Daring Fireball Strikes OpenClip and iPhone Cut and Paste

We recently covered the new OpenClip project, and expansion of what was first demonstrated with MagicPad, and we liked both their implementation and their moxy in trying to pip Apple to the cut and paste post. Not everyone was as entirely impressed as us, however. John Gruber of Daring Fireball questioned whether or not the developers were really respecting the App Store SDK agreement. Since OpenClip aware applications write to their own sandbox'd Documents directory, but read the last-modified chunk from other applications Documents directory, Gruber considers it more of a loophole, and cites Apple's iPhone OS Programming Guide:

Not simply that no other application can write to, but which no other application can access. That this restriction is not yet enforced at a technical level (such as is the case with an app attempting to write outside its own sandbox) does not mean it’s permitted.

Worse yet, Gruber points out that the current Beta 4 of the upcoming 2.1 firmware DOES enforce complete denial-of-access to other application's Documents directory:

The OpenClip demo apps, which work as advertised on iPhone OS 2.0.2, do not work in the current 2.1 beta, because apps are no longer able to read or even see other apps’ sandboxes.3 To be clear, this change is clearly not in response to OpenClip; Apple began seeding the 2.1 betas with these tightened sandbox restrictions before OpenClip debuted, and the iPhone OS Programming Guide has stated all along that apps can’t “access” the contents of other sandboxes.

However, I'm not entirely certain any of that matters. OpenClip, based on my understanding, was never intended to be a long-term solution, merely a proof-of-concept to show that cut, copy, and paste could be done in an elegant manner on the iPhone, to keep a spotlight on the continued lack of cut, copy, and paste support from Apple, and to encourage the discussion of the issue and implementation.

In that regard, I think they've already succeeded.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Daring Fireball Strikes OpenClip and iPhone Cut and Paste


Agreed-the App has made its point. Now it is time for Apple to build the feature into the phone (as soon as it sorts out the current firmware issues).

regular phone or smartphone this is a past and temporary distinction
iphone has now the defined the mobile phone market as smart phones there won't be anything else
by this i mean with the iphone price dropping, along with the cost of technology and the line expansion from apple into cheaper 'baby' smart iphones they will be so affordable that regular phones will be relegated to the pay as you go stuff
apple has created this new space and has a monoploy in it great for shareholders and the market hasnt figured it out yet
you all are fans (as am i) so no need to point out the different markets and feature sets this new mobile platform intergrates to near perfection

How do you function without cut and paste? I am in Real Estate and the other day a client asked me if I knew of any home inspectors. I have at least seven in my contacts database - BUT first of all, I can’t search for them and since you can’t categorize your contacts, there is no other solution but to page through my 984 contacts and hope I recognize them by their last name. Pretty slick Jobsey. BUT wait, there’s more, now I have found three of them, how do I get the info to my client?? Well it s simple, I get out a note pad and write down the information about the three contacts I was able to find, then I write them again into an email on my iphone. Pretty slick eh? One helluva a great business "smart phone".
Phooey!! Gimme back my blackberry. Its not as pretty, but at least it gets the job done.

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