The tides are receding for one of my favorite software, and it seems that the high water mark for 1password was 2021. For years, 1password provided the most elegant solution for password management, largely through the power of a superior UX driven by both browser plugins and native applications. It was at the upper echelon of Mac software, in the same esteemed group as Mac software titans like Pixelmator Pro, BBedit, Audio Hijack, Djay, Omnigraffle, and pretty much anything out of Panic studios. Even Apple considered it among the best, honoring it as a finalist this year for an Apple Design award.
1password announced its subscription model in 2016. They quietly maintained a non-software subscription version for users a little too-wise. Then the past week or so, we've been hit with a double whammy: 1password 8 is ending it's stand-alone version for a non-native app and to pour salt into the wound, 1password is ending its native Mac application in favor of Electron.
As a developer, I appreciate the allure. Ideally, code is only written once. It's the holy-grail, writing code that doesn't need any tweaks for platform-specific, be it a particular web browser or OS. Electron delivers this (mostly) but with a decidedly non-native feel and at the cost of bloat. A stark example is BBedit is 54 MB vs. VS Code at 305 MB, and Electron eats more CPU cycles and RAM. I also understand writing for small-market like macOS isn't as enticing as maintaining one (mostly) singular codebase. Electron applications have creeped from Atom to power Slack, VS Code, Discord, and into surprising slots like Skype and the list keeps growing, never quite providing the native experience. The trend is a bit unnerving as the era of native applications for Mac OS feels tenious outside of a handful of apps.
It's sad to watch one of the most premier applications for the Mac fall prey to two of my least favorite trends. Perhaps there'll be a leaner, scrappier startup in this space to fill the void left by 1password. Or better, 1password is able to shift its course if/when UI Kit is able to fill the void. 1password is still 1password. I trust it's a great product but it feels like a dilluted version of many of the things I love about it. I'm not sure I will switch to version 8.