Updates: AppFresh is still under development. It’s not ready for prime time use and acts as an example project. There are issues with some software not being listed with the updated versions correctly. On the other hand, Sparkle provides a great framework for developers.
Even though we live in an era where the Apple Mac Store allows its users to easily find, install and keep their applications up to date, there is still something lacking. What about those applications purchased outside of the app store? Last time I checked, you were on your own if you think that this will update non-Mac App Store software. Well that is not entirely true. In some instances free software will be updated, but not other software. And to be honest, the whole thing appears to be pretty convoluted. Paid apps purchased outside of the app store are non-updating. Not really too down with this? Neither was I. So I ended up looking for an alternative.
By no means something that is going to seriously replace the functionality of OS X updates or even the Mac App Store, it could however be an interesting alternative assuming the project manages to keep itself afloat. The idea behind the project seems simple enough: install the updating tool, allow it to provide you with updates for all of your software as supplied by http://osx.iusethis.com/. It’s really quite something. Too bad it’s still in development stages while the Mac App Store is being used right this very minute.
Where things are going to likely get interesting is mixing and matching of software that was already owned. This article about updating existing OS X applications indicates there may be some issues you need to be concerned with. So based on this, I see room for tools like AppFresh to pick up the pieces where perhaps the Mac App Store dropped the ball. After all, it’s not the end users fault the app store isn’t able to sort things out. All that matters is there’s likely frustration to be had by all.
To Mac Store or Not
Sometimes easier isn’t always better. While the Mac App Store looks cool, I already have enough to worry about with the next potential exploit to iTunes accounts. So adding to this by putting the mix with yet another hub of opportunity isn’t really in my bucket of necessity. Besides, unlike iOS, I can install OS X software without “needing” to rely on any sort of app store. So to me, this just feels like I am dumbing down the experience.
For those of you looking to update their Mac software with ease, going with the App Store makes sense. But be warned, existing software can be put into jeopardy. So it’s best to stick with new titles. And also remember that just because you haven’t experienced something first hand doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. So be aware and install safely.