I have been using TextExpander for a long time to speed up typing by using keywords for often used and repeating snippets.

Things like .TZ to type my name Ton Zijlstra, .url to type my blog’s url https://www.zylstra.org/blog, and .@blog for my blog’s mail addressblog@zylstra.org. That way filling out a comment form on a blog is .TZ .@blog .url, and then the comment.

With their latest release TextExpander has gone the route of so many software packages, and started charging a yearly subscription. I don’t mind buying software but paying yearly for the same package adds up quickly over the many software tools I use. I don’t mind the occasional payment for an upgrade (I happily pay Tinderbox $100 every time I do a major upgrade), but forcing a subscription on me is a form of economic tethering I fundamentally dislike.

So whenever a software tool moves away from ‘pay me once now, and pay again once you choose to upgrade’ to ‘let us set the frequency of payments’ I try to move away from that software tool. Currently I am moving my TextExpander snippets into Alfred, a tool that does the same thing next to doing a whole host of other things and that I also already had installed.

8 reactions on “

  1. I too prefer to decide when I want to pay more to upgrade software but I have kept TextExpander 5 running along because I find it easier than Alfred for most snippets. For one thing, I don’t have to summon Alfred first. Maybe I should be transferring my snippets more actively, to be ready for the fateful day.

    • Yes, I also kept TextExpander 5 running, but of course that’s only postponing the inevitable. If you set Alfred to automatically expand snippets by keyword, and start Alfred at start-up like you would have to do with TextExpander, then you don’t need to summon Alfred first. It just works exactly the same way as TextExpander (I’m also transferring the snippets unchanged).

  2. My friend Ton Zijlstra recently wrote about switching from TextExpander to Alfred, prompted by TextExpander’s move to a subscription model. I found myself in the same boat a while back, but wasn’t entirely happy with the way Alfred handled that kind of text expansion. I replied to Ton, pointing out that I preferred TextExpander because “I don’t have to summon Alfred first”.
    Dumb, as I learned by actually reading about Alfred Snippets in a bit more detail and as Ton gently pointed out.
    Time to start transferring those snippets over, which is also a good opportunity to clean them up a bit, sort them out a bit, and consider a collection wide affix.
    Thanks Ton for prompting me to do this.

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