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This is, essentially, a Dock replacer on steroids - dating back to before the Dock even existed.

I've been using DragThing since v1.0 in the mid 1990's so it's fair to say I'm rather used to it & will be sad to see it finally die after macOS 10.15. The author has announced it will receive no further updates & it is no longer available to purchase.

I'm hunting for anything vaguely similar - essentially a replacement for the Dock or the even more cumbersome Lauchpad, which I cannot bear [literally 10 screens of apps just apparently scattered in at random, whether I want them there or not].

Screenshots -

From the DragThing site, showing various display options -

enter image description here

My own, very minimalist way I use it -

enter image description here

Each of these tiny labels can be anchored anywhere on screen, follow you to any Space, be hidden in apps you don't want it to interfere with & when clicked, each one pops open to reveal a completely customisable set of tabs which can contain almost anything - folders, apps, docs, pictures etc
Right click has options & key commands can be added to any item to launch, hide, get info, reveal original etc.

enter image description here

Late edit:
As I now discover I don't have a Mac in the house that will be able to run Catalina, the point has become moot.

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Applications with vaguely similar features, without any prediction as to whether they will run on macOS 10.15. Some may have to be combined, few are free, homebrewed solutions (with folders and scripts) excluded:

uBar:
The Dock replacement for the Mac.
The Dock was great when it was released in 2001. Today, you need more power and more functionality. uBar can be configured as a dock or task bar for macOS.

ActiveDock:
Customizable Dock for macOS, Application Launcher, Window Manager/Window Switcher, Start Menu for Mac…

DockShelf:
Did you ever wish your Dock could do more or handle more of your apps and files? DockShelf lets you place unlimited docks around your desktop so you never run out of space again for your commonly used files, folders and applications! With DockShelf launching your favorite documents and apps is faster and more powerful because you control where your docks are positioned, how many are on screen, how they're labeled and when they're visible.

iCollections:
is an expertly designed application which helps you keep your Mac desktop organized. The app's unique features are what make it the most popular method of desktop organization for Mac users.

Station:
is a multilevel (hierarchical) launcher that promotes a more natural organization of applications and documents into folders. With nested folders, you can arrange items in Station in a way that fits your workflow with an uncluttered look and feel. Scalability is greatly increased through logical groupings thus increasing the sheer number of items that can be added to Station without having to shrink the launcher size.

Alfred:
is an award-winning app for macOS which boosts your efficiency with hotkeys, keywords, text expansion and more. Search your Mac and the web, and be more productive with custom actions to control your Mac.

Slik for macOS:
Organize and launch your collection of Mac applications and Web apps.

Butler:
makes it easier for you to perform a wide variety of potentially recurring tasks. Just arrange these tasks in Butler's fully customizable configuration and assign one or more triggers to a task.

LaunchBar:
offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides instant access to your applications, documents, contacts, and bookmarks, to your music library, to search engines and more, just by entering short abbreviations of the searched item's name.

Overflow:
Overflow allows you to quickly and easily launch applications, open documents, or access folders. Reduce clutter in your Dock by storing infrequently-used items in Overflow instead.
Any item you see in the Finder can be added to the Overflow interface, making it accessible through a few simple mouse clicks or keystrokes.

TabLauncher:
helps finding and launching your favorite programs, web pages, folders, or any type of files in a fast and easy way.

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    I'm going to mark this one as accepted simply because it's very comprehensive. I haven't yet decided on which to go for; I may not until I'm forced to ;-) – Tetsujin May 30 at 11:33
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Two highly rated dock replacement apps, which are most similar to the Dock, are Tab Launcher and Active Dock. Active Doc is free while Tab Launcher is $4. There is a Tab Launcher Lite version that is free.

There is an app Launchpad Manager that will alphabetize the apps for display on the Launchpad. You must get the Pro version which does many things and sells for $8. Adding new apps may effect the order but you just run Launchpad Manager again.

  • Thanks. TabLauncher looks most like it, so far. I'm slightly worried it's seen no updates in 2 years, so I'd have to check it's still going to work in 10.15. – Tetsujin May 3 at 13:06

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