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We’ve been in a slightly awkward place with macOS software development for a while now. AppKit is the rock-solid, dependable choice that you can definitely make a Mac-assed Mac app with. SwiftUI on the Mac is the future, but it still feels like that future isn’t quite here yet because while it’s possible to write a macOS app using only SwiftUI, you’ll make plenty of compromises when you do. Then, there’s Catalyst.

People had wished for “UIKit on the Mac” for a long time before Apple announced Catalyst, but it had an awkward start as it was announced directly alongside SwiftUI. It was like trying to tempt a child with a sandwich when there’s a massive cake on the kitchen counter behind them. It’s a nice sandwich, and everyone likes sandwiches, but it’s not cake. 😂

Steve Troughton-Smith is probably the most well-known advocate of Catalyst, using it for several of his apps and creating a large amount of excellent sample code over the last few years. Of course, it’s not a perfect framework, though, so it was interesting to see him write his thoughts on what could be improved this week. There’s plenty Apple could do, but even so, he still ends on a positive note:

Mac Catalyst is in a great place; it has improved substantially every year since its introduction, and for most developers it is by far the best way to build great Mac-like Universal apps that run across iPhone, iPad and Mac.

It’s all too easy to dismiss Catalyst in these days of SwiftUI, but I’d take Steve’s advice and seriously consider it if you’re thinking of bringing an app to macOS, even if you’re not converting from an iOS app.

Dave Verwer

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And finally...

Let's finish this week with a trip back through the history of Xcode!