Sketch, and the Joy of Mac-App Mac Apps

Sketch, two weeks ago, celebrating their 10th anniversary and the joys of truly native Mac apps:

Best of all, native Mac apps like ours are designed to fit with the rest of the operating system. It’s hard to quantify, but if you use Apple’s built-in apps you immediately get a “feel” for how things should work in native apps. When an app “fits in” with the rest of the OS, it doesn’t just look and feel more at home on your Mac — it lowers the learning curve when you first open it. That’s why we (and plenty of other great macOS developers) work hard to follow the conventions set out in Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines, so that our Mac app has that same, familiar feel. And you can start using it instantly, from the first click.

This post put me in a small pickle. I absolutely had to link to it — I both love the message and the retro-Mac-inspired design of the post itself (dig those scrollbars!). But, Sketch was on the schedule to sponsor DF already. I was going to just toss in a link to this wonderful post in my sponsorship thank-you post, but it’s too good for that, and too important. It clearly deserves an entry of its own.

Sketch hits all the key marks about what best defines a great, truly native Mac app, particularly deep Mac tools for professional work. Customization that allows you, the user, to shape the tool into something personal, that fits your needs and idiosyncrasies. Familiarity — the je ne sais quoi of doing things, large and small, the Macintosh way — that makes new (or just new to you) Mac apps easy to get started with and intuitive to explore. And, well, just being a beautiful work of art unto itself.

I’ve taken to calling these apps “Mac-assed Mac apps” recently, but we need a better term. Je ne sais quoi means “a quality that cannot be described or named easily” — it’s no surprise it’s hard to categorize these apps with a term. Panic just introduced their splendid new programming editor Nova as “an extremely Mac-app Mac app”, which captures the sentiment (and sound) of “Mac-assed Mac app” in a purely joyous way. I like that. Whatever we call them, they’re worth embracing and celebrating, and Sketch sure as hell is one of them.