Users lobby 1Password to abandon new Electron version

Posted:
in Mac Software edited August 2021
The forthcoming 1Password 8 for Mac is now in beta, but instead of a regular Mac app, it uses the resource-intensive Electron system -- and users are objecting.

1Password 8 for Mac promises improvements, but will be based on the unpopular Electron platform
1Password 8 for Mac promises improvements, but will be based on the unpopular Electron platform


Agilebits, the developer behind password management app 1Password, has decided to move its macOS app to Electron. It's part of a plan to make the forthcoming 1Password 8 use the same codebase across all platforms, meaning all features are on every device. But it has caused consternation among Mac users.

"The decision of how to build 1Password 8 for macOS was probably the most complicated one we had to make," wrote 1Password's Michael Fey in a blog post.

"Ultimately we decided for a two-prong approach," continued. "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."

Given that an aim was to reduce the number of different versions of 1Password that the company had to maintain, though, doing two Mac ones proved untenable.

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

"Ultimately we made the painful decision to stop work on the SwiftUI Mac app and focus our SwiftUI efforts on iOS, allowing the Electron app to cover all of our supported Mac operating systems," he said.

It's possible that Apple's SwiftUI was not yet able to provide all that 1Password needs. However, in abandoning that for Electron, AgileBits is using a platform that is notably resource-heavy and generally less reliable.

The Electron platform made it easy for other apps such as Slack and Discord to have a Mac presence, but performance and stability are typically poorer.

Consequently, 1Password 8 users are objecting to the use of Electron and asking the company to reconsider. In a Reddit AMA with the development team, the issue was raised but reportedly not answered.

"I understand the 1P8 is better on the other platforms," wrote a Reddit user named "Cosste." "But the mac has always been the mac and deserves its own native client. Be it an AppKit app or a Catalyst app made from the iPad version."

"As you can already see, many of us are seriously p***** by the move to Electron, the degrading of the current experience, the new memory usage, the usability problems and the non native feeling," continued the user. "And no, we don't want you to make a better Electron app, we want you to continue to build on the native app."

Other users have complained about the company being "dismissive of the current problems." Users claiming to be on the 1Password 8 beta report that it is slower and less responsive.

It is a beta release, however, and generally final shipping versions are faster. Fey describes all of the 1Password 8 versions as an "incredibly strong foundation" for the next decade of the app.

"We remain committed to creating top tier user experiences on all of our platforms," he concluded.

AppleInsider has reached out to AgileBits for comment.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 84
    darkpawdarkpaw Posts: 212member
    I'll wait until the next version is out of beta and released before I chime in on how it performs, but if it's rubbish I'll switch to a different app. I'm generally quite loyal to companies, but if I get a degraded experience then I'm happy to move away. I think a lot of others will, too.
    gilly33magman1979byronlomar moralesseanjgbdocwatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 2 of 84
    barthrhbarthrh Posts: 118member
    Based on my experience with apps using it, Electron is terrible. Flash terrible? Not quite, but working hard towards it. Microsoft is abandoning it for Teams, with the new 2.0 release expected to use 50% of the resources. 1P's native approach to Mac was a huge selling point. If that's gone, then I'll definitely take a look at alternatives.
    magman1979byronlcpsrolam92103pscooter63seanjwatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 3 of 84
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,092member
    SwiftUI and Electron are both unmitigated disasters, but 1Password's explanation for choosing Electron doesn't make sense since SwiftUI is not required to create universal apps. The decision was likely based on cost-cutting/laziness, and 1Password is trying to shift the blame. 
    edited August 2021 stevenozwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 84
    flydog said:
    SwiftUI and Electron are both unmitigated disasters, but 1Password's explanation for choosing Electron doesn't make sense since SwiftUI is not required to create universal apps. The decision was likely based on cost-cutting/laziness, and 1Password is trying to shift the blame. 
    SwiftUI is not a disaster. The problem is that many apps that have been here a long time already use Objective C or Swift so adding SwiftUI would be a pain because now you are adding a third language into the mix. For apps that are purely Swift, it’s not that difficult to just wrap the UIKit components to work with SwiftUI until SwiftUI is mature enough to not have a need to do that anymore. This decision to move to electron is purely based on money and laziness as you said. They don’t have to spend as much on development if they can share the same codebase, which sucks because generally doing so results in a poorer experience for everyone. 
    magman1979williamlondonbyronlomar moralespscooter63stevenozapplguyn2itivguywatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 5 of 84
    barthrh said:
    Based on my experience with apps using it, Electron is terrible. Flash terrible? Not quite, but working hard towards it. Microsoft is abandoning it for Teams, with the new 2.0 release expected to use 50% of the resources. 1P's native approach to Mac was a huge selling point. If that's gone, then I'll definitely take a look at alternatives.
    The idea of Teams having a better implementation on the Mac than 1P is almost laughable, but here we are...

    Hopefully 1P plans on shifting that money they're "saving" from development to support because they're going to need it there.
    williamlondonbyronlomar moraleswatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 6 of 84
    I dropped them when they went to a subscription based model but reading this just strengthens my choice. There are enough alternatives!!
    meterestnzmagman1979MplsPcharlesatlaswilliamlondonbyronlevolutdigitolstevenozseanj
  • Reply 7 of 84
    Augh. This news — that a SwiftUI version actually exists and is shipping, just not on Mac — just makes me even angrier.

    flydog said:
    The decision was likely based on cost-cutting/laziness, and 1Password is trying to shift the blame. 
    I'm not sure cost-cutting is exactly the right term… the more measured explanation is, they care more about corporate customers (who buy big hundred-seat licenses) than personal users. Corporate buyers care less about UX and performance than seamless cross-platform compatibility. 1Password's Windows app has always lagged behind Mac, this change will keep them up to speed forever.

    I guess you could call their inability to hire a competent Windows team as "cost-cutting," or their inability to make a good Windows App as "laziness", but it's not quite the whole story.

    Regardless, I'm out. So far https://elpass.app is treating me fine as an individual. https://outercorner.com/secrets-mac also looks quite good. Neither have vault sharing though, which even in non-corporate situations kind of sucks because family plans are a real thing.
    edited August 2021 meterestnzmike54watto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 8 of 84
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,239member
    The promise of platform portability has been an elusive target that developers have been searching for since the dawn of programming civilization and the appearance of the second computer. Technology that promises to corral the elusive magic unicorn of platform independent code drifts by like fluffy clouds every few years. More than a few developers reach for the cloud, only to find that they can't really grab it, or have to build a lot of scaffolding to create the appearance of portability - if you disregard the man behind the curtain, who can be a little slow to keep up the illusion.

    I know exactly why they chose Electron. It's okay, it works, and gets them to their destination. The ride there may be more akin to driving the Beverly Hillbilly's jalopy rather than a Porches 911 Turbo, but all things in life require some compromises. Sometimes "good enough" is actually good enough. It's their call to make, and if it works out and the majority of their mainstream users accept it, they live to fight another day and expand their portfolio in other areas. If they fail, they fail, regroup and perform damage control. Those who have serious issues then get to queue up the "I told you so" missives and stick a feather in their cap of superior knowledge and insight.

    Hey, if I had my choice all software would be written in C++ because it weeds out the good developers from the lazy ones by making it very painful to be imprecise to the nth degree. All the syntactic sugar and memory/resource management hand-holding that higher level languages with their fancy runtimes provide has led to a generation of programmers who have very little actual knowledge about what's actually going on under the hood. You know, all those cute little abstractions and 'What, me worry?" resource bloatification approaches the runtime is providing that totally shields them from the ugly truth that is their crap code.

    In a perfect world of programming we should all learn to suffer to achieve greatness, zero memory leaks, and no stray pointers. Yeah, I'm just kidding. Sort of.
    edited August 2021 pscooter63seanjbartfatwatto_cobramainyehc
  • Reply 9 of 84
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,669member
    Honest question:   What does something like 1password offer me above what I get for free with the keychain IF I don’t care about cross platform (meaning outside of Apple) use?  I don’t care about android or windows. 

    I’m happily just using KeyChain which covers me on macOS, iOS, iPad, etc. 
    JayaighroundaboutnowHedwaretokyojimulostkiwiPorphyromonaswatto_cobrarepressthisjony0
  • Reply 10 of 84
    Not going to happen. Evernote drove itself in the ground with their new Electron mess, we'll see if the same happens to 1Password. They are clearly aiming or the enterprise market and there nobody cares about performance, that's just a user problem.

    The current 1P8 is quite slow, and they'll fix that no doubt. But it will never feel native. VSC may currently be the best performing Electron app, and even that one is slow by native standards.
    davebarneswatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 11 of 84
    co-ords said:
    I dropped them when they went to a subscription based model but reading this just strengthens my choice. There are enough alternatives!!
    I’m not sure about the alternative’s yet but I also dropped upgrading with the subscription model. I’m still using 1PW on my phone where v6 still works but it’s gone on my mac when it broke and 1PW’s ans is upgrade to 7. Handoff saves me on Mac from phone but the time is coming!

    I need an alternative that is not cloud based so will have to start researching again
    seanjwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 84
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 951member
    I have been a customer of Agile Bits and 1 PW from the beginning and have only this to say:

    Give proper support to iOS and Mac OS or lose me as a customer.

    If you want to go chase Fandroid and Windoze business fine, but do not screw us over in the process.
    watto_cobramainyehc
  • Reply 13 of 84
    chadbag said:
    Honest question:   What does something like 1password offer me above what I get for free with the keychain IF I don’t care about cross platform (meaning outside of Apple) use?  I don’t care about android or windows. 

    I’m happily just using KeyChain which covers me on macOS, iOS, iPad, etc. 
    Exactly... I just don't see any use for 1Password while we have Keychain. Can someone elaborate on this?
    chadbagroundaboutnowseanjlostkiwin2itivguywatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 14 of 84
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 410member
    Had the first version of the product been written in Electron we would not even being discussing this topic because the product would have zero users. I went back to Safari's built in password manager and it is more than sufficient for me.
    watto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 15 of 84
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,239member
    michelb76 said:
    Not going to happen. Evernote drove itself in the ground with their new Electron mess, we'll see if the same happens to 1Password. They are clearly aiming or the enterprise market and there nobody cares about performance, that's just a user problem.

    The current 1P8 is quite slow, and they'll fix that no doubt. But it will never feel native. VSC may currently be the best performing Electron app, and even that one is slow by native standards.
    VS Code is definitely good enough for its intended market. Even more so, Microsoft has the full native code (or more precisely, .Net based) versions of Visual Studio as a backstop for those people who aren’t served well enough by VS Code. 

    I would argue that Slack is also good enough for its intended purpose. I’m all for letting the market decide who wins and who loses. If a developer makes the wrong choice, they bear the consequences. 1Password isn’t the only game in town and the onus is totally on them to sustain the product in the markets they serve. They see exactly where their revenue stream is coming from and will know very quickly whether this technology decision impacts their bottom line. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 84
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    chadbag said:
    Honest question:   What does something like 1password offer me above what I get for free with the keychain IF I don’t care about cross platform (meaning outside of Apple) use?  I don’t care about android or windows. 

    I’m happily just using KeyChain which covers me on macOS, iOS, iPad, etc. 

    Lots of folk use it on Windows and Android. If they're chasing the corporate market then they definitely need Windows support.

  • Reply 17 of 84
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    The biggest complaint, however, is that they're dropping the standalone version completely: no more local vaults. Everything has to be stored on 1password.com.


    edited August 2021 MplsPpscooter63tudelostkiwirepressthis
  • Reply 18 of 84
    chadbag said:
    Honest question:   What does something like 1password offer me above what I get for free with the keychain IF I don’t care about cross platform (meaning outside of Apple) use?  I don’t care about android or windows. 

    I’m happily just using KeyChain which covers me on macOS, iOS, iPad, etc. 
    👍
    n2itivguywatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 19 of 84
    Sigh, that means I’ve got to find an alternative. Might as well since 1Password made their product an unusable mess when they went to their 1Password.com cloud implementation coupled with their crippling subscription code design. I even was willing to pay the subscription fee just to avoid the switch hassle but that was contingent on my being able to use iCloud syncing. Too bad, it was the best prior to that but then I guess nothing good lasts. 
    stevenozwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 84
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,581member
    Unless one is creating a game or a specialized professional-grade app, I don't see a bright future for native apps on desktop operating systems.  I see it most app gravitating towards being web apps.
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