Tides Everywhere!

Tides Everywhere!

Apple in iOS14 has introduced Widgets, a way of showing information on the iPhone that doesn't require you to swipe over to the Today view. In fact, the Today view is gone and the existing tide widget (lower-case w) is removed from AyeTides.

The replacement Widget (capital-W) is meant to show information on any page of the iPhone. They come in three sizes, small, medium, and large. At first we thought we could simply port our existing Today widget over, and indeed most of the work has been done. We had to abandon it, however.

It turns out that Apple has restricted the ability of a Widget to update itself. Before, the widget would run as long as the Today view was visible. This worked out well for us, as we could update the tide value minute-by-minute and show you the correct tide. With Widgets, we have to have a timeline of when the Widget will request time to update itself. We didn't see this as a problem, until we found out that the maximum number of updates is strictly limited. No more than about once every 15 minutes can our Widget run, or the system will stop giving it any time at all. The tides would be at best 15 minutes out of date, and possibly longer. Also, Apple makes no guarantees on when the Widget will update. It's all up to the iPhone.

In our tests, we could not get the Widget to continue to update for very long. After a while, the period of which was random, the Widget would cease to update and the tide values would be way out of date. We feel that this is a very poor way of showing the tides, as a lot can happen in 15 minutes - and a lot more when the Widget stops working.

Rather than have our users complain about (and give poor reviews for) the Widget, we've decided to stop developing the tide Widget that we had planned. Now we have more time to develop AyeTides on the watch instead. We'll be able to leverage much of the Widget technology, without having the issues of the Widget.