Weekly Poll: Abandon Apps That Aren’t Actively Developed?

It sure is frustrating when an app you love gets sidelined by its developers. From the recent demise of Twitter for Mac, Sparrow being bought out by Google and promptly sidelined for Gmail.com, and Read Later being turned into Pocket for Mac and leaving Instapaper support behind, I’ve had a number of apps in my own workflow that have been abandoned lately.

It’s a normal problem we all face, and it’s not surprising at all when lite apps and games don’t get updated. But when something we rely on gets abandoned, it can be far more frustrating. You’re left with the option of continuing to rely on an app that might break with a future OS X update, or searching for something else that might fit the bill.

For me, I’ve given Pocket for Mac a shot, switching away from Instapaper for a trial run. I’ve bought Tweetbot, as I’d already been using its beta for months. But I’m still using Sparrow, as there’s no other mail app that works as good for me. I’m sure hoping something else better will come along before it gets abandoned for good.

How about you?


  • Erica

    I was just thinking about this recently. I wouldn’t be so sad about Sparrow if only Google had kept the development going like Twitter and Pocket did for Tweetie and ReadNow. All three of my favorite apps by the way. As much as I enjoy discovering new apps, it is frustrating when you fall in love with one and then they are left behind.

  • Stef

    MobileRSS is an example of a fantastic iOS app that was arguably the best RSS reader (Google Reader) until iOS 5 came along. The developer ceased all development on the app and persistence of bugs relating to iOS 5 incompatibility rendered the app pretty much useless. So I had to move on to other apps (begrudgingly) and stumble over (read: pay for) several alternative apps (FeedlerRSS, I hate you. SO much.) I ultimately found Reeder which I am happy with.

  • http://russe.de Russe

    Same with iView MediaPro that was bought from Microsoft and turned into Expression Media (bad) and now bought from Phase One and turned into Media Pro (worse). I’m still happy with iView MediaPro here.

    • waysaz

      Russe, exactly the app I answered for! Expression Media actually fixed some iView bugs, though I preferred iView’s interface. Tried the MediaPro beta and … ugh.

      I make catalogs of all kinds of graphics files in EM, on Mountain Lion, on a touchy Windows server at the office. Bravo to the iView team – hope Redmond made you rich.

  • Alfihar

    I really like the RSS app Pulp, it was a sad day when the developers were bought out by Facebook and appear to have stopped development. The annoying thing is that Pulp for the most part works really well, it just has a few bugs with the GUI.

    I’m currently living with the bugs but looking for a replacement RSS reader that works well, is being actively supported and doesn’t require Google.

  • JD

    It depends on the app and how important it is to my workflow or enjoyment. If I can find an actively developed equivalent I’m happy to jump ship, but if my requirements are very specific there may not be an alternative. In that case I have no choice but hope that the app will continue to run on newer software. If possible, I try to stick to apps that use non-proprietary formats, so if the worst happens I can at least still use my files (e.g. when Evernote became beset with formatting and sync bugs I moved my notes to plain text files and now only use EN to organise PDF scans).

    One thing I would say, though, is that people dump “abandon-ware” too quickly. There are complaints on iTunes when an app hasn’t had an update for 6 months or less. As long as the app still works what’s the problem? Some apps come back from the dead after a year or more, like Byline or Japanese, both excellent apps. A solid app that reliably does its job is worth just as much or more to me than one that constantly adds new bells and whistles that I may or may not want or need.

  • Phil

    Some applications are not really abandoned
    but become less ‘useful’ than before…

    Example: Soho Notes from Chronos
    I was very happy with that application
    but unfortunately, since the shutdown of Mobile Me, they have no more solution for synchronizing between multiple Mac’s
    (It works yet with iPo, iPad and iPhone via Wifi).

    And it seems that they will not propose quickly a ‘decent’ solution…
    ( http://www.chronosnet.com/blog/index.html )

  • Sigilist

    This is a somewhat naive perspective. Two different influences are at play here, probably more. It the case bought-out, absorbed software, such as Sparrow, this practice has been going in since the earliest days of megacorporations. I remember using a program called HomeSite for webdevelopment quite a few years back. I was bought our by Macromedia, which at the time was producing Dreamweaver (and overall getting spanked by the free Homesite). Homesite was turned commercial by Macromedia (which was then bought out by Adobe). Homesite then vanished… and comparatively, even after Dreamweaver absorbed all of the best of Homesite, it was still bloatware and a one-size-fits-[NOT]-all.

    This is the nature of business. It has little to do with developers most of the time. And when it comes to free software (or such with a free lesser version) were some things change in how the net works, then yes, there’s choice to be made by the developer about whether or not it is worth it to do a lot of retrofitting… or move on to start something else that fits the time and place.

  • http://www.strshp.com Prescott Perez-Fox

    I usually keep the existing app until it becomes functionally obsolete, such as through an OS upgrade, or a change to the core systems like MobileMe on which the app may rely.

  • Winter

    i decided to abandon sparrow since its now owned by google and they aren’t doing anything with it. I provided Apple with feedback hoping they may improve upon the Mail app and incorporate some of the features sparrow has (cleaned up sidebar for one), and any other features they think will make Mail better.

  • sheryl

    I was holding on to Sparrow, but it’s force quitting for some reason for me, so I give up. Guess I’ll try mail.app again :/

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