Thu, Feb 9, 2006, 11:42pm The Question Concerning the OS X App List
Computers » Mac » Apps
(Last updated: Fri, Mar 17, 2006, 11:28pm)
O
k, here's my situation. I'm in the middle of a rewrite of the core engine that runs the application listing for my OS X Page. For a long time, I found most software sites out there to be either riddled with ads and hoops to jump through, or simply underwhelming. Mine is the oldest surviving OS X application listing, but I make no money on it and in the last year or so other sites, in particular Apple's own listing, have gotten quite a bit better. My daily question to myself is: Should I stop running my app listing? or, Should I make it better and offer more things, including some paid features to allow me to make time to keep it up properly?

A related question, for anyone that cares about such things, is: What do you wish was out there to help you find software for the Mac? Are the current solutions out there more than you need already? What things do you wish you could know quickly that you now have to hunt for? I'm not saying I can make it happen, but I'd be very interested in hearing what people are looking for. More detailed information about an application will have to be maintained, somehow, by the community (with all the issues that brings along). If I can fill a need in the community, then I'd be happy to do what I can.

  • Javier (Fri, February 10th, 2006, 1:03am UTC)
    Please, don't think about quitting. Your site is my main source of information when I'm looking for a new Mac Os X applications. I like that most of the applications I use are Free (as in speech) Software. So, I love the posibility of search by license.

    My opinion is that your should include ads (no flash, please) if you need the money to continue offering this high quality service.

    Javier
    P.S. Sorry for the bad English, but it's not my mother tongue.

  • Gerd Knops (Fri, February 10th, 2006, 1:43am UTC)
    I pretty much use your OS X Page exclusively to look for applications, and regularly check the latest additions. I like that Cocoa apps are marked as such, please keep this feature. Actually I like the pages as they are. Concise and easy to navigate.

  • maka (Fri, February 10th, 2006, 3:13am UTC)
    Your page is great. It's simple, fast, and includes really useful information about the apps. I love the option to show free/open apps. It would be a shame to lose your app listing… It's also nice the apps are listed by kind (cocoa/carbon/unix) even web apps…

  • Francis (Fri, February 10th, 2006, 10:38am UTC)
    An excellent site. I check it every day. It is more complete than any other resource on the web. You have all the necessery information and no changes are needed.

  • Bill (Fri, February 10th, 2006, 11:57am UTC)
    While a variety of sites track new applications and utilities, your listings include software that I do not find mentioned elsewhere. I have discover some most useful software that I would have missed otherwise. Thus,you have a unique role. I like things just the way they are. I don't object to ads if they are not too intrusive.

  • Daniel Griscom (Fri, February 10th, 2006, 2:23pm UTC)
    Like they said, your site is where I go when I'm looking for a random OS X application by keyword. However, if you're looking for added value, how about exposing more of the information encoded in your database? For example, how about having an "Info" link next to each application name? Clicking the application name would open a new window at the application's home page (as now), but clicking on the "Info" link would open a page in your site, showing your database's information on the application (name, properties, keywords, etc).

  • R Peters (Fri, February 10th, 2006, 8:47pm UTC)
    I do not think that you need to change anything! I hit your site nearly every day, and I love the way that you can search by license, category, and keyword. Simple, concise, efficient, and even has an RSS feed that I subscribe to.

    You always include links to the sites of origin, and you are very good about dealing with stale links, so I don't think you need to burden yourself unnecessarily with details. I think the current level of information is perfect for my needs.

    I would be happy to put with banner and side bar ads if that would help to reimburse you. (Please don't do pop-ups or flash as they are irritating in the extreme.) You have always been exceptionally modest for the several years you have provided this service. You have never asked for anything other than books (and I have purchased some for you). Would you consider being more assertive in your request for books (assuming they are a necessary expense) or even soliciting contributions directly via Paypal, like the open source donationware projects on sourceforge?

  • Mike Stolove (Fri, February 10th, 2006, 10:59pm UTC)
    I think you undervalue the simple effectiveness of your web interface. It's clean, intuitive and fast. The content is current, on target, and — importantly — is not polluted with commercial 'Free Download!' trials.

    I say you're already doing the Mac population a great service by maintaining OS X Apps. If you had a PayPal button I'd donate a little something now and then as a thank you.

  • Jeff (Fri, February 10th, 2006, 11:00pm UTC)
    The encouragement around here has really been a shot in the arm. Good to know the resource is working for people. Just to alleviate any fears, while there may be ads on the pages, I'll never make use of pop-ups or flash ads (or any moving images).

    Of course, I appreciate a great deal the books people have sent me! It makes that day a surprise holiday. Really makes doing the site more fun, and often helps me with my research projects.

    I'll mull over all suggestions. I'm trying not to get too hung up on the financial rewards angle, but trying not to completely ignore it either. The Google Ads makes me only about 60% of the cost of my DSL line, but I have a few ideas to help boost the ad revenue without being tacky.

    I'm also interested in any ideas people have to allow more community-level contributions to the software list, such as discussions, or detailed info that I don't have the time to input myself due to the sheer volume. I've been talking with some people for a few months about new ideas for the site, but I the like input from more site users.

    One thing I'll try to keep as a general principle: to keep things simple and concise, as you guys have stressed. Adding better-honed and/or additional features without making the design more complex is a very interesting software design challenge, so also feel free to comment about particular items.

  • Ken (Sat, February 11th, 2006, 12:09pm UTC)
    Your site is the best resource for apps I have found and I can't think of an improvement in the way you are managing it.

    I would recommend the PayPal option to support the site as well as a few small ads that would generate some income. The Apple Store for sure, plus some good sites, like Griffin Technology. I would be happy to use those links when making a purchase, helping support the site.

    I also believe it appropriate that you get some compensation when people purchase commercial apps from links from your site.

    On the design side I can't think of a thing to change. It might be interesting, however, to add a "Wish List" tab for non-programmers (like me) who have an idea that might catch the interest of sole of the programmers who have apps listed. Loss of all rights would be the only condition to add to the wish list, avoiding conflicts.

    I don't think you realize how important your list is to many people. I've posted links to your site many times on discussions about software and have always hoped that you would be receiving some form of compensation when sales of commercial apps are made. Many thanks for all of your work!

  • Florian Gr??ndel (Sat, February 11th, 2006, 5:52pm UTC)
    Your site is the most comprehensive and by far the most usable site about OS X Software. Please keep it up as it is, there is nothing comparable.

    I would suggest that you implement new features that you think are useful and mark them as "beta" so that they can be discussed. Maybe this aims a bit towards the ideas you suggested above.

    Greets from Germany,
    Flo

  • Benjamin Huot (Sat, February 11th, 2006, 8:01pm UTC)
    I use your list extensively. The one thing that would make ot better would be more sub categories especially in the graphics category — like 3d modelling, vector graphics, animation, etc. But overall extremely useful as is. I agree with others that there are many applications I find here that I don't find any where else. I link to you from my website in my list of Budget Mac applications for those looking for more specialized applications. As far as ads go, the text ads are probably the most effective and are definitely the least annoying. Many browsers have some very easy extensions for ad removal but the text ads are hard to filter out and are the least objectionable. In fact I often get good ideas from ads if they are targeted towards what I am interested in. Your filters for the open source software or commercial are very useful too.

  • probot (Sun, February 12th, 2006, 6:40am UTC)
    Your site is invaluable, it's the first place I go when I look for software, and I recommend it to others constantly. It's lean and comprehensive, no big changes are necessary, but you might think about a 'report link' column. This way, when someone's domain has been transferred to others and the content is no longer there, we can let you know. Like the one for 'Direct Connect', that takes you to www.neo-modus.com. No such app to be found there. Otherwise, you have a killer site, that's for sure. Use ads, if you must, but please no flash, pop-ups or animations… Text ads are something I actually sometimes click on, if they are factual, to the point and within my area(s) of interest.

  • Daniel Griscom (Sun, February 12th, 2006, 3:49pm UTC)
    An addendum to my comment above: you should make it easier for visitors to give their input on specific applications. Example: link broken, information needs correction, wrong price, etc. My suggestion above of being able to bring up an application-specific page would lead right into this; once people can see an app's data, you could have a form at the bottom for submissions relevant to that app. You could either have submissions go to you for approval/processing, or have some way of people directly editing apps' data (perhaps with a login to prevent vandalism).

  • William Adams (Sun, February 12th, 2006, 4:00pm UTC)
    I too find your site an invaluable resource rather than Cocoa or Carbon, what I want to know is whether or not an app supports Services.

  • Carlo Gandolfi (Mon, February 13th, 2006, 5:04pm UTC)
    Yours is the best and complete apps list site, your license filter is unique (the only one that make the difference between Free and Open). I love screenshot or apps icons, but this could make your site less fast and usable. I think that adding discussion or other features could be more time consuming for you. Paypall account or lite ads can be easily tolerate for your service.

  • Carlo Gandolfi (Tue, February 14th, 2006, 4:44am UTC)
    Just tell my last experience. I was looking for a little app that compose fonts sampler page searched by "font book" key phrase. I did a little comparison among VersionTraker, Macupdate, Apple Dowload page and your OS X page. VersionTraker give me two results, no one mathcing my need; MacUpdate give me four results, no one matching my need; Apple dowload page give me 46/34 results (the total number result change from first page to last page!), no one mathcing my need; your OS X page (the fast one) give me 3 results, two of them matching my need. You can guess which is my top "OS X Apps searching engine". Time saved here is priceless.

  • Lombard (Wed, February 15th, 2006, 2:55pm UTC)
    I know you can't track downloads offsite -- but how about
    a top 100 'interest' ranking to allow one to find what's
    hot.

  • Nat (Sat, February 18th, 2006, 1:26am UTC)
    The first link on my bookmark bar in Safari is to your OS X page. Not only is it the first place I look to find applications, but I also point friends and family this way. Your database is far more searchable than other sites' such as Version Tracker. I can't suggest any changes. I've always liked that you make changes when you see fit and have time, and that you've always done them well. I don't think not-in-your-face ads would be a problem for anyone.

  • Kilian (Tue, February 21st, 2006, 9:09am UTC)
    Your software list is the only one where I can search for Cocoa apps. Since I have to be able to use German and Japanese at the same time most of the time, being able to look for Cocoa apps only is a huge timesaver for me (99.9% of Cocoa apps do support Unicode out of the box).

    Otherwise I would have to actually try out all contender to find out whether they really support Japanese and German etc.

    So please don't quit the list, also the license filter is great.

  • Kilian Muster (Thu, February 23rd, 2006, 12:41am UTC)
    While I'm at it I might as well get greedy. It would be great if there was a way to display the current version number in the list view, so one could get that info at a glance.

  • Teresa (Wed, March 15th, 2006, 12:34pm UTC)
    I think your site is great and it is my first port of call when looking for software to use. I was directed here when I first got a Mac and spent hours downloading free software. Thanks to your site I now have a program for every occassion. None of the other sites are as good. On the subject of ads I don't mind them as long as theyre not annoying pop-ups and the like. Keep up the good work.

  • jbm (Fri, May 12th, 2006, 9:41am UTC)
    I'm the same as most people here, by the look of things. When I'm wondering about software to do a certain thing, I go to your site first. It's a great resource!

  • will (Thu, July 13th, 2006, 3:55am UTC)
    if you need money off the site, use ads or do as craigslist does- charge for commercial listings.

    also, for enchancements, please allow sort by add date when doing search or filter.

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