Witch 2.0

There’s a problem with Witch: In terms of usage, it’s a simple utility; and there’s not a lot of spiffy new features we would want to add to its straightforward functionality. But under the hood, things change. There’s a lot of things you can or even have to do to make sure Witch remains reliable when faced with future versions of Mac OS X. That’s why Witch 2.0 may seem like a small step to you, but judging from the developer’s point of view, it’s not.

Now, you know how these things go: Whenever someone tells you how he is working really hard for something, there’s a certain chance he’ll end up asking you for money. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do today — after having thought about it for months.

Witch has been distributed as donationware for years, and it was a great time. I loved how users who just couldn’t afford paying more than $2 were able to donate those $2 and feel good about it. I know I always did. But in the long run, it doesn’t really work. If I’m supposed to keep Witch up to date, it will have to be worthwhile; and donationware doesn’t cut it.

Too many users misunderstand my idea of donationware as freeware, and this problem is aggravated by the fact that most Mac news sites and software update providers aren’t willing to make a difference between donationware and freeware. I’ve argued with some of them for years, to no avail. And I understand their point of view. Donationware is hardly an unequivocal term; and if I were to sell a magazine or make a news site successful, I’d probably prefer to allure customers with huge freeware collections, too.

So let’s get rid of the uncertainty that always surrounds donationware. Witch 2.0 is shareware, and you’re expected to pay €9.95 if you plan on using it regularly — unless you’ve already donated for Witch, that is. For us, appreciating past donations from our most loyal supporters is a question of honor.

We’ll start sending out Witch licenses to those who have supported Witch in the past during the next few days. But if you can’t wait, or if you get the feeling we might have forgotten to add you to our list, feel free to drop us a message. For example, I remember receiving some donations via snail mail years ago, and I’m not sure if I can still attribute those to e-mail addresses.

Whew. Now, what are the actual changes in Witch 2.0 — apart from that fancy new license field in Witch’s preference pane? As I’ve said, you won’t even notice most of the changes right now, and in addition to those under-the-hood things, there’s one feature we really wanted to add, but couldn’t: full spaces support. Witch appears in all of your spaces now, but it remains agnostic of which space a given window is in. We just haven’t found a reliable way to gain that piece of information yet — it’s as if the mighty Apple doesn’t want applications to know which space they live in.

But there’s also good news: We’ve added shortcuts for jumping to windows directly (see “Behavior” > “Windows List” > “Show shortcut badges”). So if you want to activate the 7th window in Witch’s list, type “6”, and you’re there. (We’re starting with “0” for the current window.)

And we’re very happy to report that we’ve fixed one of the meanest bugs ever — namely the one that sometimes garbled the windows list’s sorting order when sorting by window activity, a.k.a. “the iTerm bug”.

Comments are closed.