In December of 2017, I put together a list of my Mac Apps of the Year.
For this issue of Hemispheric News, I thought it would be interesting to revisit this article to see what, if anything, has changed. Given our collective consternation about Electron, the average capabilities of Swift-based apps, and the sad state in general that Mac development seems to be in against the influx of web apps, has the Mac App of the Year category shown improvement?
In 2017 I defined the apps on the list as those I used extensively, value and enjoy. I also noted them as those I would most miss if they suddenly went away.
Given that criteria, my nominations for Mac Apps of 2022 are:
NetNewsWire has taken the job of feed reading away from Reeder. NNW doesn’t do a lot, but it does what is needed. The app works fast, never crashes, and plays nicely on macOS.
Still in beta, this browser is efficient in our modern web world. I don’t use a number of its more esoteric features such as Boosts (site based code injection) or Easels (weird pinterest-like pages), but its ability to manage multiple independent spaces/containers that let me stay logged in to multiple Microsoft accounts - while keeping me spatially aware of which is which, is better than any other implementation I’ve found.
The only downside I feel is that it isn’t as battery-efficient as Safari, and I feel a bit guilty about that. It’s built on Chrome though, so at least every single website out there renders correctly.
I continue to rely on OmniFocus to steer my work and my life. Having said that, after being on the v4 beta train on macOS for some time, I don’t love it. OmniFocus have taken a gamble and built the new app in Swift, and it seems they are really an excellent edge-case for the language. They are asking a lot of it.
I stick with OmniFocus at this point because I know it inside-out, I have workflows built around it, and it keeps me on track. I don’t love it nearly as much as I used to. This is unfortunate.
A rekindling of my enjoyment for blogging has coincided with the enjoyment of using MarsEdit and the new version 5 has made it even better. There are still some weird things about the way it uses Markdown (I wish it had more affordances and keyboard shortcuts), and it intermingles HTML with Markdown too much in my view, but it is solid. Lots of other apps can push to my micro.blog host, but only MarsEdit offers a seamless editing experience.
I also love its browser extension, but I wish it was available for Arc.
MarsEdit remains an honest-to-goodness Mac app.
Without Launchbar I’m inefficient, and I don’t even remember to use half of its available features. I’ve tried to replace it with Alfred, and Raycast, but I always come back to Launchbar. It works how my mind thinks - or at least it has trained my mind to think like Launchbar. I wish development was faster and that third-party support was greater. But it works and I can’t be rid of it.
Thanks to the additional shortcuts from friend of Hemispheric Views, Scotty Jackson, Agenda has become an important cog in my macOS arsenal. I use it to take day notes and meeting notes.
I don’t love its in-built text editor, so sometimes notes might start elsewhere (Drafts, iA Writer, Tot…) but then I can dump them into Agenda. It’s helpful to be able to find notes either by project/client or by meeting/date.
Agenda has seen a lot of development over the past year and it continues to scratch an itch.
Apps that are no longer on my list from 2017:
I use this app, but I do feel that if push came to shove, iCloud Keychain is probably good enough that I could move into that. 1Password has a few niceties that keep me using it, plus inertia. Also my mother-in-law is part of my Family account and
I dare not disrupt that workflow.
It is interesting to note that 1Password 8 uses an Electron front-end and a Rust backend. Not very macOS-like at all.
I have fun using this app, but I could just as easily move its content into any number of other apps and go on just fine.
Logseq is another Electron-powered application and its current sync system makes me nervous.
I haven’t used Bear for years. Also for years, they were promising a new text engine. Agenda has taken over the role Bear once played.
I sometimes use Ulysses for work-related writing, but that’s about it. Any Markdown writing is done somewhere else, such as Drafts or iA Writer.
It’s like infrastructure in my system. I keep things in there. But I don’t enjoy using it. It has the capability to do almost everything that I use a whole bunch of other apps for. But it can be confusing, even after I’ve been using it for more than a decade.
I continue using the old version 4, despite version 5 being out for a few years. I like v4 more, plus its not a subscription. I don’t need much, and SME4 does enough.
Update: As of a couple of weeks ago, StockMarketEye has closed down.
NetNewsWire took the crown.
Wow, I haven’t used this for ages.
I’ve been on a Fantastical subscription for a couple of years, but don’t worry BusyCal because I’m coming back. The Fantastical price increases were too much, and I get BusyCal through Setapp, so come March I will be back as a full-time user.
Apps that came close in 2022:
- Day One