Alfred 1.0 is here: Pop the champagne!

It’s with immense pride and excitement that we released version 1.0 of Alfred today. A major milestone for us, having spent the past two years creating this app and getting to know the awesome Mac community that surrounds us.

Check for updates in Alfred’s preferences to download it now. You may notice that your update arrives even quicker than usual, as we now use Cachefly‘s content delivery network to distribute Alfred at dizzying speeds.

New features

In this release, the Powerpack gets a few new features. We’ve vastly improved Global Hotkeys, allowing you to launch apps, extensions, files and more quicker than ever with a key combo!

URL History is a new and incredibly handy feature; Type a URL once in Alfred and he’ll remember it for next time. Save these URLs for as long as you need and manage which ones Alfred remembers within the preferences. As with Clipboard History, you’ll need to activate it to start using it, as Alfred respects your privacy.

There’s much more too: Snippets now allow you to sort and search your collection of clips, preferences have been tidied up and Alfred has been made even faster. Have a look at the change log for the full list of features, improvements and bug fixes.

Grab the Powerpack today

You have a few days left to get the Powerpack at the discounted price of £12 before the 1.0 price of £15 kicks in, so grab it now to get the best value! Don’t forget that if you want a lifetime of Alfred updates, you can also get the Mega Supporter license.

Last month, we set up a new payment process to make it completely fuss-free for you to grab the Powerpack using either debit/credit card or PayPal.

The free version has been submitted to the Mac App Store and will become available as soon as it’s approved by Apple. If you were waiting for the Powerpack to hit the Mac App Store, have a look at this blog post for why you might want to wait no longer and get it from our website.

What’s next?

To everyone who has helped us get this far by spreading the word about Alfred, we thank you. It’s been an exciting ride so far, and we’re loving every moment. We still have some great features up our sleeve for Alfred’s 1.x updates. We are also planning on developing more great Mac apps to make your life easier. *cheeky grin*

Cheers,
Vero

Alfred Powerpack and the Mac App Store (or not)

Note: Before I start, this only affects software obtained through the Mac App Store. Any software purchased outside of the Mac App Store isn’t affected by this and continues as before.

The Mac App Store and Sandboxing

The Mac App Store is currently in transition. From March 2012 (update: Apple delayed it until June 2012), all new submissions / updates need to be sandboxed.

Sandboxing is a way of protecting users from malicious or naughty software by severely restricting the access an application has to underlying resources. It also makes the app approval process easier for Apple as sandboxed apps simply cannot do things outside their own resources. While this works remarkably well on iOS (I am personally happy to be in the “walled garden” on my phone), it really changes the landscape for OS X applications.

As you know, Alfred isn’t a self-contained application like a game, graphics package or todo list. Many of the things Alfred does are to do with OS X itself… he searches, navigates and opens files and apps on your Mac, he runs AppleScript to interact with other applications, he even allows you to create and run lower-level shell or AppleScript extensions… he is basically your quick interface into the heart of OS X. This is where Alfred starts to throw his toys out of the [sand]box.

I would LOVE Alfred’s Powerpack in the Mac App Store

Having the Powerpack in the Mac App Store would not only bring me more revenue, but it’s also a trusted discovery channel for new users – I *know* Alfred would have significantly more Powerpack users by selling through this channel.

Alfred has always used safe, public APIs and been extremely well behaved. Nevertheless, sandboxing means that many of the “OS X allowed” Powerpack features mentioned above would need to be limited or removed if I wanted to continue selling through the Mac App Store from and after March 2012.

Therefore, the Powerpack won’t be going in the Mac App Store [quite yet]

Alfred’s users are most important in this decision. I want to do the best thing for users rather than maximising the money I could get from the Powerpack. As such, I will be keeping the Powerpack out of the Mac App Store until the shortcomings of sandboxing are fully understood and I can make a full evaluation of wether this suits Alfred or not.

ULTIMATELY: The scenario I want to avoid…

If the Powerpack went into the Mac App Store for v1.0 at the end of this month (which I could very well do) and then in March 2012, the Mac App Store sandboxing policy is strongly enforced, I would be unable to provide further updates through the Mac App Store without significantly changing or removing features which do not comply with the sandboxing policy.

I *WOULD NOT* want to provide an update to users that removes features which people are already using and enjoying just to get the latest version into the Mac App Store. This is a problem which may plague current apps in the Mac App Store as well as Alfred, and it wouldn’t be fair on anybody.

But what if you want the Powerpack?

Just remember, the Mac App Store is one of many ways to buy software for your Mac, and the sandbox restrictions only affect software sold / bought through the Mac App Store. Your freedom as a consumer still remains!

To make things easier for Alfred users, I have recently changed Alfred Powerpack’s payment process to use our own bespoke system based on the excellent Foxycart. You no longer need to sign up for Google Checkout to buy the Powerpack as we now accept Credit / Debit cards and PayPal directly. Foxycart is also heavily PCI and Safe Harbor compliant and we do not store credit card information, which means you can buy with the utmost confidence.

I do hope that the sandboxing guidelines are relaxed or that at least Apple provides further mechanisms to interact with OS X before March as I would love to use the Mac App Store as another way to bring the Powerpack to Alfred’s users.

Version 1.0 is just around the corner

This being said, Alfred is just about to hit 1.0, an extremely exciting time for me! He is better than ever and this is just the start of great things to come for him. Take a look at the change log to see what’s coming or, for the more adventurous, why not download the development version to have a play and help us test it :D

Also remember that buying the Powerpack now will save you some dosh as he is only £12 until v1.0 is released!

Cheers,
Andrew