Архив метки: HTML

Ulysses adds split view on the iPad and support for Ghost blogs

Writing app Ulysses has been updated with a few nifty feature additions. On the iPad, you can now split the editor into two side-by-side editors — this feature alone opens up a lot of possibilities. Ulysses also now supports the option to publish your writing directly to a Ghost blog.
Ulysses is currently available on macOS, the iPad and the iPhone. It’s a Markdown editor with a library of texts that automatically stays in sync across your devices. You can export one or multiple texts in many different formats, including Markdown, HTML, rich text, PDF, ePub, DOCX and a blog.
In addition to Medium and WordPress, Ulysses now supports blogs built using Ghost, an open source CMS platform. If your website is built on Ghost, this should be a nice addition.
But I’m more excited about the ability to open two editors at the same time on the iPad. While the iPad is a great device if you’re looking for a focused writing environment, iOS still thinks “one app = one document”. Sure, you can open two Safari tabs side by side, but most apps only let you open one document at a time.
Ulysses now lets you open two documents at once. You can drag a document from the sidebar and drop it on the right side of the screen to split the screen into two panels. This way, if you’re translating a document, if you need to look at some references, you can scroll through a second document while you write in the main document.
But Ulysses doesn’t stop there. You can also open a second editor from the editor settings to look at different parts of the same document. And if you long press on the export button, you can also open a live preview of the document you’re currently working on.
For instance, you can see what your text will look like before you publish on your blog — headers, images, links and footnotes included. If you edit your text, Ulysses automatically refreshes the preview after a second.
Opening and closing documents is a fluid experience and this split view feature is well implemented. There have been rumors that Apple has been working on improvements at the iOS level to let you open multiple documents using the same app. Today’s Ulysses update is a good example of such a feature and how it would make the iPad even better.

Ulysses adds split view on the iPad and support for Ghost blogs

Is Spotify Preparing To Push Its App Center To Its iOS Mobile App?

spotify mobile app ios

Yesterday, Josh wrote about how Spotify is planning to push out a browser-based version of its music streaming service. Earlier today AllThingsD further confirmed this and added a bit more color: the price is not likely to be reduced at the same time; and it will start rolling out in about a month. We’ve heard a similar report of an October timeframe from a source. And now, in addition to that, we have also seen some evidence of how Spotify could be planning to enhance its mobile app as well, by adding its third-party apps service into the mix.

Currently, Spotify’s desktop app offers a specific section where they show off third-party applications that use the company’s API — for example, a TuneWiki app gives you lyrics to Spotify tracks; LastFM offers personalized recommendations. But there is no link to Spotify third-party apps at the moment in the iOS app.

Adding its app center to the mobile app would make a lot of sense for Spotify as it seeks to make its service more ubiquitous and continues to look for ways of extending time spent on the platform — and making that platform become the centerpiece of music streaming services.

One developer we spoke to noted that mobile is currently where Spotify has many of its most active users (and certainly the more profitable, considering that all mobile users are signed on to Spotify Premium; although in the U.S., the radio service is free on Android and iOS). Creating an app store would be one route to growing that mobile business.

It would also mean closer functionality and parity with the desktop (and possibly web browser) experience. And there is something else: given what a nightmare it is for apps to be discovered in app stores like Apple’s and Google Play, highlighting those apps within the Spotify app would give those third party apps another route for discoverability. That could also make encourage more companies to develop apps for Spotify’s platform. At the moment Spotify lists 47 apps on its web app.

It comes on the heels of reports that Apple itself is looking into more streaming services, something that could hit competitors like Pandora.

The development was first brought to our attention by a developer called tico-man (link to his site here), who has found a set of files embedded in some of Spotify’s existing code (he’s asked us to keep the method quiet if we report this; so we are). His take: It is a “wonderful HTML 5 bundle of evidence that Spotify is ready to ask their developers to create in-app applications for the iPhone.”

The data does not specifically provide details of an actual implementation, ”But early documentation inside the code is very convincing material that third-parties will be writing apps for their mobile app,” he notes.

We have seen the code for ourselves, and it includes .json documentation specifying details like UserInstallable, Dependencies, SupportedDeviceClasses, AppName, AppDescription, ApiPermissions — all details that could be used by a developer looking to integrate their apps on to the platform.

It also seems to offer other pointers describing certain functions: “The application object manages the interaction between your application and the Spotify client it runs within,” is the description for the application class, for example.

The files also appear to feature code for a newer, unpublished version of the existing Spotify app — further pointing to something that might be coming ahead. This new version is called 1.0.0 (versus the current version of 0.8.3).

It’s likely that, if this is what it looks like it is, while Spotify’s mobile app center may not offer downloads of the apps themselves — that would violate Apple’s own rules on ‘Inception’ like app stores in iOS apps — Spotify could offer such a feature to help users discover the apps. That would provide links out to those apps by way of Apple’s App Store. This is similar to what Facebook does when it offers third-party apps via its iOS native and web apps, or Openfeint does in its iOS app (and will presumably continue to do when it migrates to Gree).

Additional reporting by Romain Dillet.

Is Spotify Preparing To Push Its App Center To Its iOS Mobile App?

Urbanspoon: Traffic Up 80% In 2011, Mobile Growth Faster Than Web

urbanspoon_Home Screen

Popular restaurant app Urbanspoon is releasing new data today related to its growth over the course of 2011. The company says its traffic is up by 80%, with mobile growth outpacing the web. The site is now seeing 28 million visits per month, with traffic now split roughly half and half between mobile and web.

On the mobile side, Urbanspoon has seen 112% year-over-year growth, while on the web side, it’s at 70% growth over last year. Overall, the company saw 255 million visits in 2011, up from 141 million in 2010.

Across all mobile platforms, including both apps and mobile web, Urbanspoon is seeing 6 million mobile monthly uniques and 10 million mobile monthly visits. The interesting thing about this data is that Urbanspoon can’t always tell when a user hits a particular webpage where that user originated – app or mobile web. That’s because many pages within Urbanspoon’s native mobile applications are actually mobile webpages built using HTML, a decision that the company tells us has been “great for scalability.” (Now to work on improved analytics!).

Urbanspoon attributes its growth to several things, from new features launched over the past year, to its continued focus on improving its mobile experiences. Notably, it launched a food diary / check-in feature called Dineline in recent months. It has also been aggressively going after OpenTable with its Rezbook iPad app that allows restaurants to take reservations directly from the Urbanspoon app and website. As of last month, Urbanspoon had over 1,200 restaurants using this service. (It had just 800 in August).

The company also integrated Zagat reviews in August 2011, just before Google’s September acquisition of the well-known restaurant reviews company. For what it’s worth, there hasn’t been any fallout coming from Zagat’s new ownership in terms of its partnership with Urbanspoon, we’re told. It’s been business as usual.

As for what’s next, Urbanspoon is exploring other ways to help diners “close the loop” with restaurants that extend beyond its bread-and-butter (ha!) offering of restaurant discovery. Reservations and waitlisting are just two of the services the company aims to provide. It’s also exploring ideas like food delivery, customer loyalty programs, and incentives. One of these new transaction types will debut this year. But, cautions Urbanspoon SVP of Publishing Kara Nortman, “when we get into doing something on the loyalty and incentive side, it will be something we consider very carefully.”

The company already allows restaurants to target customers via “Perks” – specials that appear in the reservation flow to entice customers to a particular restaurant. Presumably, the loyalty program could tie those perks to the individual, then reward them for their selection.

In the nearer future (a matter of weeks, in fact), Urbanspoon will deliver new mobile app updates, but specific details on what those will involve will have to wait.

Urbanspoon: Traffic Up 80% In 2011, Mobile Growth Faster Than Web

Gmail App For iOS Hits The App Store Again

Screen Shot 2011-11-16 at 11.09.53 AM

When Google finally launched the official Gmail application for iOS earlier this month, the tech world sang with joy… for all of about thirty seconds. Almost immediately, reports spilled in that the app was broken, buggy, and almost entirely unusable. Google pulled the app down within a few hours.

Today, they’re taking a second swing at it.

While Google promises that they are “just getting started with the Gmail app for iOS and will be iterating rapidly to bring you more features”, today’s re-launch is mostly identical to the original — save for all the bug fixes, of course.

One notable change: images embedded in HTML e-mails are now scaled to fit your screen and can be pinch-zoomed, instead of spilling off the screen by default.

The app is a bit tough to find in the App Store right now via search, but here’s the direct link.

Gmail App For iOS Hits The App Store Again

Sencha Raises $15 Million For Their HTML5 App Development Tools


What a week Sencha is having. Just minutes ago, they announced their new HTML 5 cloud services suite, Sencha.io. Tomorrow morning, the company will announce they’ve raised a $15 million Series B.

The announcement will be made during tomorrow’s keynote of their third annual Senchacon.

So, what’s a “Sencha”? Sencha makes Javascript frameworks and tools for HTML 5 developers. In other words, they make life easier for the people trying to make the web prettier. Sencha Touch, for example, lets developers quickly add Native app-esque touch gestures to their web apps; Sencha Animator, meanwhile, lets developers build complex CSS3 animations in the same way as they might build a Flash animation. It’s also a type of green tea (specifically, it’s green tea made without first grinding the leaves.)

This round was led by Jafco Venture, with existing investors Sequoia Capital and Radar Partners participating as well. Sancha previously raised $14 million in their Series A back in June of 2010.

Launch Date:
January 4, 2007

Sencha makes JavaScript frameworks for desktop and mobile devices. It has a new emphasis on HTML5-based products, like Sencha Touch, a framework for touch-enabled devices like those running iOS and Android. Sencha was formed from the combination of three open source projects: Ext JS, a desktop Ajax framework, jQTouch a jQuery library for touch applications, and Raphael, an SVG library.

Sencha received funding from Sequoia Capital and Radar Partners.

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Jafco Ventures

JAFCO Ventures is an independent venture capital firm investing in emerging technology companies with true breakout potential. They look for exceptional companies with differentiated technology and compelling business models. Given their close relationship among all the leading venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, it is an investment requirement at their firm to co-invest in every deal with top-tier venture investors to help validate the opportunity and bring to their portfolio of companies the collective expertise needed to help assure…

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Sequoia Capital

Sequoia Capital is a venture capital firm founded by Don Valentine in 1972. The Wall Street Journal has called Sequoia Capital “one of the highest-caliber venture firms” and noted that it is “one of Silicon Valley’s most influential venture-capital firms”. It invests between $100,000 and $1 million in seed stage, between $1 million and $10 million in early stage, and between $10 million and $100 million in growth stage.

The firm has offices in the U.S., China, India and…

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Radar Partners

Radar Partners is a principal investment firm. The firm seeks to invest in non-technology companies.

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Sencha Raises $15 Million For Their HTML5 App Development Tools