There has been a lot of talk this week about how hard it is to make a living selling software as an indie developer. It has never really been a license to print money, but that's a myth persists as a result of a handful of apps that struck it big during the very earliest gold-rush days of the iOS app store.
This week, Sam Soffes' app Redacted made it to #8 on the Top Paid chart on the US Mac App Store and the very top of Product Hunt, yet he only sold 59 copies of Redacted in the US netting $302 after Apple's cut. Granted, the Top Paid list is not a proxy for revenue — it's more complicated than that — but Sam's story is not new or unique. There have been multiple stories of about how tough it has become to make it as an indie developer and several have left the indie ranks al together.
After I read Sam's story I looked on my iPhone and Mac. Many of the very best apps I use and rely on every day are created by individual, or small teams of, developers. It's these people who are the heart and soul of the Mac community. They create some of the most innovative software, pushing the medium and platforms forward. This week is National Small Business Week in the United States, so why not support your favorite indie developer by buying an app? If you are reading this, you probably already have a bunch of apps from indie developers that you enjoy, but I thought I would put together a list (in no particular order) of my personal favorites. Check them out and if you see any you like, make an indie dev's day and buy one.
Disclosure: Many of the following are affiliate links generated, of course, by my own indie app, Blink: Better Affiliate Links.
- Marked. A Markdown preview app with a Swiss Army knife of other features to help you with your writing.
- StretchLink. Expand and clean up short links in the blink of an eye.
- NVAlt. I have over 1,300 plain text notes in NVAlt, but nothing slows it down.
- Mars Edit. A fantastic blogging tool for writers.
- Fast Scripts. An amazingly powerful scripting tool.
- Napkin. Great for support documentation, trouble shooting, bug reporting, communicating with designers and really doing just about anything that is easier said with a screenshot.
- Audio Hijack. I don't have to grab audio from my Mac too often, but when I do, I always go to Audio Hijack.
- Acorn. There are so many great alternatives to Photoshop out there now. Acorn is one of the best.
- Moom. Moom is one of the first apps I install on a new Mac. I'm not sure how to manage windows without it.
- CodeRunner. CodeRunner is a great place to test snippets of code when you really don't want or need to open Xcode.
- Sketch. A great alternative to Illustrator.
- Ember. Ember is what I used to collect ideas when I was working with @forgottengtowel on the Squibner branding. Great capture and sharing features.
- Redacted. I deal with tons of PDFs and Redacted is the quickest way to redact private information.
- Drafts. Most of my text starts here and is sent elsewhere for processing using Drafts' powerful actions.
- Terminology. Every writer needs a dictionary and thesaurus. Terminology is my favorite.
- Phraseology. I love how I can quickly rearrange a list or paragraphs with this app.
- Pedometer++. I use this app every day to count my steps.
- Emoji++. Emoji++ makes sense of the chaotic order of emoji.
- Feedwrangler (Service/iOS). I use the Feedwrangler service in conjunction with Unread for all my RSS reading.
- TapCellar. A great app for cataloging beers you try and want to remember.
- Overcast. I moved from podcast app to podcast app for years before I found Overcast, which perfectly matches how I listen to my favorite shows.
- Unread. Easy to read RSS with powerful sharing features.
- Quotebook. I love to keep track of quotes I come across. Quotebook makes it dead simple and fast to capture them.
- Launch Center Pro. While Drafts automates my text tasks, Launch Center Pro automates everything else.
- Perfect Weather. Perfect Weather is beautifully designed with just the right amount of data.
- Workflow. I love playing around with complex workflows. It's amazing how much you can do in this app.
- GIFwrapped. Everyone should keep their reaction GIFs close at hand. GIFwrapped is my favorite.
- Tweet Library. I like to keep an archive of my tweets somewhere that I control.
- Letterpress. This game has stood the test of time for me. I have played it nearly every day for the last two years.
- Alto's Adventure. Everyone's favorite endless runner/snowboarding/llama game.
- Threes. Math is hard, Threes is fun.
Mac and iOS
- PCalc (Mac/iOS). PCalc has been around forever in Internet years. It's got every function I need plus so many more and is fully customizable.
- Capo (Mac/iOS). I suck at guitar, but Capo gives me a fighting chance at picking out my favorite songs.