At one point, I think not long before COVID-19 hit, I had written up an entire analysis of TextExpander’s development (or lack thereof) post-subscription. But before felt that it was polished enough to post, we were in the midst of a pandemic, and it didn’t feel important anymore.
What was startling to me was that, as I remember it, with almost 4 years of subscription model data, there were almost no noteworthy features added to the app. They added Windows support, they moved to a subscription, and then the app just… languished. A few cosmetic things here and there. Some bug fixes. Other than that…not much.
Compare that to PDFpen which is not a subscription product, and which has received updates every year, significant enough that they felt comfortable offering an upgrade fee for it.
A common argument for software subscriptions is that it gives developers the freedom to add new features “when they’re ready” rather than holding off for major updates. I believe there are plenty of examples of that happening (Drafts comes to mind, certainly). But I don’t think you could say the same about TextExpander.
One of the reasons that I hesitated to post it, however, is that there are already so many people who are vehemently opposed to any software subscription ever that I feared it would do more harm than good.
I’m not even sure what the “good” might be. I doubt it would change anything about how often TextExpander gets updated, as Smile clearly doesn’t need to update it in order for it to continue being successful.
So… what would be the point? “Shame”? I doubt it would matter to anyone. There might be a day of Internet Outrage on Twitter.
People who hate subscriptions would point at this and say “See! Subscriptions are bad!” (which wouldn’t be my point at all, but…I think we do have to consider not just what we say, but how what we say will be “heard” and “used”).
Those who like/don’t mind/accept subscriptions would say “Well, if I used an app that wasn’t updated frequently enough for me, I’d just stop using it.”
Yup. Now I remember why I left it in the drawer.