Gve me that catalyst!

June 04, 2019

Tags: dev, mastodon, hyperspace, macos, ios, wwdc

Apple had their annual Wordwide Developers Conference yesterday, and I had the great pleasue of watching from the comfort of my bed* from start to finish, a first for me (someday, I’ll get to go there in-person and experience it all). There was so much there that blew my mind and really surprised me.

Of course, the cheese-grater Mac Pro took the audience by storm and definitely looks up to be a decent machine in the Mac lineup. tvOS also got some improvements that made sense, and the Watch got some notable improvements, though I don’t really care as much. Given that I use iOS and macOS on a regular basis, I definitely got excited at all of the new things coming this year (I’m test-driving out macOS Catalina as I type this). For one thing, the new iPadOS caught me off-gaurd, but it’s a well-deserved update to Apple’s tablet lineup that finally gives it computer-like powers while offering the simplicity and innovations from iOS.

Project Catalyst Stocks app

However, one of Apple’s announcement is really sticking with me, and that’s the new Project Catalyst. Project Catalyst (formerly known as Project Marzipan, sort of?) is a means of creating truly cross-platform apps for iOS and macOS (and I guess iPadOS now 😂) by bridging the iPad version over to the Mac with a new framework. We already had seen this last year (in preview) with the News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home apps on macOS Mojave, and those apps had mixed reviews. Personally, I really enjoy the News app and what Voice Memos offers now. Apple’s giving it another go with an updated version that makes it that much closer; during the keynote, developers got to see the upcoming Jira Cloud app that uses Catalyst.

Giving Hyperspace a catalyst

Hyperspace 1.0 beta on macOS Mojave

But first, an update to the Hyperspace story. Since my last post here, I talked about how I started a new client for Mastodon on the desktop called Hyperspace. Since that post, a lot has happened; I’ve amassed a team of three and have been working on a new exciting version of Hyperspace, Hyperspace 1.0. Hyperspace is also now available in the Mac App Store, which is really exciting for me since I’ve finally managed to get myself in there (although it wasn’t as predicted). I finally opened the Patreon account, too, and it’s somewhat successful. The best part is that Hyperspace is seemingly a really popular client, and probably one of the most popular projects I’ve ever done, period. It’s one of the most popular snaps I’ve published as well, and it has been staying in the ‘Featured’ section for some time now.

As with anything programming-related, I get excited when I have a chance to try something out and use it in my projects, if not creating a new one from scratch. Personally, I’m rather excited to get my hands on this new Project Catalyst technology to work on creating a new version of Hyperspace for macOS, iPadOS, and iOS (at least as an experiment). Although the 1.0 beta is nice, the Hyperspace team does have plans to make a splash in mobile, and I want to keep my Swift skills up-to-date besides rewriting my computer science assignments.

However, the question of what happens with the current desktop app on the Mac will inevitably rise up, and to that, I say this: it’s not going anywhere. If I decide to try out Project Catalyst with the Hyperspace project, that project will be its own separate thing; I’d probably call it “Hypersace CE” or something… Naming aside, I want to stress the fact that Hyperspace will continue to be the most awesome fluffy client for the fediverse as it is, and no Catalyst experiment is going to stop that.

That being said, this will definitely be probably the first time Hyperspace makes it in the mobile space without being a progressive web app (PWA). We’ll have to see where it goes from there, but I think this will be a great start. I’m really excited to get ‘down and dirty’ with Project Catalyst.