Think Hard About App Updates

The first thing you do when building an application is decide what it’s supposed to do, you don’t build a pretty interface then figure out what functions can fit inside that pretty interface. Once you’ve established what your application does it’s time to stick to your guns religiously.

###The Codebox Story

Quite a while ago I wrote about looking at applications for code snippet management. While I’ve never continued the series (it’s on my list still) I did use which failed hard after months of solid use, and now Codebox which just started failing.

Codebox updated with a number of new features for snippet management that are great but one update is pretty terrible since, in my opinion, it changes the exact reason I use the application.

###The Application Use

In my mind when looking for an application to house my code snippets all I want is decent syntax highlighting, a form of organization, and most importantly a global keyboard shortcut to access them. That last one accounts for 95% of what I’m looking for in a code snippet application.

The recent update to Codebox changed how my 95% need works and makes the application about 80% less useful. While previously you’d type a keyword and then hit enter to paste it in to whatever application was selected, that’s not what happens anymore. Now when you hit enter you’ve got a few options like:

  • Back
  • Paste in to whatever app was in focus last
  • copy to clipboard
  • edit code
  • Reveal in Codebox
Great more steps to paste a snippet in Codebox
Great more steps to paste a snippet in Codebox

The worst part of this is that the default selected item sends you back to what you just searched instead of pasting. Now what was a few letter and the enter key adds some arrow keys (not easily accessible from home row) which just slows down the process. People are using code snippet applications to make things faster not to add step to a repetitive process.


Don’t get me wrong Codebox is way better than since it didn’t delete my library of code snippets randomly (and over a few different versions) so the update isn’t a total failure. I just think that in this case the developer saw features and instead of sticking to the core of what the application is added them, which has decreased it overall core function.

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