iPhone Copy/Paste Thoughts

A lot of people are clamoring for copy/paste functionality in the iPhone. It seems simple, but I think the implications are more wide ranging than just a simple copy/paste. I don’t think it’ll happen for a while and here’s why.
It seems that Cut/Copy/Paste in desktop applications has been around forever. I remember it being there on the MacPlus I used at the IIT computer lab back in 1986 - it was the greatest thing since sliced bread and it wowed those of us daring to use it.

One thing that comes with Cut/Copy/Paste is an undo system. You cut or paste a large section of text into a place where you didn’t want it: Are you going to type it all in again if you made a mistake? No! You’re going to select undo from the Edit menu so you don’t have to do all that work.

And that, my friends, I think is where having cut/copy/paste on the iPhone becomes extremely difficult. I don’t think implementing cut/copy/paste is all that difficult with gestures. Adding a standardized undo system to the iPhone, however, IS a big deal. What gestures do you use to invoke it? Then you have to have the obligatory redo command and how do you do that with gestures?

As I’ve journeyed into Cocoa and CocoaTouch (and I’ve barely scratched the surface) there are a number of things a desktop app gets for free with Cocoa. One of those is an undo system using the NSUndoManager. With document-based Cocoa apps, an undo manager is created for you for each document and you can implement NSUndoManager on your own if you need.

Until CocoaTouch gets its own UndoManager I don’t think you’ll see Cut/Copy/Paste on the iPhone. Version 3 anyone?

Did I miss anything? Feel free to sound off below. (Keep in mind that I’m a newbie when it comes to Cocoa and CocoaTouch so be gentle - ‘kay?)