The idea behind Bodega is that Mac users have never had a central place to find new, good quality software. It aims to replicate on the desktop what the App Store has done for the iPhone.
Bodega is completely free for both users and developers. It aims to be a one-stop shop for your software needs, all done through a simple and straight-forward interface. You can download a copy to get started.
Apologies for the occasional “pop” in this screencast – we’ll have it fixed for the next one!
Bodega Review Transcript
When opening Bodega, the first thing you’ll notice is the striking interface. To be perfectly honest, I both love and hate this noticably different experience. One the one hand, it’s incredibly refreshing to see a developer break the mould in terms of interface design. On the other, I hope it’s a move that is incredibly difficult to get right. It works brilliantly for Bodega, but I wouldn’t want this type of adventurous visual effect in software I use all the time – an email client for instance.
The first screen displays three prominent advertisements. This is the only source of revenue for Bodega, and advertisement slots seem very well designed and appropriate. You’re also presented with four main categories: New Releases, Shopkeepers Picks, Top Free Downloads, and Top Paid Downloads. These provide a handy way to find software that is selling well, or has recently been added to the store.
Scrolling down displays a range of recent articles from various popular Mac software sites, including AppStorm.
Other than looking at featured software, there are two main ways to find the application you’re looking for. A list of categories is present down the left hand side, covering most popular software areas. This works brilliantly at the moment, as Bodega only contains a few hundred hand-picked applications and categories are not over-populated.
Another method is to search, and this is likely to be more useful as the software catalog grows in size over the coming months.
Downloading and Purchasing
Let’s click through to an application to take a look at how downloading and purchasing software works.
The information page for an application contains a decent overview of the functionality on offer. You can see a short description and change log, read reviews from other Bodega users, and if you have the application installed on your Mac you can also write a review. You can also take a look at any recent press coverage. Screenshots are available, but viewing them isn’t quite as slick as those in the App Store.
If you’d like more detail, it’s simple to click through to the developer’s site (that’s if you can stop playing with this fun, swinging sign).
At present, downloading an application sends you to a download link which is opened in Safari. You install the application as normal, by dragging it to your Applications folder. It would be great to see this integrated into Bodega in a future version, to make the process completely seamless.
If you need to purchase an app, this is handled within Bodega through an intergrated web browser. It takes you to whichever payment provider is used by the developer. Again, this process isn’t particularly seamless as Bodega don’t act as a payment intermediary. That said, after buying an application, you can automatically save the receipt within Bodega for future reference.
The final feature of Bodega to take a look at is the in-built update functionality. Clicking “Applications” on the left will display a list of all the Bodega-enabled software currently installed on your Mac. The software automatically checks to see if you’re running the latest version of each application, and will provide a download link if not. As before, it would be really great if this update process could be seamlessly handled by Bodega itself and it’s something I’d like to see in a future release.
As you can see, Bodega is an incredibly promising start. The developers have taken a brave step into the desktop “app store” market, and have done so in a very stylish fashion. Not taking a cut of every sale has allowed them to get a wide range of developers on board from an early stage.
My main gripe with Bodega is the lack of real integration in downloading and purchasing software. The ability to automatically handle this for me would be the icing on the cake.
I really recommend giving Bodega a try, particular if you’re a new Mac user – it really does simplify the process of finding and downloading new software. If you’re a developer, listing your software is a no-brainer. It’s completely free to do so, and exposes you to a brand new audience of people who might like to try your application.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts about Bodega in the comments and let us what would you like to see from the next version of this application. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you again next time!