A basic rule of thumb among bloggers is this. If the title of an article ends in a question mark, then the answer is no. That works most of the time but not this time. Any Mac user who has devoted time and effort on both Mac and Windows knows this. Microsoft and Apple have borrowed plenty of features from each other through the years, so it should not surprise us when a Mac app developer is inspired by a few features found in Windows, then adopts those into a truly Mac-like experience which can– almost– replace the Mac’s venerable Dock app launcher.
It’s not as if the Dock is all wrong. It’s not. It’s simple. It’s elegant. It works. It could do more, but why bother when most Mac users are satisfied with the Dock’s basic functionality as app launcher and file navigator, and there are many Mac launcher utilities which do more. Though the years I’ve tried and used about every Dock replacement utility known to the community. I call the effort The Search. My favorite for many years was DragThing, but newer utilities show promise, including uBar.
Windows users know about the Start button and the app tray. uBar is inspired by what Windows wrought, but takes it to a new level by combining Dock-like functions with the Finder with the Dashboard and a number of other familiar app launchers.
Behold. Familiar, no?
uBar displays the open app names and any open windows for each app, all with a quick glance. One feature lets you view previews for an app’s open windows.
What about the app launcher function?
One click gives you access to favorite apps, System Preferences, Applications, the Home folder, Documents, Downloads, and pretty much anything else.
uBar comes with a bunch of customization options. Whereas most Dock arrangements are similar, uBar can be personalized to match your requirements for quick launch and file navigation without using the Finder.
Even Mac power users will appreciate the long list of options and keyboard shortcuts. Move uBar to any side of the Mac’s screen. use it on multiple displays. Create your own Favorites launch area. Select from a variety of custom themes; light, dark, platinum, and others.
Need a calendar? Hover the Mac’s screen pointer (often referred to as the ‘mouse’ even though most Macs don’t come with a mouse any more) to display the Calendar, or hover to see previews of apps. Even unresponsive apps get their own status in uBar. Or, if you suffer from having too many apps in the Mac’s Dock and don’t want the icons to disappear from sight, use uBar’s expandable rows to create more visual space.
Let’s face it, there hasn’t been much change to the basic user interface for Mac or Windows in nearly 20 years. Every advancement is more incremental than disruptive. Even uBar is a variation of multiple themes but the end result is worth scrapping the Dock (if you’re looking for something else then you know the Dock’s shortcomings) and trying something different.