Ushering in some changes in Usher

Today we’re releasing Usher 1.1.7, but before upgrading, you should read this entire blog post, so you understand what’s happening with Usher going forward.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The minimum system requirement for Usher 1.1.7 is OS X 10.7 or newer; if you’re still running 10.6, DO NOT INSTALL THESE UPDATES. You can download older versions on our support page.

Why 10.7 or newer? Apple recently declared an old security-related API dead (i.e. deprecated), and recommended that all developers switch to the newer API, which we did. But that new API requires 10.7 or newer.

First up, in case you missed it, Usher is not presently available on the App Store. This change may be temporary (if we can resolve some issues with Apple), or it may be permanent (at least for this major version of Usher).

Second, Usher’s new price is $25 (on our site only, for now), down from $35. Why drop the price? Partly because we’d like more people to give Usher a look. But primarily because this version removes the ability to download videos from YouTube and Vimeo. Why did we remove this feature?

Both YouTube and Vimeo technically allow video downloading, but only for videos that are explicitly marked as downloadable. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way for Usher to tell the downloadable status of a given video, so it tries to download every video. As this is a violation of those sites’ terms of service, we don’t feel it’s right to leave the feature in Usher.

In addition, this feature is support intensive, because it breaks when either site makes even trivial changes to their pages—and both sites seem to make such changes regularly. So instead of spending time coding new features, we were spending our time trying to figure out how to make downloading work again. In the long run, this isn’t good for us, and it’s not good for our users.

Please note that Usher still includes two ways of downloading videos from many sites: The File > Open URLs menu item, and the Usher > Integrate With Browser bookmarklet. You can read more about both of these features in Usher’s help file.

There are also many web sites that exist solely to help you download videos from the web. Many of them work more reliably than does Usher, so you’re not out of solutions if you’re interested in downloading web videos. Finding such sites, however, is left as an exercise to the reader…but if you can use a search engine, you won’t have too much trouble with that exercise.

6 Responses to “Ushering in some changes in Usher”

  1. Eduardo says:

    Are there any new features to be expected from Usher at all? I have had it for over a year and a half and it seems very very little has changed. I for one would like an option to set a default player for all media in Usher, I prefer to use VLC and just use Usher as a Media library manager. I know I can right click and select the player I want to use, but I’d rather not do this every time I add a movie to my library. Thanks!

    • Rob Griffiths says:

      The current version of Usher is actually quite old, and needs a full-body makeover before we try to add major new features. We don’t have a timeline for the next major upgrade, but a better way of specifying a default player for all movies is certainly on our list of things to look at.

      We have a huge list of things we’d like to do in the next release, so Usher’s far from dead. However, it isn’t a big seller, and probably never will be, so we have to prioritize where we spend our energy. (With that said, both Peter and I use and rely on Usher, so there’s a big incentive to get the next release done!)

      regards;
      -rob.

  2. Sander says:

    What is the chance Usher 2.0 will come out soon and I have to buy it again at full price?
    I’m thinking about buying it, but don’t want to buy twice in a short time.

    • Rob Griffiths says:

      Usher 2.0 will not come out soon; it’s currently existing as a set of design ideas and desired features. So it’s a ways out … but even if it were coming put shortly, as a buyer of Usher 1, you’d be entitled to a discounted Usher 2 purchase (assuming you bought it directly from us; there are no App Store upgrade discounts, other than a launch-timeframe special sale, which we typically do, too).

      regards,
      -rob.

  3. doug says:

    Thanks for the update. I think Usher is a great piece of software. I use it exclusively to manage my video library. Focusing on improving the program makes sense over maintaining the ability to download; a feature I personally don;t use.

    Cheers,
    Doug