Apple Rejects TextExpander Touch For Sharing Snippets The Wrong Way

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Smile software’s TextExpander Touch has used hacks to get around the lack of inter-app communication on iOS, but now Apple has stepped in to end the parade. Smile has been told to stop using the Reminders database to store your snippets and figure out some other way to share your data with other apps.

Apple won’t approve any updates until this is done, and third-party apps using the TextExpander SDK may also suffer the same fate.

TextExpander is the essential app that lets you type a few letters and have them magically expand into words, sentences, paragraphs and even entire fill-in forms. On OS X it’s easy for the app to run in the background and do its stuff whenever you type a trigger, but on iOS, Smile has had to work around the app sandboxing by using a special shared clipboard. This option was removed in iOS 7, so Smile now uses Reminders to store data so that any other app can read it.

Apple says that this is not the proper use for Reminders, so Smile has to come up with a quick fix. Dropbox is apparently out, as apps are sandboxed there, too. A purpose-made web service seems to be the best answer, but that will take a while. In the meantime, it seems the X-Callback URLs will save the day:

Our only alternative appears to be providing TextExpander data via x-callback-url. User action will be required to acquire and update snippet data. Each app will have its own copy of the TextExpander data, which will not sync automatically with user updates made in the TextExpander touch app. It’s not ideal, but it is within the App Store Review Guidelines. It also means users won’t lose TextExpander touch support in your app

I’ve been hoping for some kind of inter-app communication standard to be added by Apple for a while now, but I guess that it may never be coming. It looks like the way Apple wants you to share your data is via the internet, which is fine I guess. And remember, Apple is the company that thought an acceptable way to share documents between the iOS and OS X instances of iWork was to constantly mail new copies to ourselves, back and forth.

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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