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I usually do not rant publicly but I really need to get this off my chest. Ever since Affinity Designer 1.6.x, the application is on a fast downward spiral. I do not know who is in charge of the roadmap and general decisions but at least in my case, the application is becoming less useful and more of a pain with every update.

  • PDF export and copy/paste are broken in version 1.8
  • Version 1.8 secretly introduces an updated file format that cannot be read by previous versions. Every file opened and saved in 1.8 is converted to the current format and unreadable to previous version of the program. There is no option to save as legacy file format. Also, if purchased via the AppStore, there is no way to downgrade. One is stuck with the current versions. Period.
  • The decision to import text from PDFs into oversized textboxes rather than artistic text is such a bag of hurt for our workflows, I do not even know where to start. I have started a separate thread about this
  • On macOS: 
    • toolbar now goes right up to the top end of the window which makes it tricky to grab a window and move it around (at least if the toolbar is well populated)
    • right-click on window/tab name does not open the path hierarchy of the file in a contextual menu as it is common for MacOS applications.

It would be really nice if Affinity would give a heads-up before irreversible changes are introduced so users can make an informed decision as to whether and when they want to upgrade and to give them a chance to prevent automatic upgrades before they happen.

Quality control needs to improve. The current 1.8 release is an embarrassment for SansSerif with core functionally being barely usable. Sans Serif seems a bit stretched thin at the moment.

I have been using Affinity product for quite a while now and I have ordered our workgroup of about 20-30 scientists to stop using Adobe in favor of the Affinity products two yeas ago. It started very promising but it has been a rough ride the past year...

Please fix these issues soon.

Thanks.

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, nonresidentalien said:

Version 1.8 secretly introduces an updated file format that cannot be read by previous versions. Every file opened and saved in 1.8 is converted to the current format and unreadable to previous version of the program. There is no option to save as legacy file format. Also, if purchased via the AppStore, there is no way to downgrade. One is stuck with the current versions. Period.

That is not new. Files saved in 1.7 could not be opened in 1.6. As far as I know, fIles saved in 1.6 could not be opened in 1.5. Etc.

13 minutes ago, nonresidentalien said:

It would be really nice if Affinity would give a heads-up before irreversible changes are introduced so users can make an informed decision as to whether and when they want to upgrade and to give them a chance to prevent automatic upgrades before they happen.

Configuration options in the Mac App Store and the Microsoft Store let you determine whether automatic updates happen, or not. If you purchased from Serif directly, then on Windows there is no automatic update. And on Mac there is either no automatic update or it's configurable.

I agree with some of your other points about quality control (as I'm sure many at Serif do, too).

Edit: However, given some of your complaints, if you haven't been participating in the beta program perhaps you should be. That lets you help with quality, and educates you about forthcoming functions and how they might affect your workflow if you update. If there are changes that you know your team won't appreciate, you can avoid updating.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.651 Beta.

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On 3/6/2020 at 11:36 PM, walt.farrell said:

Edit: However, given some of your complaints, if you haven't been participating in the beta program perhaps you should be. That lets you help with quality, and educates you about forthcoming functions and how they might affect your workflow if you update. If there are changes that you know your team won't appreciate, you can avoid updating.

I have two questions about that:

1) how one takes part of the beta program?

2) any idea of when the bugs in 1.8 (boolean, expand stroke) will be solved?

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To participate in the "beta program" is quite easy: Just go to the respective beta forum within this Affinity forum and download the latest beta release. It is called a "public customer beta". So, as long as you have purchased AD, AP or APub you can install and test any of the beta apps alongside with the retail version of the three apps. Just for your information: The retail version and the beta do not interfere. They are installed in different folders and don't share any individual settings.

Serif has published some bug fixes already. But you need to install the respective beta app to test whether or not they solve the trouble for you.

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I would like to add support to having text imported from PDF as artistic text instead of (the current state) as oversized frames; this is indeed a major nuisance for our workflows as well.

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Thank you all for offering information and your opinions.

Well, of course I am aware of the fact that Affinity does not make the rules of the respective app stores but this said, it makes it even more important that applications are only released when they are ready for it. Unfortunately, once purchased, one is locked in that ecosystem, and Serif so far has not offered to lend a hand to get out of it (e.g. making a non-Appstore license for a legacy version available to me).

I am a beta tester for many applications, in particular programs that are crucial for my research and that have a history of rolling out buggy updates. This is very time-consuming (if done right), and I do this not only to contribute to the development but also to be aware of potential shortcomings/changes of upcoming updates. Till recently, Serif has done a great job, was very responsive to user suggestions so I saw no need to get involved. Times seem to have changed, and beta testing it is..

Again, I am highly supportive of Serif (I initiated the switch to Affinity products for the whole research group after all (i.e. over 15 seats)) and I think it is important to have them around, developing great products. I also do not go on a rant over the occasional bug. Yet, I think it is important to make it known, when the development decisions and/or the quality assurance standards are not meeting the needs of the customers anymore. 

Cheers,

L.

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On 3/6/2020 at 5:23 PM, nonresidentalien said:

Also, if purchased via the AppStore, there is no way to downgrade. One is stuck with the current versions. Period.

If your backup strategy includes Time Machine or something similar, you can replace the 1.8 version with an earlier one. (Apple actually recommends backing up all apps purchased from the Mac App Store (MAS), but that little tidbit is buried in some FAQ or some other obscure article that most people do not read.)

As already mentioned, you can turn off automatic MAS updates in System Preferences. Apple made this harder to find in Mojave & later, but it is still there, now hiding in the drop-down sheet the "Advanced" button opens. I turned it off years ago & it has remained off through multiple OS upgrades, but if it is still enabled on your Macs you may want to consider disabling it so you can control when or if you want to install individual MAS updates, not just for Affinity but also for any other apps you purchased through MAS.

Both making app backups & taking control of if or when MAS updates occur are precautions often recommended for anyone using MAS apps for commercial purposes, but personally I think both are something everyone should consider doing. In a perfect world neither would be necessary but in the real one it is well worth having a 'plan b' for when things go sideways.

On 3/6/2020 at 5:23 PM, nonresidentalien said:

toolbar now goes right up to the top end of the window which makes it tricky to grab a window and move it around (at least if the toolbar is well populated)

The toolbar is customizable so you could add a regular space somewhere in it to make it easier to grab the window to move it around. I always remove all the flexible spaces in the toolbar & replace a few of them with regular spaces. This gives me several places to grab the window.

Also, the 'unified' toolbar you get in Mojave or later is a new(ish) Apple standard that Serif has adopted in 1.8. For better or worse, the idea is to free up more space in the window by combining the window title header with the window control widgets (the 3 colored circles) & the document name with the toolbar that previously was below it.

A side effect of this is the document name has become an optional item in the toolbar. In the "Customize Toolbar" window it is labeled "Status" & if does not appear in your toolbar, you can drag it in in the usual way, placing it wherever you want. Aside from displaying the document name, it also can be used to drag the window around.


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.3.180 & Affinity Designer 1.8.3.2 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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19 hours ago, techfips said:

I would like to add support to having text imported from PDF as artistic text instead of (the current state) as oversized frames

I am not quite sure, what you mean ... Do you mean grouping several lines of text into a single text frame. Although the result is not Artistic text, you can prevent the grouping of text lines. With the first option checked or unchecked I have never seen a difference so far. Second option I have always checked, because working with larger text content would make no joy with single lines of text.

pdf-import.jpg

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It seems that everyone who purchases any Affinity product is enrolling in a beta program. How else to describe software whose native file format changes dramatically with every minor update?

Affinity's formal beta program seems to lack systematic testing protocols that will detect significant problems with new versions before they are released.

On the day Ver 1.7 was released (June 5, 2019)  I reported that Ver 1.7 afphoto files were 4 to 10 times larger than Ver 1.6 files. I discovered this no more than 10 minutes after downloading and installing the new version.
https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/87186-file-sizes-in-photo-for-windows-170-split/&do=findComment&comment=461955

This huge increase in file sizes seemed to be a surprise to everyone. I wondered how it could have been missed in beta testing. If the developers knew about it, why had they not informed Affinity support staff? 

It was later explained that the file size increase was an inadvertent result of last minute changes in APhoto to accommodate Affinity Publisher features. It was also said that it was a problem only for jpg files, which had not been tested prior to release. I wondered how jpg files were avoided during testing since that's the most widely used image filetype of all.

Effective beta testing requires the systematic examination of all features of the software. If beta testing consists only of waiting for a small number of dedicated users to report problems, then only problems with the few things that those dedicated users do all the time will ever be noticed. If beta testers shoot only in RAW, then they won't detect problems arising for the vast majority of people who simply use their camera's jpg files.

I would be interested in trying the beta versions except that Affinity warns me that beta versions should never be used for production work. Testers are warned that the beta version could crash and all work could be lost. But worse than that is the fact that the file format might change at any moment and any previously saved work might also be lost. It could be that no version of APhoto will ever again be able to open an afphoto file saved by a beta version.

 


Affinity Photo 1.8.3.641, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641, Windows 10 Pro x64 version 1909, 
Dell XPS 8930, 16 GB Ram,  Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070

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I agree with the sentiments of the OP here, I see a lot of people who are not that bothered about the myriad broken functions in v1.8, I can only assume they either are using this software as a hobby or have free access to the downgrades. I can accept that it's partly my stupid fault for not forcing the Microsoft store to NOT update automatically, but I've not seen anyone from Serif post an actual apology to us customers for pushing this release out in such a bad state.

16 hours ago, nonresidentalien said:

(e.g. making a non-Appstore license for a legacy version available to me).

I suggested in another thread that they make a v1.7 'beta' release so app store people can roll back using that - the betas check for a valid current install to activate them. One of the staff replied that the betas should still work. No links, no help to get the file. I responded to say the link from the forum for the v1.7 beta is no longer active. Still no reply. They can fix this for everyone affected, they are choosing not to.

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FWIW, I suspect the premature of 1.8 was unintentional -- somebody pushed the wrong button, moved something to the wrong place, whatever. This kind of thing happens from time to time even to giants like Apple & Microsoft, who both have pushed out OS updates that broke a lot of functions on a lot of computers, sometimes so badly that the only way for users without a comprehensive backup plan to recover was to reinstall everything from scratch.

So for those that do not have such a plan, please consider this a wakeup call & get one ASAP. Even if every update goes smoothly & is bug free, computers & drives can die at any time, often with no warning. With a good backup plan, it is an inconvenience. Without one, it is a disaster.


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.3.180 & Affinity Designer 1.8.3.2 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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55 minutes ago, BofG said:

I suggested in another thread that they make a v1.7 'beta' release so app store people can roll back using that - the betas check for a valid current install to activate them. One of the staff replied that the betas should still work. No links, no help to get the file. I responded to say the link from the forum for the v1.7 beta is no longer active. Still no reply. They can fix this for everyone affected, they are choosing not to.

I suspect that answer was incorrect. I'm not a Mac user, so I can't confirm, but I remember from past releases that the Mac betas (a_ require a retail version to be installed, but (b) will not run if a newer retail version is installed. So unless they changed the behavior of the Mac betas in 1.7, once you have 1.8 installed the 1.7 betas on Mac would not help.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.651 Beta.

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16 minutes ago, R C-R said:

FWIW, I suspect the premature of 1.8 was unintentional

Given that they had a beta release tagged as RC (Release Candidate), followed by one tagged GM (Gold Master) that they released to the MAS to begin staging to the MAS servers several days before the release announcement, I don't see how the release could have been unintentional.

The errors specific to the MAS version were unintentional, certainly, as they had some late, unrecognized, issue with the content of Serif's build server that fed into the MAS upload.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.651 Beta.

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3 hours ago, Joachim_L said:

I am not quite sure, what you mean ... Do you mean grouping several lines of text into a single text frame. Although the result is not Artistic text, you can prevent the grouping of text lines. With the first option checked or unchecked I have never seen a difference so far. Second option I have always checked, because working with larger text content would make no joy with single lines of text.

pdf-import.jpg

When using the "artistic text" tool (first attachment), then exporting to PDF and reimporting/opening (irrespective of the combination of the checkbox settings), one ends up with a "frame text" that is sitting in a box larger than the original text demands (see second attachment)...

Affinity_Designer_Beta_-__Untitled___Modified___377_5__.png

Affinity_Designer_Beta_-_sampletext_pdf__467_9__.png

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11 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

Given that they had a beta release tagged as RC (Release Candidate), followed by one tagged GM (Gold Master) that they released to the MAS to begin staging to the MAS servers several days before the release announcement, I don't see how the release could have been unintentional.

I have not checked the Windows beta release notifications but in the Affinity Range Mac Beta Release Notifications topic I can find only 3 references to any tagged with "(GM)" & all 3 of them are for Affinity Photo. There are also 3 others tagged with "(RC1)" but they are all for Designer. Neither of the two apps have both an RC1 & GM tag & there are no Publisher betas tagged with either one.

So it still seems quite plausible to me that all the 1.8 retail updates were unintentional.


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.3.180 & Affinity Designer 1.8.3.2 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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On 3/7/2020 at 2:04 PM, rovedajr said:

I have two questions about that:

1) how one takes part of the beta program?

2) any idea of when the bugs in 1.8 (boolean, expand stroke) will be solved?

For Mac, got to 

PC betas can be found here:

If you read up in the respective beta fora, you will get an idea about the existing issues and fixes.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Joachim_L said:

I am not quite sure, what you mean ... Do you mean grouping several lines of text into a single text frame. Although the result is not Artistic text, you can prevent the grouping of text lines. With the first option checked or unchecked I have never seen a difference so far. Second option I have always checked, because working with larger text content would make no joy with single lines of text.

pdf-import.jpg

 

Here is a thread that deals with the issue in detail.

 

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Hi techfips,
The text being imported as a text frame in v1.8 was an intentional change however this is causing issues for some users working with scientific illustrations/graphs/etc. The issue was logged/passed to the dev team and it's currently being looked into.

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Thanks for making me aware of the existing thread! I see that I am certainly not the only scientific user of AD that got their workflow messed up. As such, I can only hope for an option to get back the importing as artistic text...

I would add to the general dissatisfaction with regard to many folks, group leaders, etc. advertising AD to their peers and students as a really useful product for brushing up scientific illustrations/diagrams, but lately that promise cannot be kept as much as I would like it to.

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On 3/9/2020 at 12:27 PM, nonresidentalien said:

For Mac, got to 

PC betas can be found here:

If you read up in the respective beta fora, you will get an idea about the existing issues and fixes.

Thanks for this information @nonresidentalien!

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On 3/13/2020 at 3:02 PM, Patrick Connor said:

@rovedajr

I would prefer the file that demonstrates the problem with a beta build was posted into the beta forum, where the QA team and developer are more active, thanks.

Sorry. My bad. You're absolutely correct.

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In 1.8.3, the alignment to key object pop-up behavior has been changed, and has become way more tedious to use: The preferred method of alignment ('last selected' etc) now has to selected after the 'centered' etc button has been pressed FOR EVERY SINGLE ALIGNMENT. The tool does not remember the last selection. Doing a lot of key-object alignments, this totally random change has dealt another blow to my workflows. 

 

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