Dropzone 4 Released

January 29th, 2020

dropzone4-icon

Today I’m thrilled to announce the release of Dropzone 4.
Dropzone 4 is a big release not just in terms of the app itself but also the business behind it and how I plan to run Aptonic moving forward.

Over the years, I’ve learnt so much more about app development and how to run a successful software business.
I’ve found that many of the issues with Dropzone have not been around development of the app itself but the sustainability of the business. There are so many things I have wanted to work on and improve but Dropzone has always had to remain a side project and I’ve only been able to spend a limited amount of time on it because it never quite made enough revenue to work on full time. The plan going forward is to increase the sustainability of the business so that I can spend more time building the app and shipping features, fixing bugs and helping customers.

Therefore the biggest change in this version of Dropzone is that it is transitioning to a subscription based business model. This means the base app is now totally free, but if you want to support continued development of Dropzone and use the apps premium features then it will cost $1.99 per month ($24/year). I’m hoping you’ll find the value the app delivers to your workflow easily justifies the cost of a cup of coffee each month and if successful this new model will make a world of difference to how much time I can dedicate to improving the app. Dropzone 4 is now also available on Setapp so you can get it and a bunch of other fantastic apps for $9.99 per month.

So that’s the business change. Now onto more cool app stuff. As you can see above, the icon has been totally redesigned for Dropzone 4 and the Dropzone user interface has undergone a complete redesign as well.

When you drag a file in any app in Dropzone 4, a subtle overlay will appear at the top of the screen with the Dropzone 4 icon. Simply drag files onto this area to activate the grid:

drag-overlay

Below is a screenshot of the new Dropzone grid design:

Dropzone4-Redesign-Light

This lighter styled grid fits in better with the design language of recent versions of macOS.
And Dropzone now supports dark mode:

Dropzone4-Redesign-Dark

As well as the app redesign and business changes, Dropzone 4 is now fully compatible with macOS Catalina. Other notable changes include the Google Drive action now being built into the app as this proved to be very popular. Dropzone has also switched to using TinyURL to handle URL shortening as Goo.gl has shutdown. There are many other enhancements and I recommend downloading Dropzone 4 from either the Mac App Store or Setapp and testing it out yourself:

download-masdownload-setapp

The non-Mac App Store (direct) version of Dropzone 4 will be coming soon. If you need to run unsandboxed Dropzone actions then I recommend that you use the Setapp version of Dropzone for the time being.

I hope you enjoy the new version and will consider a subscription to support continued development of the app.
Feel free to leave any questions about Dropzone 4 in the comments below.

Also, checkout this full review of Dropzone 4 by TheSweetBits.

14 Comments

  1. Helmut says:

    Hi,

    I would like to have a complete list of the features included in the free version. Is it somewhere available? Because the “Pro” features covers “and much more”, so I do not know what is part of the basic tier and what is missing.

    thanks

  2. Sutarto says:

    Hi there,
    I have Dropzone 3 (both Mac and Website version). I wonder if there is different subscription for Dropzone 4 scheme for those who already have Dropzone 3 aka your loyal customer. Thanks

  3. John Winter says:

    @Sutarto Yes that would be great to implement for current Dropzone non-Mac App Store customers. Not promising anything and still quite a way away in terms of the needed development but will see what I can do!

  4. John Winter says:

    @Helmut
    Good question – Currently the free functionality (no subscription required) is:

    -Move/Copy Files
    -Open Applications
    -Imgur Uploading
    -Shorten URLs
    -AirDrop
    -Drop Bar

    And the paid functionality (subscription required) is:

    -Access to and use of a growing library of cloud actions
    -All app updates, including major ones, provided automatically
    -Amazon S3 Uploading
    -Google Drive uploading
    -FTP Uploading
    -Key triggers for actions
    -Service hotkey to run action
    -Developing your own actions

    Hope that helps!

  5. br says:

    I submitted this as a Mac App Store review, but I’d like to make sure to draw Aptonic’s attention to it, because I sincerely think this is a major step in the wrong direction and would like to see that reconsidered:

    Dropzone is a great app, but I can’t justify the price of the subscription for a couple of reasons that I really hope Aptonic can listen to, and a major feature lapse just completely breaks its usability for me:

    Firstly, let me explain my use cases: I really only use two actions with Dropzone: one is the “Install Application” action, to quickly/seamlessly install or update an application. The other use case is the SCP or SFTP upload action — I can instantly upload a file of any kind to my own server and copy it to the clipboard in one shot.

    The first issue is that the Install Application action simply doesn’t even EXIST in Dropzone 4, and it appears that I’d need to develop a custom script for that. That shouldn’t be hard, but I can simply use Dropzone 3.7.0.

    The second issue is that while the SFTP action DOES exist, the MAS version doesn’t support SSH keys at all. I’m not interested in creating a user with a password just to be able to upload files with Dropzone 4, and I’m not interested in waiting for the non-MAS version to be available unless there’s something really compelling me to upgrade.

    I’ll mention that a clean install of Dropzone 3.7.0 on a mostly-clean install of macOS Catalina did seem to choke on the SFTP upload action, but entering the following in terminal fixed it:

    sudo gem install ed25519 bcrypt_pbkdf net-scp net-sftp

    There’s one last issue that really, really makes me not want to buy a subscription to Dropzone out of principle: it’s a monthly subscription, and it’s not even cheap, but the only updates since 2016 are bug fixes and minor improvements. “for the price of a cup of coffee per month…” when that actually comes out to more than twice the full price of Dropzone 3 per year.

    To be clear, I don’t mind the price going up, and I don’t mind paying for new features, but it looks to me like Dropzone 4 is literally a downgrade for 2.4 times the price of Dropzone 3 yearly. The bottom line is that the price is too high, and the extra features are too poor, so I’m not interested. I really hope to see my mind changed.

    Sincerely,
    Someone who’s used Dropzone since 2015.

  6. John Winter says:

    @br Some good points raised. Firstly, I’m aware of the SFTP public key issue and I am planning to try and fix it for the Mac App Store version. If this is not possible then I will recommend the Setapp version of Dropzone 4 (which is unsandboxed) that I will be releasing very shortly to solve this. The Setapp version of the app will also be a good option for users with issues around the pricing as then you get a ton of other great apps besides Dropzone and the business still makes sense for me in terms of the ongoing revenue.

    A lot of this release has been about transitioning the business to something more sustainable, now that has happened the plan is to focus more on feature development.

    I haven’t really touched the Install Application action in a while as I haven’t had many users asking about it. I liked this action but it seemed to have 100s of different edge cases for different app install processes and it got pretty frustrating handling them all. Happy to take another look at this once all the different versions (Setapp and non-Mac App Store) of Dropzone 4 are released though. It can be quite tricky with an app like Dropzone to decide where development time is best spent as there are so many possible directions and I want to maximise the value for the greatest number of users. Thanks for the feedback though, I will take it into account as I continue development of the app.

  7. Jay Wang says:

    Just want to chime in on the “install application” actions. Actually this is the number one reason I use dropzone daily, as I have other apps that offer drop bar feature but not this one.

  8. Tony says:

    Hi, I am willing to subscribe but I only use the bit.ly action. Is there a bit.ly action for the new Dropzone 4?

  9. John Winter says:

    @Tony The bit.ly action needs updating actually. This is on my list of things to fix, I would guess this should be done in about a month so you may want to hold off subscribing until this is done. Feel free to email me back to check when this is done

  10. John Winter says:

    @br Just to update you on this, Dropzone 4.0.4 has now been released and this version supports using SSH key files with the SFTP and SCP actions on the Mac App Store.

    I’ve also released an update to Dropzone 3 (version 3.8.0) that fixes the missing gems.

  11. Jonas Bredenfeldt says:

    Hi!

    I’d like to chime in with Sutarto above, I’ve used and loved Dropzone for some time. It’s a great app, and while subscriptions is all the rage nowadays I really don’t like it. I understand that it’s a viable business model for developers, and I do want all of the developers who’s software I use to thrive. But anything you can do to mellow the change for oldtime users would be much, much appreciated.

    On Setapp; while the subscription gives a quite lot of value for the money, I have already, and often many years ago, bought separate licenses for all of the apps they provide and that I want. Last time I counted I have current licenses for 31 apps in their repertoire not including Dropzone. By my count it’s quite a lot cheaper to just keep upgrading them by choice (and maybe not every time) the ”old way”. If MacPaw had a ”crossgrade” for those who have licenses for the apps they provide (like me with Dropzone, and many more apps), I’d consider subscribing. I think there’s many more users like me that just don’t see the value of jumping over to Setapp (unless that was the *only* choice to upgrade) since they already have licenses for all the apps they need.

  12. James A says:

    Any updates on when the unsandboxed version of Dropzone 4 will be released outside of SetApp?

  13. John Winter says:

    James –

    The Dropzone 4 non-Mac App Store version is now available for download on our homepage at https://aptonic.com

    And others who were asking – you can now get a discounted upgrade using your Dropzone 3 license at https://aptonic.com/upgrade.php
    Unsandboxed actions will now work again under the non-Mac App Store version.

    Full announcement here: https://aptonic.com/blog/dropzone-4-non-mac-app-store-version-released

  14. Noel Ways says:

    I have read the above and think that there is confusion over pricing. The way I understand it, there are TWO options

    1. A one time lifetime price of $35 (or $23.06 if it is an upgrade) Ie, you will never need to pay again !!

    2. A subscription of $1.99 per month.

    I agree with the subscription assessment above, a monthly fee would be intolerable for me (It is a personal thing), but the one time fee of $23.06 is comfortable.

    Given the creativity and usability of the app, which I can use probably for the rest of my life, the $23.06 is a value (again, it is a one time fee). Further, software developers like John do need to be supported.

    Oh, and lastly, there has never been a time where I sent a email to Aptonic where John did not write back promptly and personally.

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