Catalyst’s Glaring Shortcomings

Speaking of James Thomson, he’s written a short piece on his experience porting his Dice by PCalc app from iOS to Mac using Catalyst:

Some user interface elements like the spinning carousel pickers felt especially out-of-place, and unintuitive — you can’t click and drag on them to change the value, you have to use a scroll wheel/gesture.

The nearest equivalent on the Mac would be something like a popup menu button. But there’s no popup menu button on iOS, so I have resorted to writing my own — and that is one of the classic blunders.

It’s the kind of thing that Apple should supply as standard, but I get the feeling they just ran out of time. The OS releases don’t seem to have gone very smoothly in general, from my outside perspective.

I don’t buy the “ran out of time” excuse. Catalyst has had this particular problem — touch-based spinners in place of pop-up menus — since 10.14 Mojave last year. It’s madness. Has there ever been a GUI toolkit for any mouse-pointer-based platform that didn’t offer pop-up menus as a standard control? Mac, Windows, Motif, Amiga, all the various toolkits for Unix X11 systems — they all had pop-up menus. Catalyst is the only GUI toolkit in history that doesn’t have them. Catalyst remains woefully incomplete and woefully under-documented. (No share sheets? I get it, it would be a lot of work on Apple’s part to bridge iOS’s robust share sheets with MacOS’s rather anemic ones — but that’s Apple’s job.)

The Mac version of Dice looks like a great Mac app for dice-rolling. But it’s absurd that Thomson had to write his own pop-up menu controls to do it.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019