Live Activities (and Bad Apple)

I recently got nerd sniped by this tweet from Zhuowei Zhang about playing the Bad Apple video in the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro. His original implementation used a webpage and the media session API, and this worked, but the system plays an animation when the artwork changes, so the framerate was limited to 2 FPS. Not ideal for watching a video. So, I wanted to see how much closer to watchable I could get.

This post isn’t going to be a detailed guide or anything, just a collection of some mildly interesting things I learned.

LiveView Native

I’m very excited for the project I’ve been working on all year to finally be public. LiveView Native is a library that lets you build native apps backed by Phoenix LiveView. I’ve been developing the iOS client which is backed by SwiftUI.

Using LiveView Native lets avoid duplicating business logic on the frontend and save time on implementing dedicated APIs for native apps. The iOS client can be integrated into any existing app by using a single SwiftUI view, so it’s easy to adopt it for just a single screen at a time.

You can find the documentation[1] for the Swift package here, including a step-by-step tutorial which walks you through building a complete app with LiveView Native.

We’ve also developed a simple chat app which was used by the attendees of ElixirConf this year, and serves as a complete example of a LiveView Native app.

I’m very excited to see what people build with it.


  1. This is the first time I’ve used DocC and it has been largely excellent. It’s made it very easy to produce nice-looking and well-organized documentation. And the tutorial mechanism has been very useful. ↩︎

Adopting TextKit 2

With iOS 16, Apple switched on TextKit 2 for UITextViews. But, if you access any of the TextKit 1 objects on the text view, it will automatically fall back to a compatibility mode. All of the work I did to mimic Safari’s link context menu animation was, of course, using the TextKit 1 APIs, so it was blocking me from fully adopting TextKit 2. So, here’s how to update that code.

Clarus Returns Home

Susan Kare's pixel art dogcow icon The high resolution dogcow icon that ships with macOS Ventura
How it started / How it's going

Did you know that with macOS Ventura, Clarus the Dogcow has at long last returned home? Recently, while doing something else, I accidentally hit Cmd+Shift+P which opened the Page Setup dialog. I was greeted, surprisingly, with a new high-resolution version of the classic Clarus icon that I’d never seen before. I looked at it briefly, and then closed the dialog and went back to whatever I was doing before. I had assumed that because I’d been in a 3rd-party app at the time, that the Clarus icon was just some easter egg the developer had left. But a little while later, I got to thinking. What were the chances that someone went to the trouble of customizing the Page Setup dialog, of all things, just for an easter egg? Zero, it turns out. That dialog shows Clarus on the page preview in every app.