Yesterday morning, Smile announced some pretty big changes to one of my favorite apps, TextExpander. Like many, the minute I saw TextExpander in the headline of a post on MacStories, I was jumping for joy at the chance to buy the new version and support Smile. Sadly, my excitement was quickly quashed as I read through the changes. With version 6, TextExpander would become a subscription service.
Now, to be fair, my disappointment was not solely because of the new subscription model. While I do feel the price is a bit steep, I’d have still considered it given the sheer amount of time TextExpander has saved me over the years – over 30 hours as of writing this.
I have no qualms about paying for an app who’s features add value to my life even at a higher price. Unfortunately version 6 of TextExpander did not add value. Two features highly touted in version 6 are snippet sharing and a Windows client. Most of my friends and coworkers look at me like I have two heads when I mention any sort of automation, so sharing snippets is definitely out of the question, and given that I haven’t used or owned a PC in years, I don’t need a Windows client either. New features, as others have remarked, seem to heavily favor teams rather than individual users like myself.
What really concerns me the most, however, is the fact that my snippets would be stored on TextExpander’s servers. I’ve yet to see any details about encryption or security of their new sync service, and since TextExpander is essentially a keylogger, watching for whenever you type a snippet abbreviation, the idea of the service being online is quite frankly terrifying.
So where do we go from here? I’d hope that Smile takes their customers’ reactions seriously and reconsiders their decision. As a long time customer, I hate to see a good company like Smile suffer, but if they don’t there are plenty of alternatives ready to step up and fill the void. (Check out aText, Typinator, TypeIt4Me, Keyboard Maestro, or Alfred. Heck, even OS X has the ability to expand snippets these days.)
Personally, I’ve ported all my “snippets” over to Keyboard Maestro, which I already owned and used. There wasn’t a handy import/export feature, so the process was a bit tedious, but many of my snippets are now vastly improved thanks to the added power of Keyboard Maestro. I’m still quite dissappointed to have to leave TextExpander but I think Keyboard Maestro will suit my needs just fine, and if nothing else, I have one less app to buy updates for.