July 21, 2023
It's been some time now since WWDC, but I was waiting to write a new update until I had finished my roll of film and could share this picture of Craig Federighi shredding on guitar at The Talk Show. Here it is in all its glory along with some brief updates on what's been going on with AltStore.
AltStore's WWDC Debut Quick Recap
Word on the street before WWDC was that sideloading might be announced as part of iOS 17. Hindsight definitely tells us that was a bit of a fantasy, but luckily John Gruber saved us by asking Craig (before the guitar shredding) if sideloading was being considered now that the EU was forcing Apple's hand. With some pain in his eyes, Craig simply said that they "were working with the EU" to comply. So at least there was that. Oh, also Riley did get in an audible "woo" for sideloading that Craig mistook as being for Android. Luckily a tweet was shared that captured this exact moment.
We also broke the news to many that Mail plug-ins would no longer be supported with the release of macOS Sonoma. AltStore's Mail plug-in has been used as a workaround for years to make sideloading possible for macOS users, and since plug-ins are rarely needed anymore, AltStore's plug-in is one of the few that are left. Because the Mail plug-in is so vital to us, we were one of the first ones to notice, and subsequently tweet about it. Articles such as this one from 9to5Mac referenced our tweet in publishing the news to the wider Apple community. We will have to get a whole new workaround ready for the public release of macOS Sonoma...
With sideloading being basically a footnote to a footnote at WWDC, we decided to turn our attention to the thing people were focused on - Apple's new toy. The Vision Pro simulator was an opportunity to share just how cool we think it will be to use sideloaded apps like Delta on visionOS. The initial idea was just to have multiple instances of Delta running at once to show off the different eras of Mario all on big screens. Everyone was already sharing screenshots of their apps running in the default living room, but we wanted to be a bit different and thought the museum offered a better home for Mario's Eras tour. The real eureka moment came when we decided to cover the paintings, which CultofMac called "a thematically resonant choice."
There are so many cool ideas we have to make playing retro games a unique experience with Apple's new toy, but it will probably take some time before we can get to those. Lots of sideloading things to prepare first.
I'm no web developer, but I did teach myself how to use Webflow so that I could redesign our website for AltStore. I was pretty proud of the results.
How to Make a Source for AltStore
The new website was also a chance to share with developers just how easy it is to distribute apps on AltStore. For those unfamiliar, a "source" is just a JSON text file that you host at a URL. When users type that URL in AltStore, all the apps specified by that source will become available for you to download. Now that we have a simple step-by-step guide, I'm hoping more developers will distribute their projects with AltStore.
Experimental Features on Delta
In my last post, I mentioned how Riley and I wanted to make better use of the open-source nature of our apps, so we came up with an idea to help us accept more contributions. Experimental Features was added in a recent beta update and is now accessible in Delta's settings for enabling community features. The point of this is to offer pro-users more technical features without overwhelming new users with a slew of foreign emulator settings. We built an entire contributing process for this, complete with documentation, and anyone with a little know-how can contribute whatever idea they have.