This special edition of Shadow news is brought to you by Luc, community lead and Thomas, lead iOS dev. They will be talking about the future of Shadow with iOS and the WWDC20.
I) Who is Thomas and what’s his vision of the future of Shadow with iOS?
1)Thomas, lead iOS dev
Thomas has been developing mobile applications for around 6 years and 2 years ago he started working at Shadow as an iOS and tvOS developer. At the time, there was no real iOS application, apart from the one in testflight.
His first task was to create an iOS app that would get approved on the Appstore. He then worked with the desktop apps teams, unifying all the code so that mobile apps would get the same feature as their desktop counterpart. Now that this part is almost done he and his team are working on the user experience and the accessibility of the applications.
2) His vision
Luc: What are your thought about the developer conference and do you watch it every year?
Thomas: Yes, of course, I watch it every year. It really is important to iOS developers because it is where you learn there what you will do for the next year, after that, they release new features and you work the rest of the year to implement them for your users! For most people, it’s just one night every year and for us, iOS developers, it’s a full week of videos, thought process, and many other things that we can get/do to better understand how to implement all these new features in the future. It’s a bit like Christmas for us!
Luc: What attracted you the most in this year’s conference?
Thomas: For this year, it really is difficult to say because there is a lot that could be interesting and useful for Shadow. I’m most interested in the new mac and also the widgets they are bringing because maybe there is something we could do with that in the future? But overall, everything that is related to Shadow is amazing for us and for the iOS users, it will be a huge improvements in the future !
After this, Luc and Thomas talk in detail about what the conference might bring for iOS users in the future. You can find out more about it in this blog article here.
II) Q & A
Q: Is there a timeline for when cursor lock will be rolled out?
A: So far when I try to plug my mouse to the iPad, it crashes. So, no timeline for now.
Q: Will you fully support the magic keyboard (including gesture support)?
A: I think we will definitely be able to do something with that.
Q: Did anything change for TV OS this year?
A: Yeah we did a huge release in test flight (around 2 weeks ago) where we implemented the TV OS did not have so far such as display management, extended controller support, etc. It is getting really close to the iOS and IPad apps.
Q: Are there any block or hurdles for you in the future regarding the AppleTV apps?
A: Well the main problem of the Apple TV is its hardware. I tested some, the decoding is not great. There are a lot of stuttering. It’s not really fun to play on it at the moment and we really hope that in September they will announce a new AppleTV with a new Chip in it. It might then be more efficient in decoding and I hope this will improve the experience on it.
Q: Will the iOS and MacOs projects ever be merged? Apple is shifting to its own silicon and will this support natively iOS and iPadOS applications?
A: I don’t think the iOS and MacOS projects will be merged because there are features that are only available on MacOS and that I cannot develop on iOS (for example, USB over IP is not allowed on iOS). But, at the moment, just so everyone knows, the code of the renderer and the streamer is the exact same between the two apps. So it’s almost merged but not fully.
Q: For people who like to draw and are designers, do you foresee any pencil or scribble support so that Shadow identifies and recognizes the input while we are drawing?
A: We will definitely do something about that. Although, it might not be the first thing we will develop ^^.
Q: Will we see any local or Bluetooth microphones support?
A: Yes, we will support it. I have almost everything ready for that but it just needs some more testing!
Q: How many people are there in the iOS development team currently at Shadow?
A: There are two devs (including me) but most of our code is shared with the rest of the applications with C++ being a big part of it (with many more peoples working on it). For the UI/Launcher part, it is mainly my work.
Q: Will you port the iPad app on the ARM mac?
A: It should work out of the box even though we might need to build it for it.
Q: What features do you plan to bring from the Windows and macOS app to the iOS app?
A: We already imported the display management and the microphone will be coming soon. These are the most important features for the users at the moment I think.
Q: Do you expect a feature on iOS that is not possible on Androïd?
A: Quite the opposite actually as Andoïd is more open than iOS. Every feature on iOS can be on Androïd, but the other way around is not possible!
Q: What inspired you to choose iOS over other OS’?
A: At first, I was more of an Androïd developer. Six years ago, I had to develop on iOS for a mission and I really started to like it as developing apps on Androïd was much messier at the time, compared to iOS.
Q: Any new on multitasking on the iPad with the 1/3 & 2/3 split-view offset?
A: I think we will definitely develop this feature because it will be linked with the new widgets system of Apple that they announced for iOS 14. I think we need to resize the view to the correct resolution on the VM and we will definitely do that with the widget and it will be also available for me to test it.
Q: Are you happy with the feedbacks from the users and the number of users on Shadow for iOS?
A: It’s quite cool and helpful actually because I have many feedbacks on testflight. I have checked this morning, I got around 150 feedbacks from the last release I’ve done a week ago so it’s really cool to read all of these feedbacks, understand everything and be able to tell the product teams “Hey, many users are asking for this feature. Maybe we should consider it”. So yes it’s quite cool.
As for the number of users on iOS it’s been great for the past month, representing around 10% of all Shadow users. With iOS (and maybe Adnroïd too) getting new features it will probably be even better in the future.
Q: Will testflight users be able to test the mouse and keyboard features (so it will be ready for launch)?
A: For now, I’m still stuck with the cursor lock crashing the iPad. But, yeah it will be ready for iOS 14 launch in September and maybe a little bit before on testflight.
Q: Did the removal of the iOS app from the Appstore had any effects (positives or negatives) on the iOS devs?
A: Well, when Loïc (my product manager) came to tell me that the app was gone and there was nothing we could do about it at the time, it was really tough. Then, I was able to do many rewritings of the code and development on the app (to get it more stable for example) while it was off the store without having to consider the current version (because obviously there was none). We were quite free with the development so it was tough but also very cool!
Q: What do you think about the Appstore and to you have any apprehension about the app being removed from it again?
A: I don’t think so. During the conference, they announced that they were allowing companies to contest some Apple guidelines on a case to case basis. So we’ll see in the future if that allows us to add the game list feature, for example, that was there before the withdrawal of the app.