On Subscriptiongate and other matters.

It’s been an eventful week. Over the last 7 days Smile Software’s recent controversial decision to migrate to a cloud & subscription-based model for TextExpander has been creating waves, to put it mildly. We had initially planned to just keep our heads down and our mouths shut, but our inbox is now overflowing with anxious emails seeking reassurance. We don’t want anyone to misread a tight-lipped response, so here goes: our view is that Smile’s new plan constitutes a bold move, albeit not one we would consider making ourselves.

Why not? Well, partly because we’ve no wish to raid anyone’s piggy bank on a monthly basis and partly because we’re a tiny, somewhat oldskool outfit. We’re also allergic to complicated legal admin. The thought of the security and privacy headaches being responsible for a cloud service would involve makes us break into a cold sweat. Then there’s the simple fact that we’re not enamoured with the idea of effectively renting apps to customers. The one-time $19.99 purchase with optional upgrades model suits us just fine and people seem happy enough with it. So if you’re a TypeIt4Me user alarmed by Smile’s new direction and worried we might follow in their footsteps, you can relax: that’s not going to happen.

…Now, how to put this? Aside from questions about our plans, there have been suggestions in some quarters that we must be lapping up the fallout from Smile’s announcement. Are we relishing the commotion? The answer is no. There’s no bad blood between us and Smile. We’ve enjoyed a cordial, healthily competitive relationship with them since around 2006, when they acquired Textpander from Peter Maurer – a gifted indie developer whose work we’ve always admired a great deal. At times, yes, we’ve envied Smile’s larger talent pool and the superior resources that ultimately enabled their dev team to outpace us. All the while, we couldn’t help but doff our caps, because they’re consummate professionals and we are indebted to them for popularising text expansion. Smile cannily leveraged sponsorship and used its affiliate relationships to introduce text expansion to the mainstream at a time when we simply weren’t equipped to do so. Throughout the years they and our other friendly competitors have motivated us to keep raising our game.

Far from rubbing our hands with schadenfreude, we’re mainly a bit spooked by some of the unbridled scorn being poured on a previously well-regarded team that’s successfully marketed a solid, dependable utility for years. Watching a decade’s worth of goodwill unravel in the wake of a surprise decision that alienated a lot of customers has been a sobering lesson that we need to tread carefully ourselves. So, as always, we’ll do our best not to disappoint anyone and just get on with making TypeIt4Me better.

To recap, then: there’s no cloud service or subscription pricing in our foreseeable future, we hope everyone at Smile is OK and we’re just going to carry on doing what we do. Our aim is to keep chiselling away at the rough edges of TypeIt4Me with each release so that it continues to gradually improve. We’re aware that it’s been showing its age; version 5.5 was the first step in our plan to do something about that. We still have quite a laundry list of features to add and refine, which ought to keep us busy and hopefully out of trouble for a while yet. We think you’ll like Version 6.0 when it drops, but its release is still quite a way off and there will likely be a couple of minor incremental updates before then. It takes us a while to design, develop, localize and test new features rigorously and we also have a couple of other irons in the fire to attend to. In the meantime…keep the requests and suggestions coming! We may not be able to cater to all of them, but we do like a challenge. Hope this has shed enough light on our thinking to put you at ease.

-Guy

How to import TextExpander snippets into TypeIt4Me

Today there have been a few people asking us how to port their snippets from TextExpander to TypeIt4Me. For the benefit of any of you who may be flirting with the idea of switching, here’s a quick primer explaining how to go about opening your TextExpander snippets in TypeIt4Me.

  1. Open TextExpander and ctrl-click on a group of snippets.
  2. Select the Save a Copy of Group “[name]” option, saving the copy to your desktop.

    Save a Copy of your TextExpander group to the desktop

  3. Go to TypeIt4Me and click File > Open (or type cmd-o) to bring up an Open dialog. Navigate to the file you just saved to your desktop, select it and click Open. A Save As dialog will come up. Select the desktop as the target location and click the Save button. This will create a new TypeIt4Me snippets set on your desktop with the same name as your exported TextExpander file but with the extension .typeit4me.
  4. Double click on the new file. An alert will pop up informing you that it will be automatically moved to Application Support/TypeIt4Me/Sets.

    TypeIt4Me will display this alert. Click OK to import your snippets.

    Click Ok. Your snippets will be imported into TypeIt4Me and the set will appear in the Sets on this Mac pane.

    Successfully imported TextExpander snippets in TypeIt4Me

  5. Repeat the process for the rest of your TextExpander snippet groups until you’re done*.

 

*Please note that TextExpander Fill-in Field snippets work differently than their TypeIt4Me equivalent, Autocue placeholders. The import process will not automatically convert them; you will need to manually adapt any Fill-in Field snippets to use TypeIt4Me syntax or they won’t work when you type them. The TypeIt4Me user guide explains how to create autocue placeholder snippets.

Celebrate 25 years of TypeIt4Me. Get 75% off version 5.5 – released today.

We realise you guys may not be able to hear us over the sound of fireworks and champagne corks popping, but there’s news to report. As we raise a glass to toast the incoming year, we’re pleased to announce the release of TypeIt4Me version 5.5. This update brings some much requested new features, including [relatively] hassle-free syncing of snippets via Dropbox, iCloud Drive, Google Drive and shared network folders. We’ve also taken the opportunity to rewrite parts of the code in Swift for improved performance and have given the app a long overdue facelift, bringing it into line aesthetically with its iOS companion app.

Oh and one more thing. Today we celebrate 25 years of our text expander app TypeIt4Me on the Mac platform. Version 1.0 was officially released for System 6 on New Year’s Eve 1990, following 16 months of public beta development. To mark this major milestone, we are slashing 75% off the regular $19.99 retail price. For a limited time, TypeIt4Me is available for purchase at the special discounted price of just $4.99.

It warms our hearts to reflect on the fact that our software has now been saving people keystrokes for a quarter of a century. When work began on the first alpha build of TypeIt4Me in 1989, the world was a very different place. Shoulder pads, big hair and big glasses were rife. Back to the Future II was about to hit cinemas. Woody and Kelly were dating on Cheers. Reagan had just vacated the White House, Gorbachev still presided over the Soviet Union and Hasselhoff was yet to dismantle the Berlin Wall. Many of future history’s most important movers and shakers were not in a position of strength, for that matter: Steve Jobs had been exiled from Apple, while Mark Zuckerberg was on his way to kindergarten and kids were likely throwing spitballs at Larry Page in Junior High. As for the internet, it didn’t even exist as we know it today. With no App Store or websites, Mac developers had to advertise in magazines and distribute software on physical media, dispatching 3.5″ floppy discs to customers by post.

Things have come a long way since, then, haven’t they?

The enthusiastic support and encouragement we’ve received from the Mac community throughout TypeIt4Me’s long-running development is very touching. We’re beyond grateful to everyone who’s helped and sustained us with positive feedback over the years. Thank you, guys. Thank you very much. Here’s to a prosperous 2016 for you and yours!

Riccardo & Guy

TypeIt4Me in the dock

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