Blog Series: TableFlip's NSDocument File Type Issues and Fixes

This is an overview of a short series of posts I wrote about TableFlip’s 2020 bug. People were getting a “You don’t have permissions” error, a Sandboxing error, when they worked with .txt files, but not with .md files, even though the app treated them the same. The issue boiled down to a misconfiguration on my side that went by unnoticed until I enabled Sandboxing. I was wrongly defining document types in the app’s Info.plist, and I was reporting supported file types in the NSDocument subclass in a manner that didn’t work out well.

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Observations of the Curious Problem of NSDocument-Based App Changing the File Extension

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Users have reported problems with TableFlip saving their files recently. One wrote about it in the Zettelkasten forums, if you want to see the problem in context. To reproduce the problem: when you open foo.txt in TableFlip and a text editor, then change the file in the editor rapidly, TableFlip would show a “You don’t have permissions” error once you tried to save changes from TableFlip later.

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TableFlip Mac App Store Experiment Stats: Sources

Here’s some more background info for indie devs. To follow up the release of TableFlip on the Mac App Store and me noticing that yes, people buy the app without any marketing, I wanted to share sales origin stats today: according to the available data collected by the App Store, 100% of purchases were made after a search inside the Mac App Store so far.

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TableFlip Is Now Available on the Mac App Store

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TableFlip is now available on the Mac App Store!

I also released updates to the non-Mac App Store version that fix CSV editing problems and improve the user interface. Of course both versions have the same features, so you’re not missing out on anything if you only own one version.

The app store page is a feast for the eyes. There’s a demo video (I already know how I can improve it a lot with the next update), Zebras, and lovely icy mountains.

Please share the news to help the app get traction. That would be super helpful!

TableFlip Launches

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I pushed the button. Now TableFlip is here! TableFlip is a text-based visual table editor. It will become your go-to application to edit tabular data because it’s blazingly fast, lightweight, and fun to use. You can use it to quickly create tables from scratch and copy the result anywhere – or you can use it to edit tables in existing documents. That’s what “flipping” stands for:

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TableFlip Will Be Released in October!

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It is time to go public: I’ll release TableFlip in October. Sign up for the release notification: http://tableflipapp.com/ Much love goes out to my beta testers! ❤️ You are great! I didn’t anticipate that we’d have so many discussions. Thanks for all your amazing feedback so far. The past 12 weeks were wild; now it’s time to calm down a bit and make things right.

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Conflicting Mental Models in TableFlip's Interface Design

A beta tester of TableFlip suggested I make the table grow automatically when one navigates to the edge of the table and presses the arrow key in direction of the edge. I am conflicted about this proposal. On one hand, being able to grow the table easily is important. Spreadsheet applications usually present you with an infinite canvas. This is behavior people know (and maybe even expect).

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Separating ReSwift Actions from UI Events

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Today was the second time during the development of TableFlip that I started to implement a new feature in the wrong way: starting with an explicit event type that is triggered by pressing a button in the user interface. This is a 1:1 mapping of user intent to an event that performs changes in the model. Next time I’ll start from another point of view instead to not rush too many minuscule changes until I hit a roadblock and hate myself. Here’s what went wrong.

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TableFlip Closed Beta Invitations

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screenshot of TableFlip
TableFlip’s current beta interface

I’ll send out a beta invitation to everybody on the TableFlip Newsletter this week. If you want to help me find quirks in the app and overall make it more usable, this is your chance!

Everyone who reports an issue will get a free license when the beta ends. Also, I’ll invite interested folks in batches, so you may not get your hands on the app this time but maybe in 2 weeks.

Join the Beta List

Tell your friends and in general everybody who’s using Markdown and/or deals with lots of tabular data in their work.

Announcing TableFlip

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I’d like to officially announce my next project: TableFlip. Open any Markdown file with TableFlip and you can visually edit the tabular data included. Save and the Markdown file is updated. It’s that simple. It’s also Markdown-aware simple table data editing app. It’s fast and lean and pretty. No need to fire up monstrosities like Excel for Mac or even Apple’s own Numbers to edit simple data that naturally fits the 2D-arrangement of a table.

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