1Password 8 - Non-native feel

edited August 18 in Early Access

Like many Mac users, I was greatly disappointed to read that 1Password is moving to Electron. I firmly believe that Electron is a bad framework for app development, and the 1Password 8 beta does not change this opinion. I’ve compiled a list of issues, as I see them. Some are endemic to Electron, while others are simply stylistic choices by the dev team. I will try to omit complaints that are purely personal preference, such as specific color usage.

  • The lack of rubberband/elastic scrolling is jarring and unpleasant.
  • There isn’t enough visual feedback that the window is out of focus. In particular, the “New Item” toolbar button should fade to a lighter blue when unfocused.
  • Many interactions in the app do not have the animations they should, including list expansions, menu displays, checkbox toggling, and modal dialogue appear/disappear.
  • Unnecessary reliance on modal dialogues is antithetical to native Mac app development. In particular, the “Preferences” and “About” windows should be … well, windows, not modal dialogues.
  • It is unusual for a Mac app to have the “About” page be part of the preferences dialogue.
  • When unfocused, 1PW 8 lacks hover states. In order to copy a field when the app is unfocused, you have to click into the window, then click the field again. 1PW 7 only requires a single click and properly displays hover state when unfocused.
  • 1PW 8 no longer shows the number of items in a tag/category.
  • There is seemingly no longer an easy way to mark or unmark an item as a favorite.
  • The account name at the top of the sidebar has a disclosure triangle in the down position, indicating that clicking it will collapse the sidebar entries for that account. Instead, clicking it brings up a popover menu with various actions. (I don’t know whether this behavior is different when you have more than one account. My point is that this behavior is unusual for this type of UI element.)
  • The app uses almost 2x the memory footprint of 1PW 7 and 10x(!) the idle CPU usage.
  • The app is noticeably slower. Scrolling a long list introduces a delay in displaying icons that is not present in 1PW 7. Additionally, there is flicker and occasional slow loading when changing filters, vaults, and tags. (1PW 7 also has flicker at times, notably when changing login items. It’s far more prominent in 8, however.)
  • There’s too much list padding. With windows of identical dimensions, 1PW 7 shows me 10.5 items; 1PW 8 shows me only 7.5.

Are these things ultimately minor? Yeah. Complaining about a preferences window becoming a modal dialogue is about as first-world a problem as you can get. At the same time, I’m paying money for this, and now it feels like I’m going to spend money on a downgrade.

1Password 8 is probably the most native-feeling and best Electron app I’ve used, but that’s like saying the McDonald’s by Disneyland is the best McDonald’s I’ve eaten at. I’ve been a 1Password user for years (I started with 1Password 3) and always held the app up as the only app I unreservedly considered worth a subscription. Now it’s pretty likely I’ll move to something else.


1Password Version: 80200056
Extension Version: Not Provided
OS Version: macOS 11.5.1

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Comments

  • I uninstalled 1p7 the day the mac beta came out and forced myself to use 1p8. Today I just reinstalled 1p7 and went back. Holy S***. You almost instantly forget just how much better 1p7 is.

    I challenge a single dev working at 1P to truthfully tell me 1p8 is better in ANY way. I honestly would love to hear a single feature that's better. It's jaw dropping the difference when you use 1p8 for a few days and then switch back.

    Also side note, god damn did I miss 1Pmini. <3 my baby is BACK!

  • robrob Agile Customer Care

    Team Member

    @tiltowaitt thank you for that detailed list! Much of the fit and finish is still to come, and I know in particular we've been investigating some performance issues recently.

    @blankspace here's a thread:

    My favorite new feature day to day is vault collections. I can keep the stuff I use the most in a collection and not have to see all the stuff I share with my parents that I rarely use.

    The quick access (mini) feature in 1Password 8 is still really new, so we've got plenty on our list there.

  • roustemroustem AgileBits Founder

    Team Member

    I challenge a single dev working at 1P to truthfully tell me 1p8 is better in ANY way. I honestly would love to hear a single feature that's better. It's jaw dropping the difference when you use 1p8 for a few days and then switch back.

    After using 1P8 for a while (well, this entire year) I would never go back to version 7. It just feels outdated and slow. There are too many features to list but my top 3:

    • Greatly improved item editing experience
    • File attachments that can be added to any item now
    • Item location bar that shows the people that have to this item
  • roustemroustem AgileBits Founder

    Team Member

    And another feature that was added to the nightly build today:

  • I would add that Quick Access is shaping up to be a big power boost. I am already loving it even without everything being wired up yet.

  • @roustem I’m curious what aspects of 1PW 8 are faster for you, because that is opposite of my experience. 1PW 8 is noticeably slower, especially when scrolling. Perhaps the lower performance of 1PW 7 are only evident with a sufficiently large vault? (I’ve only got 348 items in mine compared to the thousands some users have.)

    Earlier, I canceled my subscription that was set to renew on 8/25. I will likely go to monthly for now unless I decide on a replacement quickly.

  • robrob Agile Customer Care

    Team Member

    @tiltowaitt I can't speak to Roustem's experience, but I haven't really noticed much performance difference day to day. So I did a side by side test using an account that has 3500 items.

    Scrolling seemed equally performant to me, in the sense that it was completely smooth. In version 8, if I clicked the scroll handle and dragged it quickly up and down I could see a difference in the rendering. We're talking milliseconds, but it seems like something we could probably improve because I don't see the same effect in the version 8 sidebar with hundreds of tags.

    On the other hand, I found that version 7 is much slower to render a list of items when you're switching between vaults, especially when switching multiple times in succession. Version 8 is consistently snappy in that test.

    I tried search too and it seemed equally performant.

    These are just anecdotal of course and the only things I tried. Day to day I haven't found much difference. That said, we're aware of reports of really poor performance, so that's an ongoing investigation.

  • robrob Agile Customer Care

    Team Member

    @Fooligan that's great to hear! I haven't gotten used to it being around yet myself because it's such a recent addition. 😅 I need to start using it more.

  • @rob @rousten

    The OP painstakingly put together a list of specific bugs or performance issues and nobody on the team even acknowledges them or thanks them?

    Instead, you start boasting again about how 1Password 8 is more performant based on your test (of which you provide no evidence) or that now you can reveal your password when logging in?

    It's like your company's PR strategy comes from the Trump troll playbook.

  • @rob Interesting. Switching vaults is where I see the biggest performance degradation. That said, we’re talking milliseconds in either case, but I’ve repeatedly seen devs say the new version is much faster while users complain of the opposite.

    @FCNV rob’s first reply thanked me for the list.

  • dancodanco Senior Member Community Moderator

    @blankspace, it does seem likely that 1PW8 is better than 1PW7 in the back-end code base. This is of great advantage to AgileBits and ultimately to users. The trouble is that it's the user interface that of course users are most aware of, and that is currently very troublesome in 8.

    @tiltowaitt , I think you are making a mistake in cancelling your subscription now. Renew and use 1PW7 until next August. And, if you can bother to use 1PW8 occasionally, keep criticising.

    I think perhaps my biggest fear is with @roustem 's satisfaction with the current 1PW8. Though he is a Mac enthusiast, this may mean that he has little interest in trying to produce a native version.

  • I would never go back to version 7. It just feels outdated and slow.

    But at least in v7 "everything" works.

    In v8 even many basics don't work (auto-fill, Safari extension, copying OTP passwords, etc.) :cry:

  • @roustem and all the others at 1Password, you keep talking about all the new features and UI, but no one really answers the obvious... what was wrong with AppKit?

    The team at 1Password has significant funds and resources now, and your saying you cant spend the extra resources in making a UI in AppKit for the Mac?

    By all means keep the core in Rust so the code can be reused, but just use AppKit for the UI. Even if it means features are delayed to the Mac, if people want the latest features they can use the damn web app

    You have threatened to disrupt and abandon your most loyal customers all because of the ability to reuse the UI code base between platforms?

    Just look at ArqBackup, it had a very average UI, they moved to Electron, suddenly has a modern UI but with terrible usability, was probably their shortest major release cycle because they ran back to a native App

    All we can hope for is 1PW8 to be deemed a failed concept, and a native app is returned before you stop supporting 1PW7.

  • BenBen AWS Team

    Team Member

    @semaja2

    It's a fair question. Our VP of Client Apps offered some explanation in a recent blog post, which outlines the goals we had and the challenges presented by each of the options:

    1Password 8: The Story So Far

    Ben

  • roustemroustem AgileBits Founder

    Team Member

    But at least in v7 "everything" works.

    >

    In v8 even many basics don't work (auto-fill, Safari extension, copying OTP passwords, etc.) :cry:

    @XIII, do you remember the very first 1Password 7 beta or maybe the very first 1Password 4 beta?

    A lot of things didn't work or worked differently from what people expected back then. It is no different today. We had a few hundred people using the app internally for months, but it is not possible to make the first public build perfect based solely on internal usage. There are so many people with different set up, different workflows, and different expectations.

    And even then first stable release is never perfect. Look at 1Password 7, it is currently at version 7.8.7 and the 7.8.8 beta build went out last week.

    We released the Linux and Windows apps earlier this year and got some feedback and improvements based on that. However, 1Password for Mac is our most advanced app and the bar is much higher.

  • @XIII, do you remember the very first 1Password 7 beta or maybe the very first 1Password 4 beta?

    Not anymore; I guess they made no long-lasting impression... (So maybe the same is true for v8 after a while?)

    I know one can't test software 100%, but I am surprised that so many basic things don't work (for me) in the Early Access version, while 1Passwords employees have apparently been using it for months (and either did not experience those issues or did not think they were release blockers).

  • roustemroustem AgileBits Founder

    Team Member

    @roustem and all the others at 1Password, you keep talking about all the new features and UI, but no one really answers the obvious... what was wrong with AppKit?

    There are a couple of issues here. First, as John Siracusa mention on the recent ATP podcast, is AppKit something that will eventually be replaced by SwiftUI, similar to what happened with Carbon when Cocoa was introduced? I remember using Carbon apps and they didn't feel quite right.

    Most importantly, 1Password 8 currently had zero lines of AppKit code written. If we start the new AppKit app today, it could take another year for the app to be ready (I am not overestimating the time because our last full rewrite — 1Password 4 — took over nine months just to get from first public beta to release). At the same time, the existing 1Password 8 will keep moving forward on Linux and Windows and we will never catch up. This was happening with our Windows app for many years and we want to break that cycle.

    The team at 1Password has significant funds and resources now, and your saying you cant spend the extra resources in making a UI in AppKit for the Mac?

    The software is a strange thing. Often, there is no correlation between how much money you spend on it and the final build quality. That's not to say that we are not willing to spend what it takes to build the best apps — this is what makes 1Password stand out of the crowd.

    At this point, we believe that we could build the best version of 1Password for Mac if we focus on a single desktop app and spend our time to make sure it is a good macOS citizen — fast, powerful, pleasant to use, fully integrated with the OS services.

  • @roustem

    "Often, there is no correlation between how much money you spend on it and the final build quality."

    Yeah, no kidding. You've called 1Password the most "expensive" undertaking in the company's history and it's a good example of pouring a ton of money into something and getting a shoddy outcome. Electron is here, that is fine, just make it feel nicer to use and faster.

  • It’s worth mentioning that the ATP episode was also very critical of the move to Electron, and the hosts all stated the opinion that it was the wrong move. But like they said, it’s easy to armchair quarterback. While I question one or two assertions made in this forum, I don’t think AgileBits made the decision lightly. As a Mac user, it’s impossible to shake the feeling that my money is going toward making the app a worse experience for me. That is ultimately what I’m upset about.

    @danco There’s no way I’m going to pay for a yearly subscription right now. Like I said, I will probably sign up for a monthly until I’ve had the time to check out other services. I tried out a few yesterday, and to my frustration, none of them held a candle to 1PW 7. I suppose I can congratulate the team on that, at least.

  • roustemroustem AgileBits Founder

    Team Member

    I know one can't test software 100%, but I am surprised that so many basic things don't work (for me) in the Early Access version, while 1Passwords employees have apparently been using it for months (and either did not experience those issues or did not think they were release blockers).

    We haven't released 1Password 8 for Mac yet. We could have certainly spent more time working on it internally but there is a lot of value in getting feedback earlier.

    And, just like you are surprised about things that do not work for you, we are sometimes surprised to see people using 1Password in ways we never thought of 😄

  • edited August 19

    While you haven't released 1Password 8 for Mac, this is supposed to be coming out next month according to the development blog. How are features that are standard in 1Password 7 missing in software that's supposed to come out so soon? You said you've been working on this for so long, and using it for so long, yet features that you would think wouldn't be removed are missing in 1PW8.

  • roustemroustem AgileBits Founder

    Team Member

    While you haven't released 1Password 8 for Mac, this is supposed to be coming out next month according to the development blog.

    @george_perez that was an internal, self-imposed deadline. It is important to have one, otherwise the software will never be shipped. I am happy that we have the public beta finally available. It helps us judge the readiness of the app for official release.

    At this point, there is no doubt that September will not work. It seems more like next year. We are going to publish both daily/nightly updates and weekly beta releases.

  • dougldougl
    edited August 19

    If electron is so great, why not inflict it on windows and linux users too?

    No one has been able to point to a well-executed electron UX that looks and feels like a native application. It's bloated and heavy compared to native apps, and provides a substandard UX. Full Stop.

    Is mac really now a small enough portion of your business that you're willing to abandon/inflict a substandard product on your original customers?

    If that's the business case, then please just say so. I don't like it, but get it. If so, we will stop spending energy trying to change a fait accompli and instead spend it looking for an alternative.

  • BenBen AWS Team

    Team Member

    If electron is so great, why not inflict it on windows and linux users too?

    I'm not sure I follow. 1Password 8 for Linux and the 1Password 8 for Windows Early Access are using Electron to deliver the front-end.

    No one has been able to point to a well-executed electron UX that looks and feels like a native application. It's bloated and heavy compared to native apps, and provides a substandard UX. Full Stop.

    A number of people have pointed to VS Code as an example of a good app that uses Electron.

    Is mac really now a small enough portion of your business that you're willing to abandon/inflict a substandard product on your original customers?

    I don't believe that is what is happening here. We're committed to making 1Password 8 a great app on all of the platforms we support, Mac included. The majority of us are Mac users.

    Ben

  • @Ben

    Can confirm.

    I am running VS Code and 1Password on Linux daily. Both are excellent implementations.

  • BenBen AWS Team

    Team Member

    Thanks @Fooligan :)

    Ben

  • petvaspetvas Junior Member

    Choosing to use Electron is the best choice for Agile Bits from a business perspective.
    As a Mac user I honor and pay happily for apps that make the Mac great to use.
    1Password used to be such an app but now it isn’t anymore. You chose to provide a web view as an app on all platforms. This is what your app basically is now.
    I want to use apps that are great Mac citizens and integrate with macOS in every possible way. 1P8 cannot be such an app. Add to that the excessive resource usage, the bad web interface that has nothing to do with how good Mac apps work, and you can understand why Mac users are disappointed.
    You just killed 1Password on the Mac and it would be better if you just drop support for the platform all together.
    Text rendering, scrolling behavior and UI controls will always feel bad on an Electron app.
    You have changed direction and focus as a company and I understand it. Just don’t try to pretend that your choice is great for Mac users. It ain’t and you deserve to get all the heat and bad publicity for that.
    The right way to develop a cross platform app is by developing separate apps for each platform that fully takes advantage each platform. Not by using a framework that results in apps that just are native nowhere.
    Since roustem mentioned ATP I would suggest that he listens carefully to what John Siracusa said. Electron is just lazy and provides a mediocre experience on all platforms. I guess congratulations are in order.
    I am one step away of uninstalling 1P7 from all my systems. My subscription was cancelled and the only way for me to change my mind is if Agile Bits reverts its plans and drops Electron on the Mac.

  • I’m sorry, but in no way does VS Code feel like a native app. It’s not even close.

  • robrob Agile Customer Care

    Team Member

    Hey, @petvas. 👋 I'm sorry you feel we're abandoning you or the Mac or both.

    You just killed 1Password on the Mac and it would be better if you just drop support for the platform all together.

    There are an awful lot of people who don't feel that way.

    The right way to develop a cross platform app is by developing separate apps for each platform

    We tried that for years. Windows users will tell you it didn't work. Now we're aiming to bring a great experience to all of our platforms, and we've got a much better chance of success. Maybe at some point there will be a tool that accomplishes that goal better than Electron. We'd love that too.

  • So if you want to “bring a great experience” to the Mac, why aren’t y’all in this forum pledging to make the app work and feel like a real Mac app and pledging to fix the UI issues many people have highlighted?

    This app feels like a Linux or Windows app. That is never a compliment.

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