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KipV

It seems like an Lightroom competitor is more important then a layout competitor

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Over the last couple of days I have been trying out the latest version of Quark that I have been really enjoying using (2017 is the only version I have used.) To me it seems like this is going to be a very hard area for Serif to compete in given that there are two products that many are happy with that have been advancing since the 1980s (or at least there are people that are happy with one of those two options.) Even if Publisher was out today it would still have a massive challenge in competing with these two options especially at Quark's new low $400 entry price (and yes that is low for a product of that level.)

 

To me it seems like Lightroom like products would be so much easier to compete with due to the fact that it is a field that is only about ten years old and still has a lot of room to grow. I still have several major grips with LR and also the way that Affinity Photo interacts with catalog software like Apple Photos. It just seems like the more logical step to me. I think the fact that LR is the one app that hasn't not yet been subscription only shows that Adobe is aware that customers could easily move off this product to a competitor more easily then many other more well established products.

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Glad, you're enjoying Quark, but to be honest, I don't like the new version at all. It's a nice enough software (been using it many years ago), but even though they try hard, they are currently not up to scratch. I personally am eagerly awaiting a good, new and modern layout software!

 

You are right insofar, that competition to Lightroom is sought after by many as well, my opinion though is, that this competition should go further, offering a complete DAM solution, reading more than just image files.

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I am curious to what areas you would think Affinity would do much better then Quark and/or ID? Having a single file format would be nice and could provide an new interesting way to work but beyond that it is hard for me to think of features that Serif would come out with that the other two couldn't just immediately copy with a vastly larger feature set.

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A stock ID and QXP has fleshed out what basics are needed over the years, of course. But neither of them can still do all of what made Ventura Publisher so great for long documents.

 

Improvements could be made to both ID & QXP as regards features. And I know which of the two is moving faster in that regard. But both of them could have some user refinements, so at least as regards work-flow, there is much that Serif could do from the start to make working in APub a better experience--but it isn't going to happen.

 

But as regards feature sets, APub could natively do what plug-ins/XTensions are required for in the other two. I don't think that is going to happen, either. Certainly not in the 1.x releases. While the other two layout applications being mentioned have fewer avenues for growth, APub obviously can gain ground at a seemingly more rapid pace, but what those features are and how they are implemented in APub over its initial development versions are crucial. And here again, I think Serif "knows" what professional users want and how they "should" use APub and are going to go about things without industry consultation in a Serif sort of way.

 

Now, going about it in a Serif sort of way may not be bad, but I think it'll be different—and some of those differences are already present in AD (think swatches et al) regardless of whether they should be the way they are or not.

 

So a nod to Kip's thread title. Aren't there already a bunch of DAMs available? And wouldn't some of the same arguments about playing catch-up with ID/QXP also apply to Serif's initial foray into a DAM?

 

Mike

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Mike, it's nice to meet someone, who still remembers how wonderful Ventura Publisher was! I LOVED the database publisher and would pay a lot of money for a working modern version of both.

 

Kip, you only mentioned Quark in your first post, not InDesign  —  I have tested the new Quark for about an hour and dismissed it for two reasons: firstly, it still can't import HTML or XML (not talking about ,working with', just simply importing them, something that Quark DID do back in version 9, it was scrapped in version 10) and secondly it still uses an absolutely annoying installer that creates a system preferences entry for no reason (macOS).

 

InDesign is easier to use, imports XML (not very good, but I'm happy to take what I get) and the styles system makes more sense … however, there's still a lot of things it COULD do (like proper tables, conditional master pages, better overview of linked documents, generally more stability, a non-subscription purchase model and externally linked formatted text as e.g. in RagTime).

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Hi Jens.

 

I still use it so it's a little hard to forget! This latest go round, I started with a half dozen publications to port to mostly QXP and some into ID. That expanded to around 20 some and likely there will be more to do.

 

I get a couple to port over every couple years on average but this year is teaming with them from several companies around the world.

 

Fun stuff.

 

Mike

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Yes, I have argued long and hard about XML being excised from Q. But I have successfully ported most companies to using tagged text and it would be hard for me to go back to XML. Tagged text, especially in conjunction with the tagged text plug-in from Em Software works far more reliably and more assured.

 

That,said, Q is possibly going to reintroduce XML. But better integration. Because their Quark Publishing platform uses XML for automation and has advantages over the former XML integration, and the fact that all that superior XML code is present, that's what will probably happen

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Mike, the LR like products are still very new (about 10 years old) where the layout tools are closer to 30. There is still a lot of ground to cover in this area. It is interesting to me how Apple scrapped both of their photo catalog tools in favor of a new one (Aperture and iPhoto which got replaced by Photos.) This shows in part that the pace of development in this area is moving quite quickly with a lot of innovation still in the pipeline. I haven't used Ventura so I can't comment on that. 

 

Jens, as far as all the internet development tools I am wondering what the demand is for doing that in tool like ID and Quark over using apps that are specifically made for web design? Perhaps Affinity's persona feature would make this workflow significantly better? (A persona for web development, print, and ebook?) 

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On 7/13/2017 at 1:23 AM, MikeW said:

Hi Jens.

 

I still use it so it's a little hard to forget! This latest go round, I started with a half dozen publications to port to mostly QXP and some into ID. That expanded to around 20 some and likely there will be more to do.

 

I get a couple to port over every couple years on average but this year is teaming with them from several companies around the world.

 

Fun stuff.

 

Mike

 

On 7/13/2017 at 1:30 AM, MikeW said:

Yes, I have argued long and hard about XML being excised from Q. But I have successfully ported most companies to using tagged text and it would be hard for me to go back to XML. Tagged text, especially in conjunction with the tagged text plug-in from Em Software works far more reliably and more assured.

 

That,said, Q is possibly going to reintroduce XML. But better integration. Because their Quark Publishing platform uses XML for automation and has advantages over the former XML integration, and the fact that all that superior XML code is present, that's what will probably happen

 

The increased interest in ports might have to do with some companies leaving Windows XP behind and in this process updating their other software as well … unfortunately my last job in Ventura was almost eight years ago; it was a catalogue, automatically generated from an Access Database through DB Publisher. Good times!

 

I have tried tagged text, but the customer I need this for is using a database that strictly exports either HTML or XML  —  wouldn't be too much of a hassle to take the HTML and change it, but I got used to InDesign now and I'm sticking with it until something new comes around that I really, really like. I'm using the "InData" plugin from Emsoftware by the way … seems we are working on slightly similar jobs. :)

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Yep, I use Em Software's data merge stuff frequently as well. Use them in conjunction once in a while too.

 

I have mentioned in APub threads that I would like to see a better merge facility than a mere mail merge. A merging combined with scripting, which is what InData/XData is.

 

I don't think any of the companies I switched to tagged text even knew what it was before I demonstrated the difference using their data. The "what" I could do with it versus XML. I had to guide some of their IT people in constructing the queries for the output. But each company did the work quickly. 

 

One can also write an XSLT to reformat the XML too.

 

Most of my clients using XML have been big pharma and hospitals. 

 

Mike 

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Kip, it isn't as extensive as plug-ins are for ID. And currently there is no scripting available for Windows users but the Mac version does support AppleScript. 

 

There are three great XTensions to look at that are inexpensive though. All from the same creator. You can find out about them on the closed QXP group.

 

The others I use are from the same companies that make plug-ins for ID, but there are some other maker's as well. Just depends on what you need to accomplish.

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An Affinity layout application would be nice to have, it wouldn't have feature parity with the giants, but then again I don't need all those features anyway. I think that's precisely the market niche that can be filled by Affinity Publisher. I for example have recently purchased PagePlus X9 to do some basic layout work, and it has already paid itself. :)

Edit: Also, some functions normally related to layout applications, like linked files and hidden/special characters, can trickle down to Designer/Photo too.

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One thing I would really like from a Lightroom like product would be to have a tagging system that is the same as the OS tagging system. If I search for a tag in the Finder/Spotlight it should also pick the tags in the photo editing program and the other way around. I can sort of understand why this didn't work when LR came out because at the time the Mac didn't have tagging but if we are starting with an all new product then the product should do this.

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I just wanted to add an update to this post.

On 7/12/2017 at 3:00 PM, KipV said:

To me it seems like Lightroom like products would be so much easier to compete with due to the fact that it is a field that is only about ten years old and still has a lot of room to grow.

Thankfully several have filled in this area very well including recent improvements with the Affinity Photo extension in Apple Photos. I haven't seem to run into any problems with the latest AP beta yet in this area.

On 7/12/2017 at 3:00 PM, KipV said:

I still have several major grips with LR and also the way that Affinity Photo interacts with catalog software like Apple Photos.

Fortunately Capture One 20.1 fixes most all the complaints I had with LR. I am really curious if anyone is having problems with the Affinity Photo extension in Apple Photos anymore? That was such a long standing bug but I really hope it isn't around anymore.

On 7/12/2017 at 3:00 PM, KipV said:

Even if Publisher was out today it would still have a massive challenge in competing with these two options

As good as the latest version of Publisher is there is still goofiness with things like the leading overrides not being clearly labeled and easy to be mistaken as a regular leading box. In another words even some of the basic functionality is yet to be thought out. There seems to be more of a better long term plan with Affinity Publisher so for that reason I am glad the focus was on the layout tool. Hopefully there will be a big push to get Publisher up to where the degree of polish the other apps are already at.

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On 7/3/2020 at 2:02 AM, KipV said:

I am really curious if anyone is having problems with the Affinity Photo extension in Apple Photos anymore? That was such a long standing bug but I really hope it isn't around anymore.

Very much regret to confirm that there are still problems with Affinity Photo extensions in Apple Photos, in particular Edit in Affinity Photo and Affinity Develop. It seems unlikely there is a fix in line anytime soon, indeed, it seems to be very low on the priority. 

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On 7/25/2017 at 5:12 PM, KipV said:

One thing I would really like from a Lightroom like product ....

With regard to Lightroom like products, I switched to On1 Photo Raw in early 2020 as a result of incompatibility between LR 6.14 and Catalina. I am very pleased with On1 Photo Raw to date. As a DAM it is very similar to LR, the migration of edits worked better than I expected, and with its layers capability it also takes care of the relatively light Photoshop-type tasks I used to do with Adobe Elements. 

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7 hours ago, rhmb said:

Very much regret to confirm that there are still problems with Affinity Photo extensions in Apple Photos, in particular Edit in Affinity Photo and Affinity Develop. It seems unlikely there is a fix in line anytime soon, indeed, it seems to be very low on the priority. 

Bummer, what version of Photos are you running? I run version 4 on Mojave haven't had any problems with 1.8.4 yet. I also have a couple other Macs on Catalina I can try there as well.

7 hours ago, rhmb said:

With regard to Lightroom like products, I switched to On1 Photo Raw in early 2020 as a result of incompatibility between LR 6.14 and Catalina. I am very pleased with On1 Photo Raw to date. As a DAM it is very similar to LR, the migration of edits worked better than I expected, and with its layers capability it also takes care of the relatively light Photoshop-type tasks I used to do with Adobe Elements. 

Can you still get Photoshop CS6 to work on Catalina? I was hoping some of the Catalina point releases would improve compatibly with the old Photoshop. Surprised LR 6.14 stopped working so early, had no idea On1 had layers in a DAM like tool. I love the adjustment layers in Capture One and can't believe Lightroom doesn't have any support for layers.

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11 hours ago, KipV said:

Bummer, what version of Photos are you running?

I'm running Photos 5, the version that comes with Catalina. Using Affinity within Apple Photos has been hit and miss, sometimes the work arounds work, sometimes there are surprises. So I don't use it with Apple Photos anymore. If I need to use Affinity, I'll use it in stand alone mode or with the External Editors for Apple Photos app, an app that dates back to High Sierra times but still does the job with Catalina. 

11 hours ago, KipV said:

Surprised LR 6.14 stopped working so early, had no idea On1 had layers in a DAM like tool.

I knew before upgrading to Catalina that LR and my older version of Adobe Elements would be problematic as 32 bit applications do not work with Catalina. Although LR 6.14 (which is 64 bit) can work in Catalina as long as it was installed before upgrading to Catalina, it is not supported by Adobe and components such as the installers and the application manager are 32 bit, so ever anything went wrong, it would have been impossible to re-install LR. My initial plan was to switch to Apple Photos for the DAM and basic edits and use Affinity Photos for more advanced edits. That worked for a couple of weeks with Mojave but fell apart with the upgrade to Catalina and the subsequent issues between Apple Photos and Affinity (unlike some, I didn't have any issues with Mojave, they started with Catalina). I then discovered On1 and it pretty much does everything I need for now as both my DAM and my main editing application. I'm not a power user so it works for me. 

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Can you still work with Photoshop CS6? I am actually fine with loosing support for LR, especially now that C1 20.1 just came out most of the best parts of LR.

I didn't realize Catalina was so much more buggy than Mojave. Most of my experience with the two OSs has been of a roughly similar stability. I'll have to test on the Photos 5 extensions now for sure. I would have thought after having five almost six Catalina point releases they would have fixed most of the issues. It seems like now that they are doing public betas for each MacOS release they could streach the betas out a bit longer to really squash all known bugs.

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8 hours ago, Dave.Kelly said:

On1 has a lot going for it as the whole raw edit process is non-distructive

Yeah, especially layers within the DAM app. The only other one I knew which did that was Pixelmator Pro. The problem with the Pixelmator Pro extension is that you can't open several photos at the same time due to the way Photos only lets you have one photo open at a time.

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50 minutes ago, KipV said:

Can you still work with Photoshop CS6?

I can’t speak to that as I do not have Photoshop, only Elements and LR. 

50 minutes ago, KipV said:

I didn't realize Catalina was so much more buggy than Mojave.

I have not found Catalina to be more buggy than previous versions for anything other than Affinity. The biggest change that affected me and perhaps many others was that 32 bit apps will not work on Catalina. Before upgrading users are encouraged to confirm whether any of the apps they use would be incompatible with Catalina. 
 

The two Affinity extensions which have issues with Catalina are Affinity Develop, which does not work with raw photos but does work with jpg (which don’t need developing) and Edit in Affinity, which in some circumstances for some photos does not want to save the edit. There are a number of threads on the bug forum and the desktop forum on this. The other extensions seem to work ok. 
 

I suspect part of the problem with them solving the Affinity bugs in Apple Photos is that it only seems to affect some users. 

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In general my experience is that Catalina is not buggy (which does not exclude the existance of bugs). I switched from Mojave’s and did not experience special problems. It is necessary to keep an eye on the settings for each app, but this is usually solved the first time it pops up. On the other hand I really like features that have come with Catalina like unlocking the Mac with my Watch, using my iPad with Sidecar etc.

If on wants to run THE special 32bit app under Catalina, it is generally possible to install Mojave (or another 10.X-OS) in a virtual machine. One can use Parallels desktop, or another VM running under Catalina. Whether this is worth the effort depends on how important this app is. It is probably not a long term solution, the game starts again with BigSur.

As a replacement for LR (since Serif still has no DAM integrated into the Affinity Suite) I am using Graphic Converter. It allows me to organize my photos, including RAW files, review them, tag them etc. It is not completely up to what LR does, but it comes with a one time purchase and does the job for me. And it is running under Catalina without the need to roll back to an older OS.

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