Application Sandboxing

Just to follow up on my previous post that mentioned sandboxing, if you follow the Mac news, then you’re probably already aware that Apple gave developers (and dare I say it, users) a reprieve on sandboxing until next March.

Considering I had spent the last two months working on it and had already wrapped up the work on Together and Feeder on Oct 28, you might think I’d be pretty peeved, but I’m not, because sandboxing sucks.

I won’t be releasing sandboxed versions of Together or Feeder on the Mac App Store until it’s a requirement, because the apps will lose certain capabilities that I know people appreciate and to some extent define the usability of the app. Things you really take for granted, like the ability to store your files wherever you please. Poster isn’t too badly affected by sandboxing, mostly because it’s a fairly straightforward app, and I have already been forced to change certain things so it behaves as though it is sandboxed.

If you know how sandboxing works, it won’t take you long to work out that, in its current form, it is incompatible with some of Apple’s own apps on the Mac App Store, such as Final Cut Pro. Quite how Apple is going to resolve the situation is unknown.

For now, be aware that if you purchase apps from the Mac App Store — any app, not just my own — it is possible Apple can dream up new rules that could hobble the functionality of those apps in the name of security or anything else at any time, whether or not they ultimately choose to go ahead with sandboxing.

It’s my personal opinion that, while some of the ideas of sandboxing are good, others are just not worth the compromises, even sacrifices, that must be made, and the concept was not well thought through. I know I’m not alone in this view, so let’s hope Apple can take a more moderate approach that will work well for everyone.

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