We have always believed that smaller websites have more important things to think about than handling their users logins. We also believe that users should be careful about entering their email address and password into random forms on the internet. We think that as few websites as possible should store your passwords in their database and that centralised (preferably two-step) login systems are great. That is why we always have had support for third party logins and not provided one of our own.
But, there is always a but. We have now decided to implement our own email/password login option now for a few reasons:
- OpenID didn’t really take off as we thought it would. We still think OpenID is great but unfortunately it has become a niche product that not many people support or use. The reasons for this can be discussed, but not in this blog post.
- A lot of people have asked for a email/password login method over the years.
- We now have great resources to store your password in a way that is as safe as we want our own passwords to be stored.
If you always wanted to log in to AlternativeTo with your email and a password then it is now possible to do so. You can still, of course, log in with a third-party provider, and it is also possible to connect multiple login methods to your AlternativeTo account.
Please remember folks: Never use the same combination of password and email adress on multiple sites, and use a password manager to store your (hopefully) unique passwords. There are many awesome password managers available today and they help you staying safe and organised.
Last week we made some big changes to our login system. First we added the option to use your Twitter account as method when logging in. We also made it possible to change which external service to use and you can even use multiple login methods for the same user account. This is really useful when one of the external services is down or is being discontinued for some reason. If you value your AlternativeTo account then we really recommend using at least two different login methods.
To use multiple services you just sign in with the method you use today, go to your profile and then choose to edit your profile from the link in the sidebar. At the top of the edit page you see what method you use today and right below that info you see a link to “Add / Change Your Login Method”. This link leads you to a page similar to the login page where you can just click on one of the other services and it will be connected to your account.
If you want to change your Twitter, Facebook or OpenID account then, on the same page, just click on the service you want to change, log in with your new account on that service and we will automatically connect this to your user account on AlternativeTo instead of the one your where using before.
Why can’t I just login with a username & password?
We want to make everything as simple as possible, both for our users and for ourselves. Even if you use a great password manager it can still be a mess to keep track of usernames and passwords for the hundreds of different websites you use. It’s also a great responsibility for us to keep your username and password safe. We think it’s a good thing to store your valuable data on as few places as possible, especially since most users use the same password on multiple services. We hope you agree with us and if you do not want to use any external service then it’s even possible to setup your own OpenID provider.
When we came up with the idea that was to become AlternativeTo we were determined to focus on helping people find alternatives to the applications they want to replace. To really make sure this stayed the focus we totally left out categories from the equation. Every application was its own category with a list of alternatives that shared the same main functionality. We believe that we, together with our great user community, managed to keep this focus for the site very well but now we feel it’s time to make small improvement.
The focus is still the same for AlternativeTo but during the years we have learned that many people go far beyond the usual “search for alternatives to application X, find it and move on” type of usage of the site. Many of you spend much time browsing the different application lists, forum posts and alternative lists without having a specific application to replace in mind. To make casual browsing easier we have launched 22 categories that can be attached to the applications in our database. The categories are based on tags so please help us keep the tags for all applications up to date and relevant.
You have probably already noticed the category list in the menu bar and you can use it to show only a specific category of apps when browsing an application list like Most Likes, New & Popular etc. It’s also possible to combine it with the platform filter and browse something like Business applications for Mac OS X sorted by Most Likes.
To get a quick peek at the 10 most popular applications in every category then head over to our new Category Overview page. This page can be filtered by platform as well.
As always, we’re very interested in feedback about this new feature so send us an email or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook. Any feedback about the choice of categories is also very appreciated. We’re open to changes and additions if needed.