Questions about long term sustainability before fully diving in :)

Hi all

just discovered today about hook (dunno how i missed it over last year :)) and it looks really cool

now this maybe a idiotic question since i really haven’t dived in fully and not sure i understand the whole concept but ill ask anyway :slight_smile:

what makes this sustainable long term. That is what happens if for some reason hook development is done or apple decided to change stuff in OS X V.whatever with all the thousands of links we generate using hook? Are they all broken?

would love to hear the communities thought on this before fully committing :slight_smile:



Well, nothing in society is really sustainable in the long run – as the current crises demonstrates well.

I think if you look into the background of the CogSci crew you’ll see they are pretty well grounded in what they do. The price is reasonable (another factor). The support is certainly responsive and generous. The app has evolved continually for at least a couple of years, so it’s not likely to be someone’s hobby fantasy. Seems like a trustworthy venture to me.


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Welcome to the Hook Productivity Forum, @zeltak. And thanks for asking.

I’m part of the CogSci Apps team. Hook does not depend on any undocumented macOS features. (There was an initiative several years ago for tagging that used features (xattributes) in a way that some objected to. Hook does not do that. Having said that, xattributes continue to be used without problem in those types of endeavours – i am definitely not passing judgment on it.)

Of course, any third party app developer can be unpleasantly surprised by Apple. it happens from time to time and developers work around issues if they can/and are committed. Moreover, Apple’s own apps sometimes change in ways its users do not like. (Final Cut being a prime example.)

Hook has an export mechanism (Preferences > Export). So you can export Hook information. The database where Hook data are stored is not encrypted. It’s in the standard place ~/Library/Application\ Support/com.cogsciapps.hook/ .

Hook has an AppleScript dictionary, so you can browse Hook bookmarks without the Hook UI, and get data out. The dictionary is not yet complete. We are extending Hook’s AppleScript dictionary to help users / developers do more with it. There was a forum topic recently about that.

Hook’s documentation is on its website, which makes it easy for us to extend and users to get the benefits immediately: here and here , which we continue to extend.

I’ve been doing R&D in this space since 2001. (I led the software development of related multimillion $ R&D at Simon Fraser University from 2002-2009. Our CTO , a dev of ours and I have been working together on CP projects since 2003 and 2006 with some breaks in there to do other work.) I.e., the research and development projects are interrelated. I’ve also written a couple of books about this. There are multiple devs involved, and others. So we’re not just flying by here. Hook 1.x is the tip of the iceberg :slight_smile: . CogSci Apps is committed to extending Hook in innovative ways that address key cognitive productivity challenges we have identified, such as the meta-access problem described in the first Cognitive Productivity book. I.e., we like to pleasantly surprise, rather than develop software that already exists. Without putting a specific date on it, I can say Hook 2.0 is in the works.

I don’t mean this to be the last word in the discussion, of course. CogSci Apps will publish some other relevant material too.
2020-05-02 17:17: I updated this post to mention our CTO and dev in relation to Hook’s history.

Thank you for your very detailed response @LucB

im also an academic (also have collaborated with people from Simon Fraser per chance…small world :)) so long term feasibility is important, and your answers are very reassuring!

i will go ahead and purchase Hook, looking forward to using it



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I think Hook is a reasonably priced and reasonably useful link utility, and perhaps links by their nature are likely to be ephemeral things. (We all bump into dead links on the web a little more than we would like).

The main vulnerability is the dependence on a whole library of application-specific scripting hacks for:

  1. Link formation
  2. Link following

As Luc says, the Hook database is not locked in, and data could indeed emigrate through:

  • Preferences > Export
  • AppleScript
  • Sqlite querying

but it’s not clear how usable that data would be without the underpinning cloud of scripts which enable Hook’s generic url scheme.

We should still be able to write our own custom url schemes, should Hook’s be shelved at a later point:

but it would still depend on the whims and fortunes of each particular application GUI, and would still require active maintenance of scripts for deriving and serving linkages for particular applications.

If Luc will forgive me for summarising his response to you as:

  • yes things do change,
  • but the data can be exported,
  • and I’m an expert.

The third leg of that argument seems a little out of place.

The product’s main challenge will be to build a sustainable market profile which relies more on self-evident excellence of design and utility than on claims of authority, or the wearing of ‘scientific’ costume.

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Thanks Rob for the opportunity to clarify. I didn’t mean it to be a claim of authority or that the app is better because of this, though it certainly sounded like I was saying that. What I was trying to convey in relation to the OP is that we have been at this for a long a time and its history is actually in a scientific R&D programme (we don’t need to put scare quotes around that – the grant proposals, funding, and publications are there). Of course, technically we could overnight become disinterested in the research side of this – not likely :wink: .

Still, customers always need to consider the possibility that a vendor might collapse – particularly when one is innovating. In order for the very thing I mentioned we like to do (innovate) not to become a liability we have to provide customers with an exit strategy.

We’ve provided the basis of that through automation etc. as you mentioned.

we should say more about how this can be done. Even if CogSci Apps were to disintegrate, the user would still have his Hook binaries. Even hook://file links can easily be converted with AppleScript. As an example, scripts could be written by anyone to insert target URL info into Finder file comments and/or xattributes; and/or aliases stored in the directories in which files reside. That covers one side of the file links. And other mapping stuff can be done. We’ll say more about this.

for what it’s worth, I agree.