The hardest part of developing computer applications isn’t the programming, but the publicizing of an application.
Setapp: The New Way to Get Applications on a Mac
The hardest part for a user is to find the right application for the job at hand.
Both sides of the equation makes marketing a very lucrative business. Companies are always trying out new methods and schemes.
Apple decided to get into the promotion market by opening the Mac App Store in January 2011. Since then there’s been praise and complaints all around the net.
Some of the biggest criticisms of Apple’s App Store is that you can’t try it first (though some developers have a trial version downloadable from their website), upgrades are either free or you have to change the name, and approval times from Apple often takes a long time.
Developers also have to spend $100/year on a developer license to have a product on the App Store.
Setapp is a new approach to an application store for the Apple’s macOS platform.
Setapp is a software subscription. You pay $9.99/month to have complete access to every program in the listing. A subscription allows you to use all the applications and their upgrades as soon as they are available. Unlike Adobe’s Creative Cloud, there isn’t a discontinuation fee or penalty to pay.
Also the first month is free. You have to setup your account using a credit card. After the first month, Setapp charges $9.99/month. You can cancel at any time. Setapp will email you before starting to charge so that you can cancel if you want.
Their goal is customer satisfaction.
Once you created an account, Setappdownloads the latest version.
While the software is downloading the Setapp site gives detailed information on installing the software.
Drag the Setapp icon in to the Applications folder. Once copied launch the application.
Setapp will detect that this is the first run and will start the installation process. While installing, Setapp shows a detailed application explanation.
The final screen invites you to start using Setapp with the Let’s Get Startedbutton.
Before pressing it, select the box in the lower left corner. This will place the Setapp application folder in the Dock. You can browse the different applications in Setappwithout mistaking them for your other programs.
The Setapp folder is beside the Downloads folder.
Clicking on this folder shows all the applications you can use. They show up in the order of last updated.
New applications or updated applications are at the top left most position. This makes it harder to find the application you use the most, but it helps you to see what has changed.
Setapp also has a menu bar application. This application is what monitors for new applications and updates.
It also allows you to search the Setapp applications, open the Setapp folder, view your account information, setup preferences, and get help.
When you run an application for the first time it will display a short description of the program, selected pictures of the program working, and a feature set.
When you click the Open button, it will setup the application on the system and launch. This only happens once on the first launch of the program.
If the free month expires and you deactivate your account launching a Setapp program will tell you that your account isn’t active.
You can deactivate the account for a while, leave everything on the system, and re-activate it latter to use the programs. In that way, you only pay for the months that you actually use the programs.
If you try to exit the Setapp menubar program it will tell you which application are still running. You’ll have to quit all Setapp applications before closing the menubar program.
When you launch any of the Setapp applications, the Setapp menubar application will launch.
As of this writing, early April 2017, Setapp has 72 applications. Some are very expensive programs to buy, while other are cheap utility applications. All the applications are very useful and would complement your workflow. Some that you might find very useful are:
RapidWeaver is a great application for building websites. The program is a part of Setapp, but the addons for it are expensive. With the 76 built in themes and plugins, you can build a large number of different sites. They have over 1000 addons, but they are not included in the price of the Setapp subscription.
CodeRunner is a great IDE for writing programs. It differs from other code editors in that it focuses on running and debugging the code. Other code editors allow you to do that but not as like CodeRunner.
There are two different project manager programs: Pagico and Merlin Project Express. Pagico is a full featured project manager. Merlin Project Express is the scaled down version of their full featured application. For home and small business usage they are both great.
Findings and Studies are great applications for students and researchers. Findings is a computerized lab notebook. It allows you to track experiments and their results. Studies is a flexible, flashcard program to help you remember important facts.
For those that love using markdown, Ulysses, Focused, and Marked are very useful. Ulysses and Focused are markdown editors, while Marked is a displayer for markdown that has many themes.
There are many utility programs. Lacona is a programmable program launcher like Alfred. ForecastBar is a great way to keep up with the weather in your area. Squeeze keeps image files as small as possible. Uncluttered gives you a drop-down area to look at your clipboard history, stored files, and some notes. There are more utilities for you to explore as well.
n-Track Studio is most likely the most expensive application currently in Setapp. This program is a full featured sound mixer, equalizer, and editor. If you do podcasting or any work with sound, this program will be very useful.
Versions of an Application
If you already own an application that is in Setapp, you don’t have to worry. The Setapp version doesn’t interfere with your version at all. Setapp applications store their preferences separate from the version you purchased direct from the developer. You can even run them side by side.
A Help to Developers
There has been no small debate on the net about Setapp. Users praise it, while some developers don’t like it. The argument against it for developers, promoted in this article, is that Setapp destroys an applications value to the user. Other’s feel that a software subscriptions costs the user more money and keeps the developer from being more aggressive in updating the application.
All the different viewpoints are valid. It will be up to the users and the developers to decide for them self what is best them them. Easy promotions for the developer and cheaper applications for the user are the strongest arguments for Setapp.
Now that you know about Setapp and how it works, let me know what you think. It does look very attractive and beneficial to the user.
Perhaps we’re going to lose competition to keep the products as innovative as possible, though only time will tell.