MindNode Touch Update

We released MindNode touch 2.1 last week and while this update adds several new features, there is one important and promised feature missing: iCloud support. Before updating you on our current iCloud status, I’d like to talk about some of the new features and improvements.

Send to App…

This is probably my favorite feature of this release. It’s finally possible to send documents created in MindNode to other apps installed on the device. For example you can now send your mind map to an outliner (using OPML) or upload it using a file transfer app.

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New User Interface Style

When I started working on this update I really wanted to update the visual style of the document picker as I was never happy with the sold grey background. The new style is “a bit” darker - compared to the old one - and has slight texture. I think the new style really emphasizes that MindNode is all about your ideas, the UI no longer pops out, but almost fades into the background.

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Other New Features

  • Retina screen support on the new iPad.
  • New localizations for French, Spanish, Italian and Chinese.
  • 200% zoom level.
  • Improvements to selection in document picker on iPhone.
  • Display strike-through text.
  • New setting to toggle screen mirroring.
  • And several bug fixes…

Pre iCloud

While MindNode touch 2.1 didn’t ship with iCloud support, it comes with several iCloud related changes under the hood. To enable iCloud support we had to completely restructure the way we store and manipulate documents. All file management related operations now go through a new API that coordinates file access. To ensure the user interface doesn’t block during those operations we also move everything to a callback based structure, which has the nice side effect that the UI is now a lot snappier. If you are interested in this code, you can find an older version of our document management code on "GitHub":https://gist.github.com/1438664.

One other noticeable change is that all documents now require a unique filename. This was necessary because the system’s iCloud UI on Mac and iOS allows the users to browse the iCloud container. (We previously used UUIDs for the filename).

Current iCloud status

We started beta testing iCloud enabled version of MindNode touch and MindNode Pro in early January. We initially ran into several iCloud related issues, but Apple really did a great job fixing open issues in previous iOS and OS X updates. In fact the recent 10.7.4 update fixes our last serious Mac related iCloud issue (a hang when saving a file).

Sadly we are still experiencing an issue on iOS that is related to documents no longer sharing with iCloud. We have no idea what is causing this issue or how we can reproduce it. It might even be that this issue has already been resolved by Apple. We simply don’t know as this issue only appeared for two beta testers and sadly so far Apple Developer Tech Support was unable to help us. However what we know is that our "bug report at Apple":http://openradar.appspot.com/radar?id=1669401 is still open and that I’m not willing to risk that this issue can surface on a customers device. (Just image the customer support nightmare and all the one star App Store reviews.)

What does this mean for iCloud integration in MindNode? We are currently working on other things that will help improve document exchange and we hope to receive some answers from Apple at next months World Wide Developer Conference. Hopefully we will be able to release our iCloud updates shortly thereafter.

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