Under The Microscope

Delicious Follow-up

Well, who knew I’d cause such a $#%tstorm? When I posted my Delicious Generation article, I certainly didn’t expect the tremendous level of feedback we received. It was certainly great to see. I thought I’d post a quick follow-up to address a few items.

The Point

The goal of my article wasn’t to bash any particular application, or decry the state of Macintosh development in general. Judging by some of the comments around the web, it seems like the article got plenty of skims, and people read what they wanted to read. Next time I’ll have to cut down on the word count. To put it simply, the point of the article was to open the door to discussion. In that regard, it certainly succeeded.

Sizzle Vs. Steak

Specifically, I wanted to talk about sizzle vs. steak, and striking the right balance between the two when developing software on the Mac. I do believe some recent applications and promotions have swung far too far in the direction of sizzle. Some of that is a matter of taste. I don’t think that’s sustainable for a full-fledged business, and I think that’s an important thing to consider. But without question, there’s a spectrum here, and applications can fall at many points along it and still be great. It’s the ends that are dangerous.

On Delicious Library

Many people took offense to my “lumping in” Delicious Library with other applications. I wasn’t attempting to slam any applications, so I didn’t really anticipate this would be an issue. As an example of style vs. substance, Delicious Library certainly strikes a relatively good balance. The point in invoking its name is that it served as an inspiration for many of the newer applications. It acted as perhaps the grandfather of these newer applications, nothing more.

Other Items

We heard some other one-off comments that probably aren’t worth addressing. I will anyway though, because I’m a glutton for punishment.

“It sounds like they’re just pissed that their niche audio software isn’t selling.”

We of course appreciate the “concern”, but Rogue Amoeba is doing quite well. In the past 15 months we’ve doubled in size from our original three founders, hiring three new employees.

Our newest application Fission looks like it will be a strong third seller for us, possibly even taking over the number two spot from Airfoil. Meanwhile, our #1 seller Audio Hijack Pro has seen great response from podcasters in the past year, in addition to its standard audio recording market.

About the only thing that’s not selling well? Airfoil for Windows. So it goes.

“They sound like a bunch of whiners…”

I think if one takes the time to read the article, it would be difficult to make this claim. The point of the article certainly wasn’t to gripe, but to open the door to discussion. For the skimmers, only a shorter word count (or prettier pictures) would have fixed this.

“They’re just jealous of the pretty new applications!”

Do I wish we had prettier graphics and interfaces? Absolutely, the prettier the better! We’re certainly taking steps in that direction. I believe Airfoil 2 and Fission are both good examples of moving away from complete standard Cocoa interfaces, and to a custom design that still fits OS X. However, the issue isn’t just with looks, but with user interaction. A beautiful application that doesn’t work right is far worse than an ugly application that follows standard behavior. Either way, this isn’t an issue of jealousy.


I think the ultimate goal of getting more people engaged in the discussion by posting this article was accomplished. Some people think things are just fine in Mac development, while others are incredibly frustrated. Wherever you stand though, discussing the issue is sure to spark new ideas and lead to new developments.

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