Where do you save preferences?

Richard Gaskin ambassador at fourthworld.com
Mon Jun 18 15:26:14 EDT 2012

Peter Haworth wrote:

> I don't know what the deal is with the HIG but the guidelines for the MAS
> make it very clear that if your app writes to any location other than the
> sanctioned ones, the app will be rejected.  So as far as MAS is concerned,
> you can't write to the Preferences folder, doesn't matter what method you
> use.

It seems the difference lies in what the definition of "writing a file" is.

The Preferences folder hasn't gone away.  Indeed Apple's own apps, and a 
great many in the MAS, continue to use it as described in the HIG.

What's new is that your app doesn't "write" there per se.  Apple is now 
requiring that the OS write there on your behalf, using either the 
theNSUserDefaults Cocoa class or the CFPreferences API.

At face value this seems silly, since of course being able to write a 
file to a given location isn't exactly rocket science truly requiring 
OS-level support.

The Preferences folder has been faithfully used in conformance with 
Apple's guidelines since the earliest days of the platform, and since 
they continue to use it themselves there doesn't seem to be much of a 
problem with regard to "consistency of the user experience".

In fact, using the Application Support folder for what their HIG says 
should be in the Preferences folder is far *less* consistent with what 
users have come to expect about where prefs are stored.

All this boils down to:

Why does Apple feels the need to wrest control of the preferences file 
format away from app developers?

...which raises other questions, like:

Exactly how is this any sort of user benefit, while the Application 
Support folder remains available for an app to do with as they please?

Will they shut down the Application Support folder too?

Will they eventually forbid all custom file formats, limiting devs to 
using Cocoa to write all files?

...and perhaps the simplest question of all:

Why don't they just assign our app a folder in Prefs and let us use our 
own formats there?

Ah, the mysteries of Apple.

"If it's Tuesday it must be a new SDK license requirement...."

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World
  LiveCode training and consulting: http://www.fourthworld.com
  Webzine for LiveCode developers: http://www.LiveCodeJournal.com
  Follow me on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/FourthWorldSys

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