The way it works is that there's a monthly subscription to start using it. While you're paying monthly, you get every update included. The twist is that, after 12 months of payments, you obtain a perpetual license. If you decide to stop the subscription at any time, you're able to continue using up to the most recent update before you canceled.
I almost want to buy a subscription, only I prefer Netbeans.
We'll so how long it takes before Oracle finds out it owns Netbeans and destroys it and I have to go back.
I even had a license back in the days. I just prefer Netbeans the same I prefer Linux or even modern Windows versions over Mac, even though I have used a Macbook pro for almost three years.
On the plus side, it does encourage them to have a major release every year so they can keep resetting that 12 month clock.
And if it's a trivial "major" release, then you can fallback to the last version without much loss. If it's a useful major release, it's motivation for you to hang around.
I think it's pretty simple, and easy to figure out what you have.
I think PHPstorm, webstorm, etc are forks of intellij
They charged an upgrade fee for new major versions. IIRC, it was $19.95 to upgrade from v4 to v5. I didn't mind paying that, even if the new features were minor (I can't even remember what they were -- and I think I actually upgraded only because v4 wouldn't work anymore on a newer version of OS X, though my recollection could be wrong).
That's the life-cycle of software products sold on the traditional model. At some point you need to realize you've wrung all the money you can out of upgrades, and if the revenue from new sales and (increasingly rare) major upgrades isn't enough to live on, well, you better develop some new and different products. Of course it's better for you as a developer if you can convince people to pay you $60 per year in perpetuity for your small utility app, rather than just collecting a one-time $30 sale and occasional upgrade fees, but just because that's your super-dream-fantasy business model doesn't mean it makes any sense for customers.
Perhaps in this case TE should have done a better job of positioning the value that would come from their ability to deliver more stable updates, etc. I'm not familiar with TE, but do you think it's users would view that it was unreliable and needing regular updates or new features?
What updates? Most updates are fluff even in something as complex and demanding as Photoshop and Word.
TextExpander is a glorified text-replacement tool. They'll just start cramming more crap in to call it "updated".
People aren't upset because smile is trying to make good software and a profit. They're mad because they feel there's been a bait and switch.
Sure, but there's a return on investment calculation. If TE bumped that to $50 a month, they'd be able to make lots of stable updates. They might even be able to justify it with "but look at how much time/money we're saving you!" But psychologically, it's a small tool that does very little compared to other things that cost less. The direct competition is priced in the $5-$25 forever range, and other apps in its price range are vastly more complex.
Even if it made financial sense for me to pay 10x its current price, I'm not going to shell out that much for what I perceive as a convenient-but-replaceable little utility.
As someone who doesn't need $5/month of TextExpander services, this also leaves me in the market for a new solution.
No connection, just a happy user.
I use it for as much friviolous stuff as serious things (http://i.imgur.com/YgE82eP.png) - having never used TextExpander, I've not had any problems with the text replacements. It's possible to open dialogs and very quickly make UIs too for more involved stuff.
:foo expands to
Dear [name], thank you for buying our stuff. We like you, [name]!
Prompt For User Input  is the easiest method and allows you to build a form fully within the KM's GUI.
Custom HTML Prompt  lets you make a full HTML/CSS/JS form. I have never had need of this, but in principle you can leverage any web browser tools such as jQuery and Bootstrap to make a complex form.
Check out the KM forums for examples. KM also allows you to fully integrate AppleScript and shell scripts, so you could do all sorts of other crazy workflows.
The macro: http://imgur.com/1oIhtJm.png
The prompt: https://imgur.com/esJt4gM.png
Keyboard Maestro macros consist of a trigger and an action. In the above example, I used the Typed String trigger to detect when "hhi" is typed then execute an action to create a prompt and paste the text with content from that prompt.
But presumably you can continue to use the pre-SAAS version of the software, right? At least until it stops working because of OS changes, etc.
I have no affiliation with the aText guy except as a happy customer. I've been recommending it to my friends as a migration path off TextExpander because it works for me, but it may not work for you. It has a free time-limited demo, though, so it's easy enough to find out.
Reluctantly, I will be looking too. We use linux at work and I have been using https://github.com/autokey/autokey there, but it is a little abandoned. I have to restart it with a cron job every 10 minutes, but it is fine otherwise.
I use TE dozens of times a day and although I could use an alternative (there is Keyboard Maestro which I also use, but for different stuff, aText and a host of others), I'll just pay the $48 a year or whatever (I think it's $24 for the first year for existing customers) for the solo version. Simply put, I've received enough value from the app over the years to make it worth that to me.
That said, I don't think they have the right pricing. I think $5 a month for single users is too high.I think $10 a month per users for teams is too high too.
But the broader move to a SaaS in this case to me is troubling because my instinctive response is, "Smile is doing this because they have to" -- and that says a lot about the current state of indie software, that a subscription model is the only way forward. I've seen this with other Mac apps I enjoy and in most of those cases, I don't use them enough to make the jump. With TE, I do, so I will. But I do wonder how many will follow.
Smile is doing this because they have to
If it's well loved, then why move it to a different model?
No way in hell I'm paying $5 per month for it though. If I don't, hard to imagine many who will. What idiots!
Also, now we'll see what Katie and Macsparky are made-of, won't we? I imagine the hitherto well deserved fawning over an excellent, #winning product is going to end PDQ. We'll see.
I expect an expeditious climb-down from whatever the folks at Smile have been perching-on.
And what of PDF Pen? That's also a massively interesting question.
I would be very happy to switch to subscription-based pricing. I think we should finally abandon the idea that software can be "purchased" once and used forever. It's unrealistic. Developers need money to fix bugs and adapt the software to new operating systems and environments. Users will not keep the current OS version forever. And yet we still play that silly game where developers have to announce "major features" in order to justify getting some money once every several years.
There are several essential utilities that I'd gladly pay a subscription fee for. I don't want new features, I just want the software to be regularly polished, I want bugs to be fixed and I want it to work with newer OS versions.
That said, I consider $48/year to be too high a price. I'd be willing to pay $20/year for TextExpander. So for now I'm not subscribing, and I'll see what happens. If the price doesn't come down, I'll have to look for other solutions.
I certainly hope not. If I as a consumer want to use a certain software version locally then I should have that right. Why should I pay for developers to make features that I don't need / want?
I've been using Emacs, etc. since the 90s without having to subscribe to them. There is an enormous amount of software, both Free and proprietary, that you can still purchase once and use as long as you care to.
> That said, I consider $48/year to be too high a price. I'd be willing to pay $20/year for TextExpander.
This debacle reminded me that I'd once paid $5 for a license to aText. I dusted it off and found that 1) it's still supported and updated, and 2) it covers 100% of my TextExpander use cases. $48/year is astronomically high when the competition is $5/always.
You can't make a living selling something once for $5 and never charging people again. It's just not sustainable.
I can still use the free version which is very similar to what I bought before but I think it is ridiculous to note what they give you for $2/month: Multiple wallets, share wallets, syncing and budget planning.
Multiple wallets and budget planning should have been a one-time purchase. Syncing built in. I just don't understand why I should pay a monthly fee for the ability to create multiple wallets.
Then on the other hand there are apps like parcel (https://parcelapp.net) that charge you $2/year for having a tracking server that pushes parcel updates to your phone. I would have been easily ok with spending more on it.
I understand the reasons for moving to a subscription model. It just doesn't sit well with some customers though(that includes me).
The alternative is to try and cover ongoing costs from new sales. This never ends well. But it does end.
Part of the problem is software developers (I'm one) who feel entitled (I don't) to a lifetime of full income for one project. TextExpander seems a textbook case of what should be a light utility becoming a hungry beast of a business that needs constant feeding, at the cost of its users.
The nice thing about software is that if the app is really so simple that it's only worth a few bucks then someone (or many people) should fill the gap pretty quickly.
For about the same annual fee (actually less because 1Password gives you a permanent upgrade discount), I can share Netflix passwords with my kids and bank passwords with my wife. That's tremendously more valuable than the possibility of sharing a email signature snippet with her, and 1Password didn't gut their app to force upgrades on anyone.
Two companies launch subscription plans, for the same price, at the same time. One is universally praised and the other widely trounced. Some b-schooler will be writing a compare-and-contrast case study on this in the very near future.
To ask that per month is going to be difficult.
If they had announced that sustainable development required moving to a subscription model and the price would be $1/month I doubt so many people would be upset.
"Is TextExpander worth ½ of Office 365?" "I don’t see anything that I really need in TextExpander version 6." "TextExpander makes things a little easier, which was enough to justify the initial price of TextExpander and upgrades, but not a monthly fee."
I think the author would object to a $60 base price based on those comments. Since Smile effectively made two pricing changes at once when they switched to $60/year, it's hard to consider one of them independently.
What does this have to do with his point? He may have been harsher on the subscription model than he intended and other developers with a low-cost, one-time fee model might not understand why. I think the essay illustrates why a company should consider trying hard to make only one pricing change at a time.
(It does a lot more, but configuring text replacements is straightforward)
P.S. Have you heard of vim?
That's why we emacs users like to do all of our typing in a single environment. It really is an OS sometimes!
If you find value in a product and they charge for it, pay for it.
Bitching about how someone shouldn't charge for a service they created is juvenile. I suggest OP a) finds another service which has a price they can agree with or b) build their own since it's so trivial.
There's nothing juvenile about sharing an opinion.