Meny bar apps need to move to Dashbaord

Shawn Blanc recently reviewed one of my favorite apps, Delivery Status.

Delivery Status is both a universal iOS app and a Dashboard Widget for OS X. You paste the tracking number for a shipment you’re expecting, and Delivery Status will keep tabs on it, letting you know where the package is and what day it will arrive. The apps and widget stay in sync via Junecloud’s sync service.

I’ve been using Delivery Status for years, when it was just a Dashboard widget. I even set up a rule to forward and then archive all email I receive from FedEx or Amazon, which automatically adds my deliveries to the tracker. Super cool.

To me, Delivery Status is a perfect example of how Dashboard widgets should behave. It runs in the background, just a click away, and is wrapped in a beautiful UI. Why aren’t there more Dashboard widgets out there? Instead, we have an over abundance of menu bar icons. Here’s my current menu bar.

I have a billion apps running, and was thrilled when Bartender came to clean up the mess. So here’s the deal; How many of these apps could work just as well as Dashboard icons? Let’s run down the list.

Can these apps move to Dashboard?

  • Fantastical: Yes! This would be a perfect Dashboard app.
  • Droplr: No, because I drag files to it.
  • Arq: Yes
  • BusySync: Yes
  • CleanMyDrive: Yes
  • Day One: Yes
  • Dropbox: Yes
  • GrowlVoice: Yes
  • Hazel: Yes
  • iTeleport: Yes
  • Notification Center: Meh, probably not
  • OpenDNS: Yes
  • Pastebot: Yes
  • QuickCursor: Yes
  • System icons: No

I don’t know enough about programing to say why developers prefer to make menu bar apps instead of Dashboard widgets. Perhaps you can’t access a specific widget via a global hotkey. Perhaps you can’t set a widget as a login item. Maybe OS X kills widgets after a certain amount of time. But, it seems like Delivery Status has been just fine.

Dashboard provides much more opportunity for developers to portray more information in a mode not too unlike iOS. Like iOS apps, widgets are single purpose and lightweight. Making the move would certainly alleviate the cramped top right corner of our screens, too.

UPDATE: Mike Piontek, the developer behind Delivery Status, just enlightened me. Widgets can’t be sold in the App Store, which means they don’t get iCloud access either.

Rick Stawarz

Minneapolis, MN

I am an Apple Certified Support Professional with over a decade of experience supporting families, schools, and businesses. Tech has always captured my imagination, but it's not my only passion. I'm an ordained Anglican minister;  Aeropress is a daily ritual of mine; I've driven across Mongolia; and I'm the father of three girls. I hope to provide for you a balanced and realistic perspective into the practicality of technology.