Code by Kevin, Programming, code, business, and other pursuits
Kevin Walzer, software developer.
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My applications are all now priced at $10, reduced from $29.99.
For years I've resisted the race to the bottom that seems to be prevalent in software pricing for the Mac and Windows; my attitude is that "price is an indicator of quality" and I did not want to sell my applications short.
It's hard to ignore the market forever, though, and facts are facts: software is lower in price than it was 10 years ago. Users expect it. An application that retails for $50 today might be a "pro" app that would have cost $100-200 a decade ago.
My apps, being fairly simple utilities, are simply not competitive at a $30 price point in today's market. Hence, the reduced price.
I'm hopeful this will result in a few more sales, as most of my apps do not sell well at the higher price point. But I don't expect to see a huge jump in revenue. Instead, this is just a likely-overdue move to bring my products' price to where the market has judged similar products should be placed.
Another pricing model is becoming increasingly common in software: subscriptions. Apple is apparently pushing developers on its platform to adopt this model wholesale. I have a lot of app subscriptions, mainly for Adobe and Microsoft products, so I'm familiar with this approach from a user perspective. I'm not sure at this point how to implement it in my own apps, or whether this even makes sense for small utilities.
So for now, $10 for an initial purchase is where I am. I have no plans to change my free upgrades for life policy.
I've just released version 3.0 of FileMorph, my file modification tool for macOS and Windows. The biggest changes in this release are the introduction of a scripting API for Windows based on Dynamic Data Exchange, which I am gradually rolling out into all my Windows products. This release also includes an improved UI on Windows (no more console!), and various bug fixes for macOS and Windows.
As always, upgrades to my products are free to registered users.Thu, 19 Jul 2018
We've released updated versions of our mobile travel apps, The Lake Effect (Great Lakes travel) and Snowbird Shores (Atlantic coast travel). Both feature modest UI updates. Both are free downloads for iPhone and iPad.Mon, 04 Jun 2018
Amid the ongoing updates to my apps to reflect my transition to a new server, I've also assembled a more substantial update to Stringscan,, my text search application for Mac and Windows.
In addition to the updates for the source code repository, Stringscan also features a re-worked search algorithm and significant changes to how I deploy it on Windows. Here are the details:
As always, Stringscan 1.2 is a free update for registered users. If you are looking for an easy-to-use text search tool, give it a try.Sun, 22 Apr 2018
Because of Apple's decision to deprecate its Server.app product, I've had to move my Internet presence to an external hosting service, and I've migrated my source code repository as a result.
Here is my new repo:
I'm in the process of pushing out minor updates to all my apps, mainly containing minor bug fixes and links to the new source code repository. More extensive updates will come later this year.Fri, 29 Dec 2017
I've released version 4.0 of TextSweep, my search-and-replace tool for macOS and Windows.
The big feature in this release is a new scripting interface, for both Mac and Windows. The scripting interface makes it possible to drive TextSweep from other programs. While the specific nature of TextSweep does not require it to return data to other programs, it can still be called as a helper tool from other applications that need search and replace functionality.
As with my other apps, Mac scripting support is offered for AppleScript through my aem library. For Windows, after looking at several different API's for inter-application communication, I chose Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE).
The selection of DDE is not a common one these days, so I wanted to offer a bit of explanation. Like Apple Events on macOS (the underlying mechanism for AppleScript) and the Component Object Model (COM) on Windows, DDE provides a mechanism for communicating data and executing code across applications. DDE is a very old technology on Windows, dating back to Windows 2.0, and is relatively simple compared to the much more powerful COM. In this case, however, simplicity is a virtue--DDE is easy to implement, is supported natively on Windows by Tcl, and can be exposed without issue from other programming languages that incorporate a Tcl/Tk GUI. An excellent extension library, TWAPI, supports COM and greatly simplifies the process of setting up a COM interface--but it is still overkill for my needs.
As always, TextSweep is a free upgrade for registered users.Thu, 14 Dec 2017
Nearly three years ago I announced a significant overhaul of Tk on the Mac that amounted to a redesign of major portions of the GUI library. The changes were intended to address flaws that had emerged in the initial, whole-cloth migration of Tk from the Carbon to the Cocoa API by Daniel Steffen. At the time I envisioned that this overhaul would put Tk on sound, stable footing going forward, and would require only routine maintenance and the occasional feature enhancement.
Ah, the best-laid plans of developers. Tk on the Mac in fact was NOT in a complete place, and later that summer, Marc Culler, who contributed many of the critical patches for Tk-Cocoa 2.0, and I did some additional major refinements. At that point Marc's contributions were so substantial that he essentially became the co-maintainer of Tk on the Mac, and I added his name to the author list.
Over the past six months, we have gone through an additional heavy round of development on Tk, to the point where I consider this yet another major iteration of the toolkit and not just an incremental set of updates. Should this round be called, informally at least, Tk-Cocoa 2.5? I think so.
This round of development was led by Christian Gollwitzer, who implemented some long-broken functionality in file dialogs; Marc Culler, who fixed some major crashing bugs on macOS 10.13 and implemented several major, low-level improvements to drawing and image code; and Francois Vogel, who worked closely with Marc on the drawing code specifically with the text widget and who has undertaken an ongoing cleanup of the Tk test suite on macOS.
Here's a quick overview:
While I did most of the early heavy lifting on updating Tk-Cocoa and was later joined by Marc, in this round I contributed far less code. Marc has done most of the substantial work, with Christian making a major contribution with the file dialogs, and Francois has provided ongoing consulting on integrating these changes into other aspects of Tk. It's great to have more developers working on Tk on the Mac these days; it has allowed us to make infinitely faster progress on fixing bugs. It also adds far more expertise to specific problems; Marc and Francois have expertise in certain areas that I've never been able to master, and Christian's work would have taken me some time to equal. I'm grateful for their efforts.
Right now this work can be downloaded from the core-8-6-branch of Tk at its core development site, and it will soon make its way into the next stable point release. Keep an eye out for it, and give it a try.Mon, 04 Dec 2017 Sun, 15 Oct 2017
I've released verison 7.7 of PortAuthority, my GUI for the MacPorts software management system for macOS. This release is primarily for stability and refinement on 10.13/High Sierra, which is now the minimum supported OS version. User reports and developer observation of crashes in PortAuthority led to a great deal of bug fixing work in the underlying Tcl/Tk libraries, which is now complete.
As always, this release is free to registered users, and I encourage all users of MacPorts to give it a try. PortAuthority is the oldest, longest-developed GUI for MacPorts. If you want to look at the source code, it is available from https://fossil.codebykevin.com/fossil.cgi/portauthority/timeline under the MIT license.Sat, 23 Sep 2017
I've released version 1.1 of Stringscan, my text search tool for Mac and Windows. This release includes a number of UI enhancements to make using it more intuitive and simple. As always, updates are free to registered users.