So Day One has become the next software application to adopt a subscription pricing model. This app developer has monkeyed around with its price/product offering for some time, and Day One has always been towards the expensive end of the curve for what could harshly be described as a glorified text editor. I guess it was inevitable they would ultimately end up converting to a subscription model in an effort to smooth revenue flow. Currently the developer is stating it will continue to support the current app and won’t force a move to the subscription version, but there is no doubt the first foot has fallen. At some point, I’m sure the other shoe will drop and it will be subscription or bust!

I’m not against subscription-based business models for software. I pay subscription fees for YNAB, Setapp, 1Password, Fastmail, Headspace, and maybe some others. I am willing to pay for software that I use and enjoy, and that satisfies my own price/value decision matrix.

Day One’s announced subscription seems expensive, especially when converted to Australian dollars. Expensive enough that rather than happily paying to carry on with an app I have used for more than 4 years, I am instead casting around for alternatives. The best and most immediate alternative I can see is to move my journaling to Ulysses. I’ve found a Workflow, ah, workflow that auto-populates date, time and location into a neat header box so the journal entry has a basic level of context. What I would lose from Day One is the pretty and additional metadata and the journaling-specific user interface. Photo import can be replicated, albeit perhaps not quite as seamlessly. The major problem with Ulysses is that it just doesn’t feel like a journaling app – at least not yet. Maybe I would get used to it in that context with time?

As mentioned, I’ve used Day One consistently for four years, and it has gained enough of a mental grip on me that I might miss it were I to migrate. Still, there is a limit to the number of subscriptions my budget can handle. When I have other, fully paid apps just waiting to be used, it becomes difficult to justify paying yet more money on an on-going basis.

I’m probably still on the fence right now, but Ulysses may be taking the lead…