'Chatology' Addresses Glaring Search Issues in Apple's Messages App for Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's Messages app for OS X has received a significant amount of criticism since its introduction last year as the evolution of iChat. The app has suffered from a number of issues including loss of messages, out-of-order message display, poor synchronization among iMessage devices, and search problems.

    While Apple has addressed a few of these issues, such as the out-of-order message addressed in OS X 10.8.4 earlier this month, a number of them remain, perhaps most notably the searching issue. For users with significant numbers of messages, searching can easily cause the entire Messages app to lock up, requiring the user to forcibly quit the app. Even in instances where the app remains functional, navigating results is difficult and awkward, with a lack of filtering options to help narrow down results.

    Flexibits, the development team behind the popular calendar app Fantastical for Mac and iOS, has taken on the task of fixing searching in Messages with a new Mac app, Chatology, launching today. Chatology is a standalone app that directly accesses the user's Messages database to provide fast and flexible searching.
    Search options in Chatology allow users to search by name or message content, and then optionally filter results to the current day, past seven days, past 30 days, or past year. With a conversation selected, users can easily switch between viewing the conversation in its entirety or just all images or all links from the conversation.

    Chatology is also able to tie into Messages in some ways, reading the status of Messages contacts in order to show whether they are currently online or not, as well as optional keyboard shortcut integration that allows Messages users to launch Chatology by simply pressing command-F while in Messages.

    Chatology has one primary function, and it does it well and quickly, but many users may hesitate when they see the app's $19.99 price tag. We chatted with Flexibits' Michael Simmons about the pricing decision, and he noted that it was based in large part on the amount of work required to develop the solution to Apple's search issues. Simmons says:
    One other issue to note with Chatology is that is only available through the Flexibits Store and can not be sold through the Mac App Store due to Apple's sandboxing policies that would prevent an app like Chatology from accessing the Messages database.

    With OS X Mavericks also now available as a developer beta, potential Chatology customers may also be curious about whether Apple will solve Messages' issues for the upcoming release, but with much work left to be done on Mavericks it is unclear how the final version will perform. Simmons notes that he is hopeful Apple will make the needed improvements, pointing out that Flexibits would have preferred to "not have to write an app like Chatology and have functionality like this built right in."

    Chatology is available now exclusively from the Flexibits Store and is priced at $19.99. A 14-day free trial is also available.

    Article Link: 'Chatology' Addresses Glaring Search Issues in Apple's Messages App for Mac
  2. macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    Good example of why the sandboxing requirements of the Mac App Store are a bad thing.

    Interesting software.
  3. macrumors 68040


    Feb 12, 2010
  4. CJK
    macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2007
    The Mountain Empire
    $19.99 ... Wait, what?

    For $5, a no-brainer. At $10, I'd hesitate for a while on the fence but would probably buy it.

    But at $20, I just don't need it that badly.
  5. macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    Lincolnshire, England
    Pretty cool and sounds handy but a little too pricey.

    One of the names, Max Headroom made me laugh for some reason. Haha
  6. macrumors regular


    Jul 16, 2009

    But, I gues it depends on how much you use IRC. I could see this being an intersting support desk/business solution in which case the price would seem more reasonable per seat.
  7. macrumors 6502


    Sep 9, 2008
    San Juan, PR
    $19.99 for a backlog app? Better buy Tweetbot for Mac then.
  8. macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    Is the messages databse something Apple could limit access to and thus render your $20 software useless?
  9. macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    Sounds like it relies on a series of hacks and could break at any point in the future.
  10. macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2009
    Costs way too much. Would be nice to have, but honestly I don't search my iMessages often enough to bother buying this.

    As mentioned above, at $5 this would've been an instant buy for me.


    All it does is read your Messages logs which are stored on your computer, whilst offering a nice GUI for searching and browsing chat history, which Messages.app sucks at. It's not hacky at all. Hell, you can open Messages logs with TextEdit and read them like that.
  11. macrumors 68030

    Mar 30, 2004
    For $20, the least Chatology could add are (1) Adium support and (2) merge duplicate contacts.
  12. macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2007
    $19.99 .. same price as Mac OS X 10.8 for a utility app with functionality Apple could simply add themselves at any point. The price doesn't accurately reflect the risk vs. reward investment, even if it is a fair representation of the author's perceived value of his work. Lower to $9.99 or less, and you might have a buyer.
  13. macrumors 65832


    Jan 1, 2008
    On The Nickel, over there....
  14. macrumors 6502a

    I WAS the one

    May 16, 2006
    Sad. Sad. Sad.

    Nice idea, but it wont be a best seller as Fantastical for one small thing...

    It need to share and connect so many things that as it is it just a nice idea to play with.
  15. macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    This price point is a joke. I have no problem paying for quality software, but I can't see how $20 for the ability to search Messages is justified.
  16. macrumors 603


    Jan 8, 2009
    Been using Messages on OS X 10.9 Beta 1 and many of those points are being addressed. It's ridiculous to charge $19.99 for an app that will be fixed in a full OS X update by the fall. As a developer, the excuse is even more astounding.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 27, 2008
    apple giving us a bug ridden piece of software stinks, but someone charging more than the cost of the entire OS for a band-aid fix stinks even more.

    its not like instant messaging is new or complicated. i don't understand how its so difficult/expensive to get right in this day and age.

    p.s. 10.8.4 most definitely did NOT fix the out of order issue. happens just as frequently as it did before, with new messages that have arrived since the update.
  18. macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    Actually, it's a pretty bad example... The problem here isn't sandboxing, it's that Messages search is broken.

    $19 is a lot, but Apple could kill this product at any time.
    (Hopefully the right way, by fixing search.)
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    Don't know about anyone else, but messages still fall out of sync after closing/reopening the window/app even with the latest version of OSX.
  20. macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2006
    about 3 meters from here. *points*
  21. macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
  22. macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    Which makes it a hack. Apple doesn't have any published documentation on how they store these files. There's no public APIs. There's no reason to believe that Apple won't spontaneously and regularly change the way the files are stored. That's why apps like this aren't allowed on the App Store. They make assumptions about how files are stored that may or may not be valid.
  23. macrumors 65816


    Aug 9, 2012
    If Steve Jobs were alive, I would feel sorry for the head of the team responsible for the iChat search clusterfeck. Sounds like Apple needs a new arsehole in chief to handle bozo eruptions.
  24. macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2007
    "Stupid cheap apps are to buggy." "Stupid quality apps are too expensive."

    This a sad time to be developing software. People have no appreciation of how difficult/expensive making great software is thanks to 0.99$ everything.
  25. macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2009

    Amazing the kind of software that has popped up just to fill the horrible deficiencies half-hearted Apple programs.

    Personally, I really wish that Apple would open up the iMessage protocol and that Adium would gain iMessage support. iChat/Messages is just so incredibly limiting compared to Adium.

Share This Page