Thursday, October 7, 2021

Kaleidoscope 3

Christopher Atlan (tweet):

We have listened to your feedback and enhanced the app accordingly, with new tools for inspecting version control changesets and more settings for text comparisons. We have also brought a fresh new design specifically tailored for macOS Big Sur and macOS Monterey, including support for the Apple M1 chip.


Now you can quickly search for files by name or file extension.

We’ve also added the ability to filter files that have been changed, added, or deleted in a version control changeset.


Kaleidoscope 3 is now available as a one-time purchase for $149.99, and $69.99 upgrade for existing customers.

I like the new support for binary plists.

Previously it was $69.99. I imagine that this is a tricky app to sell because, even though it’s great, parts of its functionality are available in tools that developers already have: BBEdit, Tower, Xcode, FileMerge. And in most cases I compare files using those apps because I’m already in them. But sometimes I need more power or want more convenience for a certain workflow, and then I’m really glad that I have Kaleidoscope.

Craig Hockenberry:

I look at the $150 as an insurance policy more than a purchase. I need this app to stay healthy - and we all know it was close to death. Remember: eight years without a major version update.

I learned this from @xscopeapp - same thing - people complain that the app is too expensive. And buy cheap alternatives that disappear in a few years because the other developer finally realizes it’s not worth it.

Pay well for your tools. Don’t be cheap with your time.


Update (2021-10-08): By way of comparison, Araxis Merge Standard is $129 and Araxis Merge Professional (which adds 3-way merging, included in Kaleidoscope) is $269.

7 Comments RSS · Twitter

I wish they and a Lite version for people like me who do not need integration in Xcode or Git but would still like to compare text documents and images.
I have a license for version 2, and the steep price makes it unlikely that I’ll upgrade to v3 (and there’s nothing wrong with v2 — I can keep on using it just fine). I’m just worried that the app is taking a turn that will steer away more casual users like myself.

@Corentin Yes, it seems to me like that could work without affecting sales from people who do need the more pro features. Instead of scaring off the more casual users, reserve a space in their Dock and build awareness of the app? And maybe at $30 or whatever that could add up to something. Although I do wonder whether it would then feel weird to the pros that they are paying $100+ to essentially turn on scripting.

I don’t feel like paying a large sum up front provides any "insurance" at all. The app might still die and the money is just gone. Major upgrades are a financial risk for devs and users.

This is where subscriptions shine. You pay as long as the app is maintained, and the developer is paid as long as the app is maintained. The interests are aligned and the risks are gone, even for devs, because they don’t have the up-front costs of developing major releases as opposed to releasing incremental improvements.

Sure, casual users (understandably) hate subscriptions. But at 150$ they are priced out, as well.

Kevin Schumacher

I’m not sure what makes you think it’s only casual users who hate subscriptions, as opposed to pros or anyone else.

@ Kevin: if you define "pro" as "heavily relies on this tool as part of their job", a subscription is easier to justify. It's essentially a cut of your salary.

OTOH, if you are a casual user, continuously paying is silly.

I'm not yet convinced of buying it, but I'm leaning towards it. Generally, I'm just lamenting the choice of not grabbing Kaleidoscope 2 in the past few months when I was looking for a diff tool.

But the 1Password 8 experience has really soured me on "insurance" or "assurance" purchases/subscriptions. I went for the 1Password subscription with the understanding that they'd keep the things I value – native tooling used appropriately –, but they – from my point of view – misused the funds my subscription provided. Can't blame them given the state of Apple UI, but the marketing 'dishonesty' really peeved me with pushing the "native" narrative.

Granted, none of that is on the Kaleidoscope team, thus the extended consideration!

At the moment, I am not sure if large upfront fee is much different.

I just upgraded from V2. The reason why I took so long is the macOS 11.1 requirement. My main development machine is still on Mojave (I don't have the time or inclination to act as beta-tester for Apple's increasingly buggy OS releases) as is my home machine (due to Lightroom 6 support), but now I also have a M1 MBA. I don't know why they require bleeding edge versions of macOS for this app, but it was certainly a barrier to adoption in my case, more than the price.

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