In today’s day and age where mobility is essential, we’ve seen a huge proliferation of increasingly smaller laptops, led by the MacBook Air’s success. With smaller laptops come smaller screens. While this is great for mobility it does come with a cost. Screen real-estate!
Not everybody is fortunate enough to work on a big beautiful 27″ iMac or a shiny new Retina MacBook Pro (I know I’m not). Most, whether by choice or necessity, work on small screens, and more often than we realize find ourselves jugling windows around or Alt-Tabbing between them.
Thanks to SnappyApp, a delightfully simple app that’s proven to be oh so useful, this has mostly become a thing of the past for me. Read on to find out why.
SnappyApp is a small menubar app with a simple goal: quickly capturing an area of the screen. The resulting window or Snap floats above all other windows until you close it. The snap is basically a static screenshot of anything you’ve seen, so you could clip an image of a site, but a video playing in it wouldn’t keep playing in the snap. You would, however, still see any info in the snap for your reference.
There are two ways of capturing a Snap. Choose Take Snap from the menubar, or by triggering the keyboard shortcut (the default is ⇧⌘2, but you can change that in the preferences).
Once activated, your cursor will change into a crosshair. Drag over the area you wish to capture, release, and you’re done. The selected area will seemingly pop off the screen with a message informing you to Double click to close the snap (these help messages can be disabled in the Preferences). You can now drag your Snap anywhere on screen. Now, change to whichever app you choose, and your snap will remain visible.
You can have multiple Snaps open at once, placing them side by side or even overlapping. The last Snap will always have the highest z-index, and will thus float above the previous Snaps. This way, you can grab all the info you need from other windows or tabs, and keep it visible while you’re working in another app. With a quick double-click, the snap will disappear, and your workplace will be clean again.
One great feature of SnappyApp is that you are able to share your Snaps. You can send them by email, share on Facebook, pin it to Pinterest, or share them via Snappy’s site. Email and Facebook are pretty straight forward so I won’t delve into that, but the Snappy sharing is worth taking a closer look at.
When you choose to share via SnappyApp, your Snap is copied to their site and a private URL is placed on your clipboard. A FAQ on their site states that snaps are “stored on the Snappy servers for a while, after which they are deleted and the URL is no longer available”. This information was a little vague for my taste, so I contacted the developers. They were kind enough to elaborate on how long a little while is:
Currently, snaps are kept on the server for 30 days.
When asked if they had plans for any further integration and sharing options they said:
We plan to submit a new version to Apple, including new sharing options and other freshly-coded, coolness-packed features by the end of the month. Generally speaking, SnappyApp has stayed in the review process for 8–10 days, so we expect the new version to be available in the AppStore mid-November.
To be clear, some of the proposed options are Twitter, Flickr, and Picasa sharing.
Reuse: Snaps From the Past
Once you close a Snap, it may seem as though it’s lost forever, but fortunately that is not the case. You can open Snaps From the Past straight via the menubar, where you have access to all your previous Snaps.
Once you amass a large number of Snaps, the many filtering options will come in handy. These let you filter snaps by when a Snap was taken, Snaps shared on a specific network and finally which app it’s from (referring to the frontmost app at the time of the Snap).
There are buttons on the titlebar that allow you to Quicklook, Delete and Get Info on a Snap. These options are also available from the context menu as are the others previously seen. The only thing new here is Open Snap, which simply makes the selected Snap float once again, efectively allowing you to reuse Past Snaps.
It is possible to change the title of a Snap from the Get Info panel. This is particularly useful if you intend to search by Snap Title to find Snaps
The Good, The Bad and Final Thoughts
As I’ve already stated, SnappyApp’s sharing features are great. Sure you can accomplish similar tasks with apps such as CloudApp, Droplr, or Skitch, to name just a few sharing apps, but that fact that you can share something you previously “floated” is a great timesaver. The default filters available in the Snaps From the Past browser really make finding things a breeze and turn and unruly mass of Snaps into something manageable.
However, in my use of SnapyApp I’ve found a few aspects lacking. Namely that there is no simple way of reusing a Snap in another app. You either have to copy and paste or drag from the Snaps Browser into another app. Speaking of the browser, the fact that the only way to reopen a Snap is from the context menu, when there are buttons to Quicklook, Delete and Get Info, is a huge oversight.
While not perfect, it’s a great free alernative to ScreenFloat, providing most of the same features and adding new ones. I for one am looking forward to the next release in anticipation of the goodies promised.
What are your thoughts?