TextExpander 5.0: Taking Stock

A few days have passed since the release of TextExpander 5.0, so it’s time to share what we’ve learned from this release.

Upgrade Overlay

This is our first paid upgrade to use the new upgrade overlay. We made an error in testing, so it shows Version 500 (like 5.0.0) rather than Version 5. We got some well-deserved ribbing from users about this mistake.

The overlay ensures that users know TextExpander 5 is a paid upgrade so that they don’t reflexively hit “Install Update” without reading the update text. This has helped us avoid a lot of anger, confusion, and support mail which arises when a user unintentionally updates to a paid upgrade, as was rather common with PDFpen 7.

Some users have reported the overlay nags them. The overlay only appears when the update window is shown. To avoid it, reduce the checking frequency in the Update preferences, or turn off update checking altogether.

Cutoff Date Typo

The cutoff date for free upgrades is January 1, 2015. Due to an error integrating localizations, we show the cutoff date from TextExpander 4 in French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. The software enforces the correct date, but the display reflects the typo. Most users figured this out on their own, and some wrote for support which allowed us to clarify. We’re sorry for this, and we’ll fix this in our next update.

Error when moving settings file

The worst issue we’ve encountered is that in some cases, OS X failed to recognize our new file extensions (.textexpandersettings and .textexpanderalias). Users experienced this as an “Unknown error when moving settings file” when trying to save their settings to a new location in the Sync preferences. Fortunately, the workaround is easy. Use a tool such as Cocktail or Onyx to rebuild the Launch Services database. Or, delete and re-download TextExpander 5, which apparently forces OS X to update its Launch Services entry for TextExpander.

Display and default font size preferences aren’t saved

If a user sets the display font size for plain text or the default font size for formatted text, this won’t be saved when they quit and re-launch TextExpander. This bug will be fixed in our next update.

Dock covers purchase window

Some users report they’ve been unable to purchase because the Dock covers the buttons at the bottom of the purchase window. The workaround is to temporarily check “Automatically hide and show the Dock” in the Dock pane of System Preferences. We’ll fix this in our next update.

JavaScript for Automation (JSA) scripts return extra newline

These are executed via the osascript terminal command, and it appears that command always adds a newline to its output. We will strip that newline in a future update. In the meantime, you can ‘wrap’ a JSA script in a shell script to strip the newline character:

echo -n "%snippet:jsjs%" | tr -d '\n'

Secure Input Notification

Many users have noted that the Secure Input notifications are too frequent or intrusive and have asked for an option to turn them off. We expect to provide that in a future update. Here’s more info on secure input, if you’re interested.

Plain text password suggestions

When an app requests a password without secure input enabled, TextExpander is able to observe and thus suggest the text. An example of this would be Terminal. Apparently, OS X can’t detect when Terminal is requesting a password. That’s why Terminal has an option in its menu to toggle Secure Keyboard Entry. TextExpander excludes Terminal from Suggestions by default. We can’t control how other apps handle passwords, but they certainly shouldn’t allow themselves to be observed by user-authorized key loggers, such as TextExpander.

If a plain text password appears in TextExpander’s Suggested Snippets group, you can select it and choose “Drop Suggestion” to ensure that it is never suggested again. We expect to update our FAQ in a future release with more detail and recommendations.