According to Smile, about a third of the TextExpander customer base has moved to the subscription service, which gives Smile the income to pay for continued app updates and to keep the lights on in the server room. And the promised frequent app updates have come: Smile delivered 17 updates to the macOS app last year compared to only 7 the year before.
More interesting, and boding well for TextExpander’s future, is that the TextExpander service provides the management capabilities to build snippet-sharing teams in businesses and organizations. Such teams share common snippet libraries, turning the TextExpander service into something of a low-rent content management system through which, for example, all the members of a customer support team can have access to textexpander.com-hosted support documents and links literally at their fingertips. Smile reports that a typical team is about 12 people, but it hosts teams that have nearly 1000 members. The enterprise attractiveness of Smile’s TextExpander service was further enhanced by the successful introduction of TextExpander for Windows.
The decision to keep selling TextExpander 5 strikes me as strange. On the surface, it sounds like what people wanted: the old product, with the old syncing, at the old price. But what is the future of the standalone version? There’s no announced commitment to add features, and it has the same name and a lower version number than the flagship product. I think the logical assumption has to be that TextExpander 5 is going to be stuck in maintenance mode.
In fact, there have been no updates at all to TextExpander 5.
I ended up switching to LaunchBar and Dash, which I was already using for other purposes, and this has worked out well. They are definitely less powerful, but I was only using the basic features, and I’ve gained easier snippet editing via BBEdit, version control and syncing via Git, and I’ve removed a Dropbox dependency (in addition to needing one fewer app).
I’m still using the old TextExpander on iOS, mostly to enter timestamps in OmniFocus.
Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this post.