Got text snippets? Most of us do. Snippets range from simple notes we capture for a writing project all the way to programming code that gets reused time and again. Through the years I’ve tried every snippets app I could fin, paid for a few, cried when some died.
The art of capturing and storing snippets of text falls into two categories. Those who use snippets as notes, and those who use snippets of code as programmers or developers. I fall into both classes, hence the need for tools that manage snippets. Here’s how to manage text snippets.
Free With A Cost
Apple makes managing snippets of text as easy as pie and it’s free. Notes. Notes works on Mac, iPhone, and iPad and notes can be synchronized via iCloud. Notes holds photos, tables, formatted text, and each one can be placed into categories, and even shared with others. What’s not to like? Once you get to a few hundred categories and a few thousand notes, there is plenty not to like because management gets complicated.
At the other end of the scale are the snippet apps for coders; programmers and developers. Through the years I’ve bought half a dozen such code snippets apps because they manage complex code snippets with the ease of standard text notes (without any formatting; if you need that, stick with Notes).
My favorite is SnippetsLab.
I chose SnippetsLab because of the rich features, backup options, and ability to sync via iCloud, Dropbox, GoogleDrive, et al. It even exports the text library into a zip file for easy offline storage.
Support has been excellent, too. A few weeks ago I put a public beta version of macOS High Sierra on a test Mac to see which applications I use might be affected by the latest and greatest OS for Mac users. Everything ran fine. As we got closer to macOS High Sierra’s launch, app developers began the mass upgrade process to ensure their applications would work on Macs that upgraded.
Upon upgrading my day-to-day Mac to macOS High Sierra, I found that SnippetsLab didn’t work. It crashed. Often. Ouch. I spend plenty of time in that app so I needed a quick fix. So, I exported all the snippets, changed their extensions so each file could be read appropriately by a text editor, and searched around for a replacement.
The Mac App Store is littered with notes and snippet collector applications which have not been upgraded in years. It’s a graveyard. When you search for applications on the Mac App Store make sure to sort by Release Date. Generally speaking, apps that have been upgraded recently indicate a developer who is responsible and an application that is improving.
My limit to use an application that has not been updated is one year. If an application does not receive an update within a year then I consider it abandonware and look elsewhere.
In the case of SnippetsLab, the developer made an appropriate adjustment, and submitted the app to the Mac App Store. In the meantime, I set up a backup system. I took the exported code and notes snippets and arranged them into folders and saved them to iCloud. Then, I used a text editor to open the folder. That’s my backup system. For SnippetsLab, which I dearly enjoy using, I deleted the app and downloaded a new version to no avail. It still crashed on launch. Then I used an application uninstaller called AppCleaner to remove all of SnippetsLab’s files and did a reinstall.
That worked. SnippetsLab is capturing snippets again, but now I have a perfect backup system in place. We all have our favorite Mac applications that we would hate to lose for any reason. For me, SnippetsLab is one and there isn’t anything quite like it. Toss is some word processor like rich formatting options and even writers and researchers would love it. It’s that good.