What does it take for a developer to earn your trust?

1password.pngOne of the first applications I purchased when I switched back to the Mac fulltime in 2006 was 1Password (known as 1Passwrd back then).

I had been using RoboForm on the PC (still do for my IE-only sites that I get to from Windows XP on VMWare Fusion) and I had hundreds of logins and saved secure notes that I didn’t want to lose. 1Passwrd worked in both Firefox and Safari and imported those saved logins. In fact, I’d say this application was one of the reasons I was able to move back to the Mac as easily as I did.

I paid $29.95 for that software. It was buggy, and didn’t work nearly as well as RoboForm did on the PC. But it was the best option of what was available on the Mac so I stuck with it. And it was updated. And updated. And updated. The developers actively responded to questions, complaints and feature requests in their forums. They respond to tweets and emails promptly. Their license card scheme was a little funky and an online version didn’t quite work out. But the software was updated again. And again. And again. They introduced a new keychain format which lets me keep my copy of 1Password in sync on both my laptop and desktop computers. It works beautifully.

I was never asked to pay another dime (until the upcoming 3.0 version).

So they introduce an iPhone app, and there’s some confusion. And if you read the comments, some folks are upset and feeling ripped off.

Not me.

Bottom line (I think): there will be 2 iPhone apps, neither will be free. One will be “Pro” and have more features, not all of which made it into the initial product. So they’re asking folks to pay $5.99 for the Pro version now (instead of the $15 it will be when it’s more feature complete), while the standard version will stay at the $4.99 it is now. A lot of the confusion stems from Apple’s app store policies, which they can’t control, and their own miscommunication which they are working to remedy.

What are the Pro features? I think it will let me use my 1Password logins in Safari easier and copy/paste from the app in some cool way. I’m not sure. I bought it anyway.

You’re not sure what it does because it doesn’t do it yet and you bought it anyway?

You heard me. Why did I buy it? Yes, the whole two iPhone app thing was confusing. Yes, they could have done a better job up front explaining it. Water under the bridge.

I know that a few months from now I will get more than my $5.99 worth, just as I’m now getting way more than my $29.95 worth out of the desktop app. I know that the developers will continue to be very nice people who will patiently answer the same silly questions over and over again in the forums without getting testy about it. I know that every bug will be tracked down and squashed.

Sometimes you support a product based entirely on its feature set at the time you click the “buy” button, and sometimes it’s a matter of faith. Agile Web Solutions has earned my purchase based on faith.