Continu: Keep Your Most Important Apps Open

I like anything that can make my workday run more smoothly and remove those little stumbling blocks that slow me down. Continu is just such an app. While you’re watching old episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on YouTube or however else you spend your time on your computer during the day, Continu is working silently in the background. It can either make sure your applications stay open no matter what, whether they crash or you accidentally exit out of an app, and it can open applications when triggered.

How helpful is it really, though? We’ll take a look!

Continue What You Were Doing

I have a few applications that will quit entirely when I hit the red X instead of just closing the window or minimizing the app back to the dock. That’s the sort of thing I expect from older incarnations of Windows, not my trusty OS X, so I end up quitting some of my third-party apps accidentally. To automatically open those applications back up, first open up Continu and click Add Application.

Add an application to Continu

Add an application to Continu

Continu will open up your Applications folder, and you just need to select which app you want to keep open. Choose whether you want the closed app to relaunch in the background, and make sure the app is “enabled” in Continu. If you have an app you rely on but isn’t the most stable of the bunch and unfortunately tends to crash on you, that would be another great one to add to Continu.

Create Application Triggers

When I start work for the day, I tend to open a lot of the same applications, all of which have to stay in my Login Items, Dock, or menu bar, so that I’ll have quick access to them. With Continu, though, I can get rid of a lot of that clutter by using its “parent” feature. If the parent app is open, Continu will open all of the child apps, so I only have to open one or two apps in the morning, and Continu will do the rest. As long as the parent apps stay open, Continu will make sure all of the child apps do, too.

Parent applications can work as triggers.

Parent applications can work as triggers.

To set up parent apps, add an application to Continu the same as before, but this time take a look below “Launch in Background.” Click Add next to the empty space for a parent; select the parent application that will trigger the child application to open. A parent application can trigger as many other applications to open as you’d like, but the parent itself doesn’t have to be in Continu and can be opened manually.

Another great way to set up parent and child applications is to create workflows. If you have a bunch of apps you always use together, like a video editor, video player, and an uploader, you can set the video editor as the trigger for the other two applications. Any of your triggers can be disabled at any time without removing the app from Continu, should you find you don’t actually need all of those applications open at the same time.

What It’s Missing

Continu works best when it’s running in the background, and you’ll want it to open on login, but unfortunately, that’s not an option in the application preferences. Sometimes you can set an app to open at login by right-clicking on its Dock icon, but Continu only exists in the menu bar and doesn’t have a Dock icon. If you want Continu running in the background all the time, you have to manually open it every time you turn on your computer or add it to your Login Items in System Preferences yourself.

You can remove an app but you can't set Continu to open at login.

You can remove an app but you can’t set Continu to open at login.

While there is a relatively easy fix for this problem if you add Continu to Login Items, for an app that otherwise works seamlessly in the background, the developer seems to have overlooked something major. The whole point of Continu is that it keeps apps running while you do other stuff; you’re not supposed to have to think about it. It should just work.

Final Thoughts

Continu is one of those applications that tries to scratch that one itch that keeps bugging you, and it does a pretty good job. I do get legitimately annoyed at applications that close when I click the X traffic light, so an app that can spare me some of that annoyance won’t just increase my productivity but may lower my blood pressure, too.

You can edit all of your applications in Continu.

You can edit all of your applications in Continu.

I think the real benefit in Continu comes from setting up workflows via the parent app system, though. Continu can automate opening up all the apps I have to go around clicking when I want to start working on a project, and that really can save me some time in my day.

I wish Continu would open on login, a major oversight on the part of the developer, and I think $3.99 may be a bit steep for what Continu accomplishes, nice though it may be. Hefty price aside, I do like that I can pop Continu into Login Items or open it manually and have all my apps right there. It’s up to you to decide how much it’s worth to you to be saved from the accidental quit and to have all your apps ready to be popped open whenever you trigger them.


Summary

Nice for opening applications when you need them and keeping them open, but the price is a bit high.

8
  • Andreas

    Can’t you just add it to the list of apps that start at log-in under user settings?

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      That’s what I was referring to when I said “Login Items.” It’s found in System Preferences. :)

      While that is a fix, it should still be an option within the app itself, especially an app that you expect to run all the time. While you and I know about Login Items, my mom (and probably even my husband) wouldn’t know how to set Continu to open at system launch.

  • http://zenangst.com Christoffer Winterkvist

    First of, thanks for the review :)
    Loads of new features are coming in the next version of Continu, adding it to Login items is one of them, I’m also looking into adding Location and Time-based “watchers”.

    You can read more about upcoming features here: http://zenangst.com/app/continu/releasenotes

    8 of 10, not that bad! :)

  • Rel

    Just curious, you talking about productivity, shouldn’t you be using Cmd+H to hide your app, is faster and easier? and if you really want to minimise, there’s always Cmd+M ?

    • http://ampersarnie.co.uk Paul Taylor

      Or if you just want to close a window/tab without quitting, CMD+W should be sufficient enough without messing about with the traffic lights and 3rd party apps.

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      I like to use my trackpad, too. :)

  • Johan Ylinenjarvi

    Of you run any server applications this program is easily worth it’s price.

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      That’s a great thought; thanks for the comment!

  • Vito Sorelli

    In defense of sanity, I have to say: $4 is not “a hefty price” for any software (Try buying a fast-food meal for less) — especially not for anything you use enough to want started on login. We seem to have a case of freeloading here.

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