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iOS 7 and 5 Plans

iOS 7 is just around the corner, so I wanted to give a quick update on what our plans are for supporting iOS 7.

Our apps have been tested on and support iOS 7 now, and will be enhanced to add support for new iOS 7 features through free updates.  We're working on this now, and plan to have updates in the App Store around when iOS 7 ships.

Some developers are planning to use iOS 7 as an opportunity to release updates as new paid apps, and I just wanted to announce that we do not plan to do this.  iOS 7 support and enhancements will be free.

iOS 5 support, on the other hand, will be coming to an end in the near future. 

There are a number of bugs in iOS 5 that users run into, and that will never be fixed.  Most of the crash reports I receive are from users running iOS 5.   A tiny percentage of our apps are bought by iOS 5 users, and these users have a disproportionately poor experience due to these old bugs.  

Older versions of our apps will continue to work on iOS 5, but new versions will be iOS 6 or iOS 7.  I realise this leaves the original iPad behind, and this makes me a little bit sad because it was such a beautiful, groundbreaking device.  But it's time to move on.

 

Resume Designer Issues

There are two problems that have plagued Resume Designer for a long time now. 

The first is a crash when trying to send mail.  This happens for a very small number of users. I'd guess less than 1 in 1000 based on the number of support questions I get, but it's obviously a huge problem for the people it does affect.

And the second is that for some users, when performing the initial iCloud sync, the app simply hangs.

I haven't been able to reproduce either of these problems, which has made it impossible for me to track down what's going on.

The good news is there's an easy fix for both of these:  Restart your iPhone or iPad. 

I hate offering this as a solution, but unfortunately, it works. 

iOS is designed so that an application should not be able to affect the system in such a way that a device restart would ever be necessary to clear up a problem, so I suspect there is a bug in iOS that is causing these problems.  But until I can reproduce it here, suggesting a restart is all I can do. 

If you've run into these problems, I'm sorry.  I wish Apple provided a way for me to contact users who post App Store reviews that mention problems, but if you've found this post, then hopefully this will help.

MealSteps

MealPlan has always been about making the weekly task of planning meals as easy as possible.  A big part of meal planning is groceries, and I added that a couple of versions back.  Another part of meal planning is choosing meals.

MealPlan keeps track of meals you've added, and is really optimized for day-to-day meals that typically don't vary that much.  Around my home, we have 20 or so go-to meals that we reuse frequently, and we don't follow a recipe when making them.

But sometimes you do want to find a recipe and use it.  To help with this, MealPlan recently added a built-in web browser that you can use to find recipes, and a unique "Drag to Add" capsule that you can use to drag the recipe from the web browser right into a meal slot.

The least fun part about using MealPlan is when you've added a recipe, you need to add the groceries required for this recipe.  I've looked at attempting to parse the grocery list out of the web page, but that's an incredibly difficult problem.  

I'm tackling this problem from two angles.  

I've had a recipe database that I've been building and running for years, that I've just moved to a new home at mealsteps.com.  The MealSteps site has over a hundred thousand recipes that I've collected from various sources that identified them as public domain.  I've built up a list of rules and heuristics that I've applied to the recipes to extract ingredient and grocery lists, and have a sizeable subset of those recipes "tagged" with grocery lists.  

add-from-mealsteps.png

And I've integrated this right into MealPlan.  Now in MealPlan, when you use the web browser to find a recipe on the MealSteps site, and you drag that meal into MealPlan, it comes with a grocery list!  (That's what the paperclip on the "Drag to Add" capsule means).

This is great if you can find the recipe you want on MealSteps, but I don't expect you to use MealSteps to find all your recipes.  You can still find a recipe online anywhere and drag it into MealPlan, or type in your own recipes.  And when you do, MealPlan will now be able to share that data with the MealSteps site, so that other folks can benefit from the work you put into adding a grocery list for that recipe.

These new features don't get in the way at all of the core workflow, which is still as streamlined as it always was.  But for those cases where you need to find a recipe online, this can be a significant time saver.

I can't promise a release date yet but this is coming soon.  If you have any comments please drop me a note, I'd love to hear what you think.

MealPlan 1.6 Released

A new version of MealPlan has just been released.  MealPlan 1.6 adds three significant features:

 Repeat Meal

Repeat Meal

Repeating Meals

An oft-requested feature, this lets you mark a meal as repeating every week.  When you turn on repeat, any future meals already configured will be removed and the current meal will repeat.  It will repeat until you tell it to stop repeating (by tapping the Repeat button again on the last day you want the meal to show up).

Meal Item List

In previous versions, when you added a meal item (like "Waffles") to your meal plan and defined some things like groceries or notes on that meal, the only way to get back to it was to find a meal slot where you'd used it and open it from there.

That wasn't very convenient.  So now there's a new "My Meal Items" tab when editing the meals for a day, that lets you see all the meal items you've defined.  There's a little magnifying glass next to each of them that will show you the details, and you can drag them into your meal plan from here.

Recipe Browser

This is something I've wanted since I started building MealPlan.  Now MealPlan has a built-in web browser that you can use to search Google or your favourite recipe sites for recipes, and you can drag those recipes right onto your meals.

Here's what this looks like:

meal-browser.png

See the little widget next to the address bar that says "Drag to Add"?  Drag that onto one of the meals and a meal item is created and added to that day, and the recipe link is associated with it.  A new pop-up browser lets you view the recipe links you've saved without having to leave the app to do it.

So that's MealPlan 1.6, available now in the App Store.  Go get it!