Simplicity in software

Posting this topic I might run the risk of starting a topic in which some parts, but hopefully not all, might involve topics already discussed on the forum. But I can’t seem to find an existing topic that covers the “simplicity” angle :thinking:
But if I’m wrong I apologize, and hope the admins will feel free to remove this topic again.

Anyway, after that short that message, here goes:

I try to use the approach of simplicity in everything I do, especially when it comes to iOS as well as macOS.
This means I use native apps whenever possible, and it’ll usually take more than a fair amount of reasons for me to ditch the native app in favor of a 3rd party app (hasn’t happened yet, to be honest).

However, having said that, lately I’ve been trying to automate with as much as possible - and as soon as the public iOS beta was released, my iPhone was being updated.
Naturally, this has opened my eyes to Siri Shortcuts, and already now I’m using automation in just about every situation in which it’s possible (if not entirely needed… yeah, I’ve probably gone a bit overboard on the automation train :grin: ).

Now, what I’d like to know, really, and this is where this topic might interfere with other topics:

  • Why should I abandon native apps and switch to 3rd party apps
    • The native apps already synchronize through iCloud
    • Usually synchronization through 3rd party = $
      • I already pay for iCloud space - don’t need another subscription
  • Are the native apps supported in a lesser way in
    • If so, wouldn’t that change in the Siri Shortcuts app, probably? (Maybe @RosemaryOrchard can answer that from her experience with the Shortcuts beta?)

I have been testing a tiny bit of Bear as opposed to Apple Notes, and must agree it really has some pretty awesome features that Notes does not, but still I’d like the “simplicity” of it, plus some of the 3rd party apps either require a subscription, or you need to buy the app in both iOS as well as macOS.
It’s not that I’m a cheapskate (okay, I might be… just a little bit :grin: ), but the price of an extra subscription or hundreds of DKR for an app purchase (or two) doesn’t scale up to the needs I have for the extra features.

I guess what really matters to me is; is it nice-to-have, or is it must-have? The one thing that might get me to buy an app would be if the native app is constricted regarding automation, and a 3rd party app isn’t (like I said, automation does weigh heavy on the scale, for me :+1:) .

For a start, I’m only concerning myself with automation of my devices, ie. iPhone, Apple TV, and my MacBook, but within the next couple of months, I plan on extending the automation for 3rd party devices as well, around the house.
I really want to be absolutely sure that my automation on iOS and macOS are done (or as done as they can be), before starting on doors, windows, fans, etc. :smile:

Or maybe I should wait for a couple of months? :thinking:
What do other MPU listeners do for automation regarding apps?

Oh, and if you’ve managed to read through all of that mumbo jumbo, you deserve a :+1: just for that :grin:
Have a good one :slightly_smiling_face:

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As much as I like the idea of the SetApp subscription, I just can’t bring myself to getting it. There are a bunch of apps that I’ll never use. But it is comforting to know that I have access to seldom-used apps if I wanted to. I can see it being worth the price if I have enough apps in SetApp that would cost the same or more if bought as a standalone purchase.

I do get picky about apps. Thankfully, there are trial periods for many of our apps and a lot of reviews on blogs and YouTube. I’m still using the for my e-mails. It does most of what I need to do. But I did substitute Calendar with Fantastical and Reminders with OmniFocus because my needs are so much greater in those areas.

I haven’t downloaded the beta yet but this has peaked my interest too! We’re in the same boat! For now, Keyboard Maestro is an app I didn’t know I couldn’t live without. It’s a lot easier to digest. I haven’t quite gathered up the focus and energy to learn Javascript or AppleScript. But the promise of Siri Shortcuts on iOS and hopefully MacOS has certainly gotten me interested.

Keyboard Maestro has a strong history of development so I think I’m gonna ride with this horse for now. I’m not waiting for but will welcome it when it does come. Perhaps KM and Siri Shortcuts will co-exist in my life.

Change only when the native apps don’t meet your needs. Reminders is adequate for my sister and my mom. But it’s not enough for me. I could get by with the but using the Fantastical menu app and natural language input has won me over.

I’m OK with a subscription if I use it enough times and make money from it. If I wasn’t writing a lot, I would probably stick with Apple Pages. But I can make money from my Ulysses subscription. I can cover a few year’s worth of a Ulysses subscription in one post. If a subscription makes life easier for me, I’ll sign up. The price has to offer enough convenience to warrant it. I’m sure Tim Cook can clean his own house. But he might find it a better use of his time to get a contract with a housekeeping service so he can do more important things.

That might not be the case any longer. My Ulysses subscription gives me access to both the iOS and Mac version. Bear works in the same way. Most of the app subscriptions gives you the chance to use it on all the platforms. You don’t need to buy the same app twice with a subscription service.

I’ve always felt that Keyboard Maestro feels like the app on Macs. I’m trying to look at Javascript right now and my eyes just pop out of my skull. It doesn’t look like English and it will take some time to figure out the syntax. and Keyboard Maestro has a nice editor to allow you to create workflows/macros to get something done.

I am curious about Omni Group’s OmniJS which will be used in both the Mac and iOS versions of their apps. I guess Javascript is the language of choice for automation. I wonder if Applescript and those URL callbacks will be slowly deprecated in favor of Javascript. Hmmm… Time will tell.


First of all, thank you for your lengthy reply to my post - you definitely got me rethinking some of my original opinions concerning subscriptions, and 3rd party apps, as a whole.

I actually kinda agree with you that a subscription would be acceptable if the payoff were equally acceptable.
At the moments I don’t think that my needs warrant a subscription, but if that change, I’d probably get a needed subscription without much of a doubt, really.

So for now, I’m actually looking for ways to automate my life thus leaving spare time for me to do other things, basically.
I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but I definitely believe that we will be within a year or so if Siri and our automation possibility are allowed to expand, that is.

Hmm… thinking about it, I actually think I’m more an enthusiast with a user pattern of a professional user rather than a professional user that needs automation. If that makes sense :thinking:

But nevertheless I do appreciate all inputs, since they’re usually able to make me think “aha”, giving me a different angle to the questions I ask, and learn something new :smiley:


From the GTDfather:

The right amount of complexity is what creates the optimal simplicity.

David Allen

The trick is finding that balance. I could use a redirection towards the simplicity side of things.


Love your quote :smiley:

Yeah, I haven’t really touched the simplicity side of it, other than in the original post, it seems.
Well, some would probably say the simplicity for them is something different, but, really, for me the simplicity in software (and subsequently apps) is really in “finding the way” to manage with the “onboard” apps/software, but still have a maximum number of features, without too much (preferably any) extra steps, in Notes for instance, or Calendar, or Reminder, etc.

The problem is, that since I started working according to this “simplicity” doctrine, almost 2 years ago, so much has happened both to Siri (though the biggest advance is yet to come, officially, in iOS 12) as well as on the automation scene in general.
And this has yet again gotten me to - if not rethink, then perhaps redoubt my way of preferring native apps/software vs the 3rd party ones, basically because I’ve come to realise that what really matters to me is to work smart, taking advantage of automation wherever possible to save time for other appointments/tasks/spending time with my son.

The problem about this so far has been that the times I’ve tried to set up a general system of automation, I’ve ended up spending the same amount of time trying to automate, as I’ve spent on doing the actual tasks in the native apps. And I’m convinced it has to be possible to do better than that, having heard podcasts, read forum threads and so on, about others who are using other 3rd party software/apps that in some way either has other features or automation opportunities - not considering / Siri Shortcuts.

What I hope to learn, really, is;

  • What apps are people using?
    • Why - what makes them choose this app in particular, instead of the native app?
    • How is automation a part of their use, making it simple for them (this is where I hope to find some gems in the form of “fire & forget” usage :crossed_fingers)?
    • And how are they doing the automation ( script/other language/other)?

That’s me cooking it down to a bare minimum, I guess :smiley:
But that should be the “simplicity” part of it - making it easy to manage personal and professional life, with as few 3rd party apps/software as possible, but with the maximum amount of automation, giving time for something else at the time.

Does that make better sense? :crossed_fingers: :smiley:

I search for the just right. The Three Bears story had it right, not too hot, not too cold… The other saying is the right tool for the job.

Those are the ideas I aim for. Subscriptions, free, or built in are not totally irrelevant but nearly so in my world.

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