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Core Data Lab 2.4: SwiftData and Composite attributes

Version 2.4 of Core Data Lab contains new features largely based on new data storage API’s announced by Apple at WWDC23. The table view column configuration context menu has been redesigned, partly inspired by a few new NSTableView features in macOS 14. And as always, there is a pretty long list of small but useful new features and enhancements.

SwiftData vs Core Data

Apple announced at WWDC23 the long-awaited UISwift-oriented declarative data storage framework named SwiftData. Under the hood it’s not really completely new because it operates largely on top of Core Data. The data is stored in a SQLite database using the familiar Core Data structure.

The data model of a SwiftData project is based on Swift class files with a Model macro notation, instead of entities in a Core Data Object Model designer file. As a consequence of this, compiled SwiftData apps don’t have an embedded compiled Core Data Object Model. This makes it impossible for Core Data Lab to search for a matching database by comparing the model of a database with the embedded model of a Core Data app. Core Data Lab uses instead some sparsely documented conventions to determine the location of the database files for a given SwiftData app.

SwiftData support

The changes for SwiftData in Core Data Lab 2.4 adds support for:

  • Browsing and opening SwiftData apps and databases in the Simulator browser for iOS, iPadOS, tvOS and visionOS apps.
  • Detecting apps as SwiftData apps, including extraction of bundle and app group identifiers, necessary to find the related database files.
  • Finding the database of a selected SwiftData macOS app via the Search database function, based on default SwiftData file location conventions.

Core Data Lab 2.4

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Movie Explorer Pro 2.6: Enhanced searching, volume info

Movie Explorer Pro 2.6 is the result of a long development process and valuable input from a small group of helpful ‘power’ users.


Searching in Movie Explorer Pro has been dramatically improved by removing some old limitations and adding some new features:

  • Searching can now be combined with any filter in the sidebar. Or vice versa, when using a sidebar filter, you can add an extra filter by entering text in the search box. If you have used the search box a lot in the past, you may perhaps need some adoption time to the new behaviour. Previously the selection in the sidebar always changed to All Items when you started typing in the search box, now the selection in the sidebar remains unchanged.
  • New option Exact search for Movies and TV Shows view with support for * and ? wildcards. This new option can be found in the Advanced section of the Movie Explorer Pro settings.

Movie Explorer Pro 2.6

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Core Data Lab 2.4: Public TestFlight beta

Version 2.4 of Core Data Lab is the first app update from Betamagic preceded by a public beta distributed via TestFlight. The new features in this update are based on new data storage features announced by Apple at WWDC23. These features are currently also in beta, so any input from other developers to learn more how good or bad Core Data Lab interacts with these novelties is welcome.

SwiftData vs Core Data

This year Apple announced the long expected UISwift oriented declarative data storage framework named SwiftData. Under the hood it’s not really completely new because it operates largely on top of Core Data. In the current beta implementation of SwiftData, the data is always stored in a SQLite database using the familiar Core Data structure.

Core Data Lab 2.4

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News Explorer 1.20: Mastodon support

The main reason to release version 1.20 of News Explorer, instead of continuing to work at version 2.0, are the new subscription prices of Twitter for using their API. Previously the Twitter API was free, but now Elon Musk expects developers of news app like News Explorer to pay $42,000 per month or more. There are cheaper subscription tiers, but these are way too limited for News Explorer. Long story short, we are no longer able to support Twitter in News Explorer without going bankrupt. To partly fill this gap, we introduce native support for Mastodon in this update.

Two months ‘Pending Developer Release’

We started developing version 1.20 in Februari 2023, after receiving the first signals about the new Twitter API pricing plans. Version 1.20 was completed in early April. On April 14 all platform versions were approved by Apple. Since then the apps have been on standby with a ‘Pending Developer Release’ status. The Twitter integration continued to work much longer then we expected, and we didn’t want that to end that by releasing the new version. While returning from a short vacation on June 14 we received the first reports from customers about non-working Twitter feeds. Two months after the approval of Apple, we finally released version 1.20 on June 15, after a quick check to make sure the binaries still work on the current OS versions.

News Explorer 1.20

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Core Data Lab 2.3: Persistent column configurations

Version 2.3 of Core Data Lab features persistent column configurations for saved predicates, font size settings for grids, several predicate editor improvements, a few fixes and a lot of other enhancements.

Persistent column configurations

Often when working with predicates, you are only interested in a subset of the available columns, and not seldom you want them presented in a different order. Hiding and reordering columns was already possible in previous versions of Core Data Lab. Starting with this update, the selection, order and sorting of columns of the main data grid are now saved as part of a stored predicate within the Core Data Lab project, when you save a new predicate or when you adjust an existing saved predicate. The Grid view subsection of the View data section in the Core Data Lab Help contains detailed instructions how to change the position, visibility and sorting of columns.

Core Data Lab 2.3

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