Welp, I did it. Bunch 1.4.0 is officially out, and is showing up as an automatic update for unsuspecting Bunch users as I write this. This should probably (definitely) have been a major version bump to 2.0, but I didn’t because that seemed grandiose. I mean, it is a grandiose update, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Quick recap for newcomers: Bunch is a macOS automation tool that runs on plain text files. At its most basic, you can just type out a list of apps you want to launch. Save the text file to Bunch’s folder, and it shows up in a menu in your menu bar. When you click it, all those apps launch. When you click it again, all those apps quit. It goes way, way beyond that capability, but that’s the idea. Everything you need to set up a context (writing, podcasting, zooming, relaxing… whatever you’re doing next) in plain text. Add new automations just by creating new text files, and edit automations as easily as typing in a text editor.
I added a “What’s New?” page to the Bunch site. I culled the list of changes since the last stable release from 247 entries to the 36 items that I think users should be aware of. I won’t rewrite that here, but if you’re on the stable version (1.3.6) and have never touched the 1.4 betas, I encourage you to check it out and get a feel for all the updates. The changelog itself is overwhelming at this point, so hopefully the “What’s New?” page distills it enough to be a starting point for exploring new features.
Side note: I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but the Bunch docs are all written in Markdown and the site runs on Jekyll. The markdown is in a public GitHub repo. When I release a Bunch update, the repo get a matching version tag. I wrote a Jekyll plugin that shows diffs of the docs between releases as a section at the top of the changelog. Because the first thing I do after adding features or making improvements is to write about them, the “Recently Updated Documentation” section offers a nice, detailed look at the latest changes.
Version 1.4 is easily 10x more powerful than the last 1.3 version. It’s hard to quantify in any meaningful way, but the addition of frontmatter, expansion of variables, inclusion of conditional logic, interactive dialogs, single site browsers, embedded snippets, and a hundred other shiny new things make it a major upgrade. My only fear is that users still on 1.3 were entirely happy with the way it was, and this will just overwhelm them. Hopefully, though, everyone will be as delighted as I am by version 1.4.
The Beta program will continue as it has, with frequent releases for those willing to help test whatever craziness I come up with. I’ll be making more regular updates on the stable channel, though, so there’s no longer any pressure to get on the beta just because the stable channel is so far behind it. If you do want to get the latest stuff first, just grab the Beta — you’ll see the link under the big download button on the download page.
Lastly, I know of a couple people working on videos/posts about Bunch. I’m super into that. If you want to share your thoughts with the world and need anything from me, don’t hesitate to ask.
There Will Be