store so rewriting any affected code is a very high priority for us.

In addition, there are rumors that Apple will release a new version of Mac OS X that has significant user interface changes this fall. If the rumors are true, then any time not spent working on rewriting code for functions removed by Apple will be needed to prepare NeoOffice for any user interface and/or technical changes that will be in the new version of Mac OS X.

Unfortunately, since a new version of Mac OS X this year will use up all of our time, we must scale back our work elsewhere. What that means is that we have some bad news for NeoOffice 3.x users:

We will only release new versions of NeoOffice in the Mac App Store

NeoOffice 3.4.1 will be the last version of NeoOffice that does not comply with Apple's Mac App Store security requirements. In light of the increasing number of high profile security issues that are being reported, we feel that the added security and sandboxing required by Apple provide real protections that benefit all of our users.
  • How will this affect NeoOffice 3.x users? - A complete list of the changes NeoOffice 3.x users see when switching to our Mac App Store version is here. Generally, the NeoOffice users who are most affected by Apple's Mac App Store security requirements are third-party extension users and Base users who are using the built-in database. Base continues to be compatible with MySQL and spreadsheet data sources, so users are urged to migrate their data before they upgrade to a future version of Mac OS X.
  • Why are we making this change? - Ed and I only have a fixed amount of development time available each year and we will not have enough time to implement Apple's changes to Mac OS X in two different versions of NeoOffice. Since the Mac App Store version of NeoOffice contains more security features and Mac App Store users now provide more than 80% of the NeoOffice project's funding, working exclusively on the Mac App Store version is the most logical option for us.

Below is the list of development tasks that Ed and I plan on working on through the end of 2014. Please note that "NeoOffice 2014" refers to our next Mac App Store release:

Move from 32 bit to 64 bit binaries

While 32 bit applications like NeoOffice run on all versions of Mac OS X without a problem, Apple has been quietly removing features from 32 bit applications. Apple routinely marks functions for removal and then, at the same time, provides replacement functions that we must use. Increasingly, the replacement functions are only available for 64 bit applications. So, to preserve NeoOffice's existing features, we need to make NeoOffice a 64 bit application.

Reimplement video support using AVKit functions

NeoOffice currently uses Apple's QuickTime functions to play audio and video. However, Apple marked those functions for removal so we must reimplement our code to use Apple's new AVKit functions. The AVKit funcitons are only available in 64 bit applications so we will implement AVKit in our code after we move NeoOffice from 32 bit to 64 bit.

Reimplement native Mac OS X grammar checker to run while typing

Although the Mac App Store version of NeoOffice is now more popular than NeoOffice 3.x, many users are not happy that many third-party extensions no longer work. While we cannot make their third-party extensions work due Apple Mac App Store security requirements, what we can do is provide a replacement for the most common types of extensions. From our research, grammar checkers are the most common extensions used by our users and so we plan to enhance our native Mac OS X spellchecker code to work like NeoOffice's built-in spellchecking.

Reimplement any code required by the next version of Mac OS X

In contrast to the other development tasks listed above, we do not know what work will be needed for this task. What we do know is that many Mac rumor sites are speculating that Apple will release a new version of Mac OS X this fall. If Apple announces plans for a new version of Mac OS X, we will post more details as to what work we will need to do.


If anyone has any questions about our development plans, please feel free to post them and Ed or I will try to answer them.

Patrick
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amayze
The Merovingian


Joined: Oct 24, 2005
Posts: 561
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would I be correct, that almost by definition, moving to an App Store only release means an end of support for single core Intel Macs which can go no further than OS X 10.6.8, which does not have the App Store?

Even if it was possible to copy the binary from an App Store capable Mac to an older one, will the binary be fat (i.e. contain 64- and 32-bit versions), or will they only run on 64-bit machines?

Andy
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pluby
The Architect
The Architect


Joined: Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 11853
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

amayze wrote:
Would I be correct, that almost by definition, moving to an App Store only release means an end of support for single core Intel Macs which can go no further than OS X 10.6.8, which does not have the App Store?


It really means no new versions of NeoOffice for pre-Mac OS X 10.8 machines. Although the App Store exists in Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7, the requirement that apps in the Mac App Store must implement Apple's App Sandbox security feature effectively made Mac OS X 10.8 the earliest version that our Mac App Store product could support.

My hope is that NeoOffice 3.4.1 will still run on the next version of Mac OS X. It definitely don't expect it to work very far into the far, but I would not be surprised if Apple stops providing Java downloads in their next version of Mac OS X. At that point, even if NeoOffice 3.4.1 can run on the next version of Mac OS X, without Apple Java NeoOffice 3.4.1 would essentially have the same functionality as a Mac App Store version.

amayze wrote:
Even if it was possible to copy the binary from an App Store capable Mac to an older one, will the binary be fat (i.e. contain 64- and 32-bit versions), or will they only run on 64-bit machines?


Future versions will only be 64 bit. Mac OS X 10.8 and higher only have 64 bit kernels. Luckily for us, we have been able to run on Mac OS X 10.8 and higher because Apple supported running 32 bit applications on their 64 bit kernels, but once we have 64 bit support, there really is nothing that I can think of that makes shipping a 32 bit necessary.

Patrick
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