Dashboard is history in Catalina

So Dashboard is out of WebKit and out of Catalina. It’s a goner. No surprise, still a bummer.

Multiple little weather widgets only a keystroke away appeals to me much more than the single low-density weather I have now in the notifications panel.

What I’ll really miss though is being able to take any part of a web page and make a widget out of it. Simple minimal interface for creation built right into Safari and macOS. Used that a lot. Now I’ll have to see if I can extract relevant parts of web pages, make my own HTML page of that and put it into one of my favorite bookmarks so I can reach it with cmd-1-9 in Safari.

I wonder what percentage of Mac users even knew about Dashboard, much less used it? I haven’t seen it mentioned in years and last time I tried to make some Web clips, they didn’t work very well, which I attributed to Apple ignoring it for many releases of macOS.

I’ve never made a Web Clip, but I use Dashboard daily for a quick calendar and weather. Up until a few months ago, I had a radar widget in there too (it randomly stopped working).

Diane

Oh, you’re definitely on to something.

I’d say it’s quite the usual story. Apple introduces something neat with potential. They hype it. We all get excited. It comes out and some users make it part of their workflow, others migrate to it from other tools. A brief while goes by until Apple gets bored or distracted or makes an accountant their CEO (or some other boneheaded personnel decision). Then, they lose interest and stop developing that tool. The tool deteriorates and its use case starts to fall apart to the point where users are essentially forced to abandon it. A few cycles later Apple determines nobody is using the tool so they can it. And as that unfolds, the 140-character universe starts to wonder if anybody ever used that obscure tool. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Dashboard was first introduced in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger in Apr 2005, so not all that brief.

Notification became the new location for widgets in macOS 10.10 Yosemite announced five years ago.

Bring back Konfabulator!

While I get what you were saying, Simon is right (perhaps a bit obnoxious about it :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: ). Apple does this often - though it’s usually not that big of a deal. Dashboard joins a long list of pieces of software that Apple heavily promotes, then allows it to languish for varying periods of time before finally killing it off for good (usually with no announcement at all).

For example, Apple Remote Desktop. Seen any updates to that mess? Screen Sharing? Back to My Mac? Safari Extensions, Built-in social media plugins for sharing, etc… the list goes on, and that’s just the very recent.

Killing an app or feature doesn’t always mean removing it or doing something to hinder its usefulness… in Apple’s case, it means doing nothing at all.

For example, Apple Remote Desktop. Seen any updates to that mess? Screen Sharing? Back to My Mac? Safari Extensions, Built-in social media plugins for sharing, etc… the list goes on, and that’s just the very recent.<<

There will be a badly needed update of Apple Remote Desktop with MacOS 10.15. MacAdmins podcast mentioned it. Sefari Extensions are still there, though I think they will be changing the format, possibly to be the same as the new Google Chrome extensions format. I suspect the built-in social media plug-ins for sharing were removed due to Facebook abuses.

It’s an interesting situation. Just because Apple comes up with a technology doesn’t mean it’s any good or that many users will adopt it. I’ve never seen anyone use Launchpad, for instance, though I’m sure some people do. So the question is, what should Apple do with such technologies? The default approach seems to be to leave them alone for some years, and then possibly kill them off if they don’t align with the current direction. Dashboard was very much a creature of its time, but it predates iOS, and developers never really got on board in a big way. Now Catalyst and SwiftUI are the answer to how you make little apps on the Mac (often bringing them over from iOS).

But I don’t want to sound too negative here. We shouldn’t assume that everything Apple does will be great immediately, or if ever. Every company has hits and misses, and we want Apple to keep trying things so the failures are matched by the successes.

That’s how I think about things like Dashboard, if they don’t get attention from users or developers, they don’t get much of Apple’s attention. Eventually they take the feature out, which upsets the group of users who did use it but they can’t keep and maintain everything.

I liked OS X’s Front Row media center app that let you control media with the IR remote; it was good for Macs connected to TVs but I guess not enough people used it. It makes sense, there were never going to be a lot of people connecting Macs to TVs and they developed the Apple TV to be an arguably better solution anyway.

But I don’t want to sound too negative here. We shouldn’t assume that everything Apple does will be great immediately, or if ever. Every company has hits and misses, and we want Apple to keep trying things so the failures are matched by the successes.

I’ve always suspected that the Newton disaster led to Steve Jobs to rethink mobile handheld devices, which led to the development of iPhone.