What’s New

 

Site updated.

More changes to the YENCO.COM website. It now supports dark mode! Simply change the appearance settings on your device (Mac, iPad, iPhone, etc.) and then reload the page and watch as it automatically displays the correct theme. I also updated the social media cards to look better if you share a link (thank you) to any page of the site on Facebook, Twitter, Spoutible, etc.

App updates.

I’m still learning a lot about SwiftUI. When I started working on my first SwiftUI-based versions of iKeeper I had a lot of questions about Core Data. I figured out most of them and found a reliable way to work with the data thanks to Paul Hudson’s “100 Days Of SwiftUI” course and his “Hacking with macOS: SwiftUI Edition” book, and with help from Apple itself in one-on-one sessions at WWDC. As I was finishing up work on my first SwiftUI-based versions of Finance, Mark Moeykens over at Big Mountain Studio released his excellent visual guide “Core Data Mastery in SwiftUI” and with that came some new insights into Core Data and some newer (and better) ways of organizing my code and working with the data in my apps.

Unfortunately I had already written all of iKeeper and most of Finance prior to that knowledge and didn’t want to delay releasing the Finance app. Plus the code I had was working fine and I was extremely nervous about ripping it out of my projects and throwing in something else at the last minute (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it).

The SwiftUI-based versions of Finance and iKeeper have been out for some time now (Thank you to everyone for checking them out and supporting my efforts. It is greatly appreciated). With that, my attention has turned to refining existing features and adding more to my apps. But before working on any new features that need to interact with the data in a variety of ways, I want to make sure I’m handling the data in the best way I can. So I decided to revisit this. As I said, I was extremely nervous about ripping out perfectly valid working code. My apps are databases so changing around something so fundamental to managing the data touches on a lot of areas in my code. I started to envision all the collateral damage this could cause. If only there were some sort of safety net where one could freely rip apart their code and work on it knowing that if they messed things up so bad they couldn’t fix it, they could easily restore a project back to its prior working state (to try again, or to stick with what was working).

Fortunately, Paul Hudson pointed out to me that, not only is there is such a thing, but he had a book all about it. What I needed was to put my projects under source control with Git. Between Paul’s “Beyond Code” book (which covers Git in detail - but only via the Terminal app) and an article I found by Bruno Lorenzo over on Medium (covering using Git within the latest version of Xcode), I finally got my projects set up with source control and was able to create a new branch (my safety net) to work on my projects without worry. It worked great!

I released an iKeeper update at the end of last year. The end result for users was an app that looks and feels exactly the same (and that’s a good thing because it means I got it right). For me, the Xcode project is now easier to navigate and the code is more directly interacting with Core Data and removes an added layer of complexity that wasn’t really needed and provides a better foundation going forward. There is a slight decrease in the size of the app as a result - and that might even translate to a slight decrease in processor and memory usage and a very slight increase in speed. The macOS version update also fixed a minor visual user interface glitch I missed in the previous update.

I was working on a similar update for Finance but then the holidays happened and just as they passed and things started to return to normal so I could get back to work on the project, a bunch of other events conspired against me including a bout with COVID-19. Things finally did return to normal (or what passes for normal around here) and I have been working hard on Finance.

I’m happy to announce that I just submitted Finance 9.0.2 for macOS (1.0.2 for iOS & iPadOS) to the App Store. Like the recent iKeeper update, the end result is an app that has the same look and feel but is greatly improved behind-the-scenes and more efficient. I also fixed a couple of small bugs I came across and improved the app theme color contrast a bit (especially in light mode). While I was wrapping things up, I also noticed a couple of areas in my iKeeper code that I had neglected to improve with the prior update. Nothing major, but enough to merit another update, so I’ve also submitted iKeeper 6.0.5 for macOS (1.0.7 for iOS & iPadOS) to Apple. All of the updates should be available soon.

Going forward, there are new features I want to add to my apps but they will require some time and experimentation to figure out. Paul and Mark have also been very busy and released updates to their excellent books explaining how to use the latest features that Apple added to SwiftUI. Many of the new features require moving minimum support to macOS 14 and iOS & iPadOS 17 (I’m not ready to do that yet with my apps) but I am still excited to read through the updated books so I can learn more about the changes in SwiftUI and factor that in when making future plans for my apps.

Brand new music section and releases added to YENCO.COM!

While working on my apps, I often need to take a break from writing code or working through the user interface design and I wander over to my Yamaha PSR-S770 keyboard and play some original instrumental pop music. Sometimes I come up with new song ideas, other times I play some of my older songs. I’ve been doing this for years. In fact, I recently wrote my 100th song! But up until now I’ve never mentioned this hobby on my website and just posted my music on SoundCloud and only told family and some friends via social media. That changes now! I’m really excited to announce that I am promoting my music in a brand new section right here on the YENCO.COM site!

I recently released the new versions of my Finance and iKeeper apps and had a bit more time to get into GarageBand and record multi-track versions of 10 brand new instrumental songs (in an AꓭBA / Benny Andersson inspired style) that I wrote over the last couple of years. I’m very happy with how well they turned out, so happy that I decided to even go back and remaster, remix, and re-record parts of my last five singles from 2020 and 2021 and they now sound better than ever! I hope to even go back and do this with all of my previous albums and singles at some point.

My new 2023 album: “Journey” with 10 brand new instrumental songs is now available! It includes “Wonderful Memories”, “Journey”, “At The Fair”, “When I Think Of You”, “All My Love”, “The Story Has Only Begun”, “Standing In The Rain”, “Heartbreak”, “Lonely Nights”, and (my 100th song) “Give It My All”! 

I hope you enjoy my music as much as I enjoy creating it. If you do and would like to help support my efforts, I’ve added a button in the Music section of this site (or there is also one on SoundCloud) to leave a tip via PayPal. No amount is too large or too small. Every bit helps and is greatly appreciated.

Finally, for anyone wondering what this means for my app development, there is no change at all. Work continues on updates for my apps as usual.