August 15, 2021

1password Abandons its Native Mac App

Jason Snell, on sixcolors.com:

A banner Mac app and app developer has abandoned a platform-native app for the same web-based wrapper it’s using on Windows. Even if it’s the best Electron app you’ve ever seen, it won’t be the same—and more than that, it says something painful about the future of Mac software.

Jason put in words my conflicting initial feelings regarding 1Passwords 8 move to Electron + Rust.

Still, my fatalistic reaction was tempered as first looks of the beta version started coming out:

The end to my hysterics came with Michael Fey post on blog.1password.com regarding how they ended with the current front-end:

Ultimately we decided for a two-prong approach. We would build two Mac apps. One written in SwiftUI that targeted the latest operating systems and another using web UI that allowed us to cover older OSes.

This would have been what I expected to happen — what an old school macOS dev shop would have done. Yet, no plan survives encountering reality (as in, Apple’s APIs):

Despite the fact that SwiftUI allowed us to share more code than ever between iOS and macOS, we still found ourselves building separate implementations of certain components and sometimes whole features to have them feel at home on their target OS.

They tried, they planned for it, but it didn’t work out as expected. It still stings, because 10 years ago AgileBits would have never considered not having and fully native app. It’s that loss that bothers me, not so much the front-end tech stack. Specially given my current most used app, is an electron infidel.


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