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... But you're probably thinking of this one:
For testing, I'd suggest a procedure like this:
  1. Clone your system to a separate, external drive (e.g. Samsung T5).
  2. Password-protect your main drive (i.e. enable FileVault encryption).
  3. Boot from your external clone drive, making sure not to mount your main drive.
  4. Install the software you want to test (on this external clone drive), and proceed with testing.
Thanks, Ric! It was indeed the latter bug that I was thinking of.

You are absolutely right that the best thing in this case is not just to have a clone, but to work from it. Then simply discard it and re-clone when the testing is done. For some reason, that angle never occurred to me.
 


I get that you'll need to learn some new moves [to switch away from Adobe CC], but seriously, have you seen that you can change every single shortcut in the Affinity apps to whatever you want?

And when I go to my CFO and tell him "it's more work to learn the new program, so we'll keep spending $700 per seat / per year more, ok?", I know what the answer will be.

And as far as InDesign compatability, the one word to keep in mind here is PDF.
All PDFs are native-editable in Affinity products. Period. Full stop. I just spent maybe an hour using Markzware Qxd2ind to open and save as PDF several thousand old Quark files. Done. We can use them immediately.

You are right that scripting is important. I use it all the time, so we are keeping one copy of CC, and we'll look at the workflow for adaptation.

I've been in the Affinity beta since the beginning . And I'm using the current products. And I'm struggling with "muscle memory" too. But Adobe has become arrogant and unresponsive. I remember in the 90's when they sent a letter to every single Adobe Authorized service bureau and stated that to remain authorized (which cost significantly by itself), we were required to update every single license we had each time there was an update. They have abandoned the print industry because of low growth numbers. So be it - that is their business. But I am tired of feeling coerced and ignored.

We now have an option for real change, and I remember when we said that about InDesign, too. Did you feel the pain switching from QXP...?

All done for now :-)
 


Prepress manager here. We will keep one copy of CC for compatibility - just as we did for Quark until we only had one customer left. We have switched in the front office to Affinity to replace Quark and are looking to see how soon we can go beyond to the production side.
Chris, if I interpret you correctly (as a commercial print services vendor), it seems to me as though it might be a while before the majority of your clients switch from CC.

For myself, further examination of Affinity Publisher's feature list looks promising. There are still one or two missing things I rely upon in my InDesign work that I'd want to see added to future versions of Publisher, such as nested paragraph styles and a Span Columns option. It looks as though they're well on their way.

Regardless, I don't imagine any of my corporate clients will be looking to switch any time soon.
 


As much as I love Affinity Publisher, for me (a non-professional) it has one big shortcoming: the lack of a story editor. This is particularly surprising because Publisher's immediate predecessor, the Windows-only Serif PagePlus X9, features an excellent one.

Several people have requested it in the Affinity forums, but as of yet, those requests have not been acknowledged officially. Some state that such a feature is unnecessary, but I respectfully join those who disagree. It is nice to be able have the option to focus on a story's text without thinking about the layout.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
As much as I love Affinity Publisher, for me (a non-professional) it has one big shortcoming: the lack of a story editor. ... It is nice to be able have the option to focus on a story's text without thinking about the layout.
I don't suppose this would be possible with some kind of layers trick? (I bought Publisher but haven't done anything to explore it yet.)
 


I don't suppose this would be possible with some kind of layers trick? (I bought Publisher but haven't done anything to explore it yet.)
I bought a license for each platform just to show support but, like you, I've not had time to explore it yet. If I find the answer to that excellent question, I'll let you know.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
For testing, I'd suggest a procedure like this:
  1. Clone your system to a separate, external drive (e.g. Samsung T5).
  2. Password-protect your main drive (i.e. enable FileVault encryption).
  3. Boot from your external clone drive, making sure not to mount your main drive.
  4. Install the software you want to test (on this external clone drive), and proceed with testing.
You are absolutely right that the best thing in this case is not just to have a clone, but to work from it. Then simply discard it and re-clone when the testing is done. For some reason, that angle never occurred to me.
It just occured to me (thanks to a different post) that another approach to testing would be virtualization - that is, create a virtual machine and install the test software into that. (But using an external drive clone seems easier.)
 


It just occured to me (thanks to a different post) that another approach to testing would be virtualization - that is, create a virtual machine and install the test software into that. (But using an external drive clone seems easier.)
Testing in a VM is excellent for many purposes such as iTunes -> Music migration. Where it usually fails in anything requiring graphics support, like Maps. This has been my experience. your milage may vary.
 



I bought a license for each platform just to show support but, like you, I've not had time to explore it yet. If I find the answer to that excellent question, I'll let you know.
Good points from the designer perspective. Thanks. So we need scripting, story editor, nested paragraph styles, and span columns.

And then I look at what can be done with all three tool sets at the ready instantly, and for me, it's all about refining and correcting the document for output. This looks like a great fit. Did anyone else notice the orthographic design features? Blew my mind.

I think designers may see the speed and ease of use as a real time saver.

How many multi-artist agencies are going to spend a grand for a newbie seat when they can spend $200? And the tool set is different, which will invariably lead to different design styles. We'll see, I guess.

But I'm pushing for adoption in our department as a serious test of CC replacement. I am regularly frustrated using CC and Pitstop to fix poorly configured PDF files.
 




How many multi-artist agencies are going to spend a grand for a newbie seat when they can spend $200? And the tool set is different, which will invariably lead to different design styles. We'll see, I guess.
I imagine anyone running an agency or corporate in-house design group will also factor in the need to once again convert a potentially large collection of legacy documents, to retrain staff, and to find suitably-equipped freelancers and vendors. It isn't just about the software's price tag.

Back around 2004, my design department had a genuine need to find a better solution than the slow train wreck that had become the unstable, neglected mess of QuarkXpress 4 and its third-party plug-ins. Friends and colleagues at other companies confirmed this. Adobe's CS2, which gave every indication it was viable and ready, was a lifeline for a lot of people, and we convinced management to allow us to switch. Users fled Quark because they felt compelled to do so.

That situation doesn't quite exist now. As egregious as Adobe's CC pricing is, its stability remains far better than Xpress's eventually became. Its market presence remains strong, because few people managing large amounts of regular, deadline-driven layout work are likely to get very enthused about upending their entire workflow. Adobe's management knows this.

As much as I love the idea of the Affinity collection (or Pixelmator or Acorn or Sketch) making a sizable dent in Adobe's market dominance (outside the population of individuals who aren't freelancing for corporate clients), we'd first need to see Adobe fail badly enough to make potential corporate switchers see it as a bigger liability.
 



... As much as I love the idea of the Affinity collection ... we'd first need to see Adobe fail badly enough to make potential corporate switchers see it as a bigger liability.
As long as agencies and corporations are riding high, they can afford Adobe's month-to-month rental team pricing. But, as a printer, I've witnessed highs turn to lows, often when an agency loses a major client. Full teams of designers end up freelance, by choice or not, often without income and starting over.

While Adobe spreads their ridiculous annual cost into payments, I welcome the fact that Affinity gives designers affordable tools to keep designing, albeit with some minor changes, and without Adobe file blackmail. It will catch on, it just takes time.
 


As long as agencies and corporations are riding high, they can afford Adobe's month-to-month rental team pricing. But, as a printer, I've witnessed highs turn to lows, often when an agency loses a major client. Full teams of designers end up freelance, by choice or not, often without income and starting over.
And who do you think many of those freelancers will end up working for, if not some of those same corporate clients that have chosen to outsource tasks they formerly fulfilled in-house?

Ahem. ;)

I, too, welcome the affordable tools provided by Affinity/Serif, Pixelmator, Flying Meat, and Sketch. But I think this disruption will take longer than you seem to suggest. The market has changed, and the importance of Quark's mistakes were not lost on Adobe. As with Microsoft Office, we're looking at a lot of entrenched thinking.
 


I get that you'll need to learn some new moves [to switch away from Adobe CC] ...
We now have an option for real change, and I remember when we said that about InDesign, too. Did you feel the pain switching from QXP...?
I and my main client switched over from Quark to InDesign at CS3. I remember that a keyboard shortcut group was then included to replicate the QXP shortcuts, and I used that for about a month. But only a month; it seemed much better to adapt to InDesign’s native shortcuts, since Photoshop and Illustrator used the native ones. Those quickly became ingrained muscle memories. I expect the same would happen with Affinity. But I admit to still referring to “text boxes” instead of “text frames.” Evidently, verbalized concepts don’t become memories quite so easily.
 


When Affinity Designer was first available, I asked two graphic artists to look at Affinity Photo and Designer. One's an employee. The other did a year+ of contract design work on museum exhibits our shop fabricated.

Both said Affinity's are capable programs, though neither wanted to switch from Adobe. Designer was supposed to import Adobe Illustrator files, and sorta' did, but to use them would have required much work, and the colors varied considerably, even when Pantone numbers were specified, and I'm told that is a big problem. With a large archive of old work that can be used as templates, moving from Illustrator, in which old files "just work", to Designer, even with considerable software cost savings, seemed to make no sense.

The contract exhibit designer tried Photos for about an hour. It was just enough different, and her time valuable enough, that she told me she'd rather pay the CC subscription fee (and it is an expense of her own business). She didn't get so far as to trying printing and checking color. She did point out that she gets access to the full Adobe suite in her CC subscription and sometimes actually needs more than Photoshop and Illustrator, the two applications she uses constantly.

So back about the "new" Affinity Suite, Photos, Designer, Publisher: Were it me (and the old Windows Microsoft Publisher met all my personal graphics needs), I'd save the money and go for Affinity.

... It would be great if the recent upgrades to Affinity's Photo and Designer applications, and the new Publisher, would protect us from the expense of subscribing to CC if we upgrade to Catalina when our old "perpetual" versions with 32-bit installers (reportedly) won't work.

I've also not seen much (any?) attention to Corel's return to the Mac with the 2019 Graphics Suite. We used the Windows version of Corel for years before switching to Macs and still have it installed on a Mac in a VM to enable opening old archives.

Corel offers a "perpetual license" for $499, or a $198 annual subscription. While our graphic artist was able to import Corel files to Illustrator when we shifted her to Mac, I've no idea how that would work going the other way, or even if the "new" Mac Corel can import Adobe files at all.
CorelDRAW said:
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2019 for Mac
CorelDRAW 2019 – Vector illustration and page layout
Corel PHOTO-PAINT 2019 – Image editing
Corel Font Manager 2019 – Font Exploration and management tool
PowerTRACE 2019 – Bitmap-to-vector tracing (included as part of CorelDRAW 2019 application)
Connect Content – Content finder (included as part of CorelDRAW 2019 application)
CorelDRAW.app – online graphic design via web browser
AfterShot 3 HDR* – RAW photo editor BenVISTA PhotoZoom Pro 4* – Plug-in for enlarging digital images
 


... I've also not seen much (any?) attention to Corel's return to the Mac with the 2019 Graphics Suite. We used the Windows version of Corel for years before switching to Macs and still have it installed on a Mac in a VM to enable opening old archives.
Corel offers a "perpetual license" for $499, or a $198 annual subscription. While our graphic artist was able to import Corel files to Illustrator when we shifted her to Mac, I've no idea how that would work going the other way, or even if the "new" Mac Corel can import Adobe files at all.
I've tested Corel's AfterShot Pro 3 as a replacement for Lightroom. The software has promise but not much more than that. Buggy, slow. Non-existent tech support. Move along; nothing to see here...

(I ended up with Alien Skin Exposure; very happy.)
 



You might just have answered my recent request for something easy to use like iPhoto (with the bonus of added power at my disposal). Apologies to Ric and others who mentioned Alien Skin Exposure earlier. :)
The online video tutorials on YouTube (search for Alien Skin Exposure, of course) by Anthony Morganti and the official ones from Alien Skin do a fine job of explaining what you need to know. The keyboard shortcuts PDF is essential until you're proficient; you may modify these and even, if I recall correctly, set them all to Lightroom's defaults.
 


I imagine anyone running an agency or corporate in-house design group will also factor in the need to once again convert a potentially large collection of legacy documents, to retrain staff, and to find suitably-equipped freelancers and vendors. It isn't just about the software's price tag. Back around 2004, my design department had a genuine need to find a better solution than the slow train wreck that had become the unstable, neglected mess of QuarkXpress 4 and its third-party plug-ins. Friends and colleagues at other companies confirmed this. Adobe's CS2, which gave every indication it was viable and ready, was a lifeline for a lot of people, and we convinced management to allow us to switch. Users fled Quark because they felt compelled to do so. That situation doesn't quite exist now. As egregious as Adobe's CC pricing is, its stability remains far better than Xpress's eventually became. Its market presence remains strong, because few people managing large amounts of regular, deadline-driven layout work are likely to get very enthused about upending their entire workflow. Adobe's management knows this.
As much as I love the idea of the Affinity collection (or Pixelmator or Acorn or Sketch) making a sizable dent in Adobe's market dominance (outside the population of individuals who aren't freelancing for corporate clients), we'd first need to see Adobe fail badly enough to make potential corporate switchers see it as a bigger liability.
I guess I need to break it down, as you did.

Converting files? Check.
InDesign - export as a PDF into Publisher (speedy script available with InDesign).​
Photoshop - native to Affinity Photo.​
Illustrator - save as PDF into Designer.​

Deadline-driven speedy layout work is always hobbled by external edit requirments and all the time to go out to another tool and come back. Much faster to just keep editing your document in Publisher, switching tools. See the keynote. It works very well and seamlessly.

And you are right the situation with Quark was different. Adobe is smarter with their pricing and offer 'better' products than Quark - now and then.

And then we get to the real reason artists will switch as a design decision: better and faster tools. This will happen. The paradigm of separate apps to create is going away. Affinity will keep their modern code base and add applications as personas, while Adobe keeps adding bloat. Show me one truly innovative design feature (that is not just an incremental expansion) in CC 2019 that you can't do without.

And stability is very good with CC - except for PDF. Add some plugins to accomplish more, and it starts crashing. There is little incentive for Adobe to improve PDF. Don't even get me started on editing PDFs with CC for the last 10 years at least. Very little respect for the print industry.

You think 'potential corporate switchers' won't have their eye on costs? Adobe doesn't have to 'fail badly.' They just have to be arrogant enough to think they are untouchable. They haven't had serious competition for at least a decade.

The only plugins we run are Qxp2Id and PitstopPro. Don't need anything else. So the CC is a group of mature apps with encompassing embedded features. (Hmmm - hence avoid the Qusrk Xpress dependence on plugins as a business function. Nicely done, Adobe.)

But we need new blood in the space, and Affinity is making a dent. 2 million users at Publisher launch. PDF-native workflow. Commercial-print-ready documents. Count me in. And I'm not even a designer - their target market. :-)


One other item of note to the comment of 'converting lots of files': You may have noticed recently that InDesign requires an internet connection to Adobe servers to create an Idml file, yes? This is a recent change. The file conversion routine exists soley on their servers. They are locking down their file structure to keep it protected from easy conversion. Don't blame Affinity, blame Adobe for your 'file conversion woes.'
 


When Affinity Designer was first available, I asked two graphic artists to look at Affinity Photo and Designer. One's an employee. The other did a year+ of contract design work on museum exhibits our shop fabricated. Both said Affinity's are capable programs, though neither wanted to switch from Adobe. Designer was supposed to import Adobe Illustrator files, and sorta' did, but to use them would have required much work, and the colors varied considerably, even when Pantone numbers were specified, and I'm told that is a big problem. With a large archive of old work that can be used as templates, moving from Illustrator, in which old files "just work", to Designer, even with considerable software cost savings, seemed to make no sense.

The contract exhibit designer tried Photos for about an hour. It was just enough different, and her time valuable enough, that she told me she'd rather pay the CC subscription fee (and it is an expense of her own business). She didn't get so far as to trying printing and checking color. She did point out that she gets access to the full Adobe suite in her CC subscription and sometimes actually needs more than Photoshop and Illustrator, the two applications she uses constantly.

So back about the "new" Affinity Suite, Photos, Designer, Publisher: Were it me (and the old Windows Microsoft Publisher met all my personal graphics needs), I'd save the money and go for Affinity.
Yes. A year ago, I had my doubts and was watching carefully. With Publisher and the paradigm shift of working in all three apps seamlessly, I am convinced.

And I've been burned by Corel a couple times now over the years. So I won't try them without compelling reasons. Let me know what you think of their new suite.
 


Converting files? Check.
InDesign - export as a PDF into Publisher (speedy script available with InDesign).​
Illustrator - save as PDF into Designer.​

...And I'm not even a designer - their target market. :-)

...Don't blame Affinity, blame Adobe for your 'file conversion woes.'
1. Converting files? I don't see genuine conversion here. "Save as PDF" might yield something that opens as vector art. I've had to extract illustration objects from pdfs, and I can tell you that the process is far from clean. Not a very "speedy" solution at all. And PDFs won't yield anything that Publisher can use as a live, editable layout.

Early InDesign could import QuarkXpress files and convert them to working, editable InDesign documents. That's an important step for any house that's considering such a switch. Can Publisher do the same with InDesign files? Or will users need to completely re-create their working layouts? So far, it looks like the latter. There's no conversion here.

2. Same question for Illustrator and Designer. From Affinity's page: "Illustrator objects, groups and effects maintained where possible." I'll wait to see the degree to which genuine users can confirm this. Existing art assets need to remain useful and editable as continuing needs arise. "Converting lots of files" is a genuine issue. Adobe might have made that more difficult, but that doesn't erase the need for conversion.

3. I am a designer, and as part of their target market, I'm trying to tell you that there are unresolved issues here.

4. I'm not blaming Affinity for anything. I'm saying that despite the good news of its presence in a market that needs more choices, Publisher has a much steeper hill to climb than InDesign did.
 




... Back around 2004, my design department had a genuine need to find a better solution than the slow train wreck that had become the unstable, neglected mess of QuarkXpress 4 and its third-party plug-ins. Friends and colleagues at other companies confirmed this. Adobe's CS2, which gave every indication it was viable and ready, was a lifeline for a lot of people, and we convinced management to allow us to switch. Users fled Quark because they felt compelled to do so. That situation doesn't quite exist now. As egregious as Adobe's CC pricing is, its stability remains far better than Xpress's eventually became. Its market presence remains strong, because few people managing large amounts of regular, deadline-driven layout work are likely to get very enthused about upending their entire workflow. Adobe's management knows this....
When I worked in print, I used to suggest that customers switch, not because of price, but because of either feature set or the fact that Quark stopped listening to their customers and acted like they were all thieves. I agree that Adobe hasn't failed that badly yet.
 


As egregious as Adobe's CC pricing is, its stability remains far better than Xpress's eventually became.
... I also moved to InDesign 2 and tried to convince others of its brilliance. Then when Quark XPress 7 came out, I maintained both Creative Suite and QXP until Adobe's move to annual subscription. I still keep CS6 running here but now find that from versions of QXP10 and onwards, QXP has possibly overtaken Adobe.

Anyway, I have been looking at Affinity's apps but struggle to use their interface on my 5K monitor. As many others complain on their forums, it's a case of work-arounds to magnify the screen temporarily. Try as I might I cannot get this workflow to sit happily. Affinity cannot change this situation easily as they (stupidly perhaps) chose pixels instead of vectors for their interface icons. Which means no control over improving text and icon sizes.

Just to put a spanner into the discussion and mix a few metaphors, Apple's own Pages is becoming a very capable application, especially version 8. Where I used to fire up QXP, InDesign, Illustrator, or much-missed Freehand, I now open Pages in page layout mode for quick and easy work to output as PDF. The inclusion of a book pallet, masking and various other tweaks have vastly improved Pages. In addition I have never experienced a crash in Pages, or QXP for that matter since version 8 or 9.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Anyway, I have been looking at Affinity's apps but struggle to use their interface on my 5K monitor. As many others complain on their forums, it's a case of work-arounds to magnify the screen temporarily. Try as I might I cannot get this workflow to sit happily. Affinity cannot change this situation easily as they (stupidly perhaps) chose pixels instead of vectors for their interface icons. Which means no control over improving text and icon sizes.
Are any other apps any different? I see that Apple Preview and Capture One, as two prime examples, also lack preferences for icon sizing. Of course, you can use System Preferences > Display > Resolution > Scaled to change the size of objects on screen, if your 5K display renders them smaller than you like. (Even more flexible/advanced options are offered by the SwitchResX preference pane.) I see that Affinity apps do at least offer a choice of standard or larger font sizes (along with various other display preferences).
 


...Apple's own Pages is becoming a very capable application, especially version 8.
Speaking of Pages, does anyone know if there is a "Pages '09 vs. later versions" features and functionality comparison list that some brave individual has taken the initiative to maintain? It seems particularly relevant due to the impending lack of 32-bit support in macOS 10.15 Catalina.
 


I have long ago given up on any kind of word processor. None of them gives me exactly what I need. So, instead, I'm using GNU TexInfo for regular documents and LaTeX for more complicated stuff.

It's a bit of a learning curve, but it gives you the power and flexibility to create any document you want - all you need is the MacTeX package, freely available from TeX Users Group (free, as in no cost involved at all).
 


1. Converting files? I don't see genuine conversion here. "Save as PDF" might yield something that opens as vector art. I've had to extract illustration objects from pdfs, and I can tell you that the process is far from clean. Not a very "speedy" solution at all. And PDFs won't yield anything that Publisher can use as a live, editable layout. Early InDesign could import QuarkXpress files and convert them to working, editable InDesign documents. That's an important step for any house that's considering such a switch. Can Publisher do the same with InDesign files? Or will users need to completely re-create their working layouts? So far, it looks like the latter. There's no conversion here.
2. Same question for Illustrator and Designer. From Affinity's page: "Illustrator objects, groups and effects maintained where possible." I'll wait to see the degree to which genuine users can confirm this. Existing art assets need to remain useful and editable as continuing needs arise. "Converting lots of files" is a genuine issue. Adobe might have made that more difficult, but that doesn't erase the need for conversion.
3. I am a designer, and as part of their target market, I'm trying to tell you that there are unresolved issues here.
4. I'm not blaming Affinity for anything. I'm saying that despite the good news of its presence in a market that needs more choices, Publisher has a much steeper hill to climb than InDesign did.
[But] you obviously haven't used Affinity Publisher or Designer or Photos. The PDFs are completely editable. Real PDF native workflow. (I seem to remember Adobe promising that some time ago.)...

And just to be clear, the Affinity apps are not converting the Adobe files. They are using the Adobe-exported PDF. So all those conversion problems? They land at Adobe's feet in the PDF process. And this is nothing like the InDesign-import-Quark debacle. (Markzware made plenty on that.)

I am having good results, thanks. We will be moving Affinity into the production arena. Any artists want to chime in here?
 


I was looking for some info to send George and found this list of releases and release notes, which other folks might appreciate seeing:
Another way to see release notes is via Apple's App Stores:
Thanks, Ric. Good information. (I'm too close to this - it's about my job, and I'm not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned, but I use all their products and then some. Both Mac and PC.)
 


And just to be clear, the Affinity apps are not converting the Adobe files. They are using the Adobe-exported PDF. So all those conversion problems? They land at Adobe's feet in the PDF process.
Don't buy Designer expecting to seamlessly interchange files with Illustrator users. The "PDF stream" that Designer can read when "opening" an Illustrator file is only a subset of the whole. Designer offers no export to Illustrator.

The latest reference I found about opening Illustrator files in Designer is from this June 6, 2018 Affinity Forum post by "Moderator MEB, Affinity QA Support," and it mirrors the experience our staff graphic artist had when trying to "open" Illustrator files in Designer.
Affinity Forum said:
how to open Adobe Illustrator files in Affinity Designer?
Although Affinity can open regular Ai files (if they include a PDF stream), it's not able to make use of any Illustrator styles, brushes or other specific Illustrator features/assets designed for it specifically.
This wouldn't be an issue if Affinity weren't stating Designer can "open" Illustrator files. That kind of assurance makes me think of at least the level of interoperability LibreOffice has achieved with Word and Excel.

In Affinity's support, the company offers free trials. No better way to see if the software meets your needs than to use it.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The latest reference I found about opening Illustrator files in Designer is from this June 6, 2018 Affinity Forum post by "Moderator MEB, Affinity QA Support," and it mirrors the experience our staff graphic artist had when trying to "open" Illustrator files in Designer.
And here’s a post about InDesign files vs. Publisher:
MEB said:
Publisher and InDesign
Affinity Publisher doesn't support INDD files (nor import neither export) but we do intend to add support import InDesign IDML files later.
 


[And just to be clear, the Affinity apps are not converting the Adobe files. They are using the Adobe-exported PDF. So all those conversion problems? They land at Adobe's feet in the PDF process. And this is nothing like the InDesign-import-Quark debacle. (Markzware made plenty on that.) I am having good results, thanks. We will be moving Affinity into the production arena. Any artists want to chime in here?
I started with Aldus PageMaker 1.2 (and Adobe Illustrator 1.1) and continued using it until I heard Adobe was acquiring it. I moved to QuarkXPress 3.1, kicking and screaming, because I couldn’t understand the parent-child items relationship. So, I avoided it and used it for 15 years, even though InDesign became the darling. It took Adobe a long time to make keyboard shortcuts the same across some of their apps.... But then Quark got too quarky, so I forced myself to use InDesign, starting with CS3. I was going into a different field of work, but some clients still called upon me. I am no longer a full-time graphic designer, so the cost of an Adobe CC subscription is not prudent for me.

I learned about Affinity’s two apps, Designer and Photo… the low-cost non-subscription price was intriguing. I researched the apps and bought them during one of their sales last year. I watched a tutorial for Affinity Designer (Lynda.com), but I mostly still used Adobe Illustrator. Near the end of last year, a project posed an opportunity to try Affinity Photo. Well, I found it, to me, much easier than when I learned to used Photoshop. I was able to run a how-to search query for whatever task I need to do… which is what I have been doing in the recent years with Adobe apps, because their "Help" is...

I’ve been awaiting Affinity Publisher and joined during the beta. I had forgotten most of what I learned from the Designer tutorial, so last week I re-watched it to get acquainted with the interface, which is similar across all Affinity apps. I launched Affinity Publisher and was able to get around it easily.

Most of the work I do is print, whereby printers want final artwork as PDF/X docs. As Chris Cozi notes, all items are editable when opening a PDF doc in Publisher. I ran a test, and it’s quite good - in my opinion, better than Markzware’s Q2ID. What happens is that almost every item becomes a layer. Images do not have their respective filenames (because that info is not in a PDF); however, one could change the layer name. Typeset stylesheets do not make the transition, too; however, I was able to copy the text within an InDesign text box and then paste it into Publisher text frame, and the style sheet was added. To see the process: joaocrfonseca posted a video on a thread ("How can I open Indesign (indd and idml) Files in Publisher?") in an Affinity forum.

While one can change shortcut keys in Affinity apps, consider the utilities KeyCue or CheatSheet that GaryLearnTech recommends. I understand the memory and habits from long-term use of anything, but, the earlier one is open to learning and change, ...
 


[But] you obviously haven't used Affinity Publisher or Designer or Photos. The PDFs are completely editable. Real PDF native workflow. (I seem to remember Adobe promising that some time ago.)...
And just to be clear, the Affinity apps are not converting the Adobe files. They are using the Adobe-exported PDF. So all those conversion problems? They land at Adobe's feet in the PDF process. And this is nothing like the InDesign-import-Quark debacle. (Markzware made plenty on that.)
I am having good results, thanks. We will be moving Affinity into the production arena. Any artists want to chime in here?
I'm glad you have a new and economical option that works for you. I'll wait patiently for proper IDML import.

After decades of working in publishing, I have yet to work with a shop that used PDFs for creating and editing book-sized print layouts of any complexity.

After-the-fact pre-press adjustments? Sure thing. But what you're describing sounds like you're trying to extract raw eggs from a loaf of bread.
 


I imagine anyone running an agency or corporate in-house design group will also factor in the need to once again convert a potentially large collection of legacy documents, to retrain staff, and to find suitably-equipped freelancers and vendors. It isn't just about the software's price tag. Back around 2004, my design department had a genuine need to find a better solution than the slow train wreck that had become the unstable, neglected mess of QuarkXpress 4 and its third-party plug-ins. Friends and colleagues at other companies confirmed this. Adobe's CS2, which gave every indication it was viable and ready, was a lifeline for a lot of people, and we convinced management to allow us to switch. Users fled Quark because they felt compelled to do so.

That situation doesn't quite exist now. As egregious as Adobe's CC pricing is, its stability remains far better than Xpress's eventually became. Its market presence remains strong, because few people managing large amounts of regular, deadline-driven layout work are likely to get very enthused about upending their entire workflow. Adobe's management knows this. As much as I love the idea of the Affinity collection (or Pixelmator or Acorn or Sketch) making a sizable dent in Adobe's market dominance (outside the population of individuals who aren't freelancing for corporate clients), we'd first need to see Adobe fail badly enough to make potential corporate switchers see it as a bigger liability.
I'm a survivor of the Quark Collapse and the hungering for Adobe (then, the good guy on the block) to come in and rescue us. It wasn't just the instability of Quark, it was the company's hostile attitude towards its customer base, as those who tried to deal with tech support can attest. ("Gee, if this is what it's like to be a customer of the company, I wonder what it's like to actually work there!") No wonder they just couldn't seem to fix the myriad issues.

So, institutional arrogance is the driver. Then it's the independent designers and freelancers who make the switch. The big corporate design departments will be the last. Adobe surely thinks they've got them by the cojones, because the corporations love the subscription model; it's just another monthly expense. Buying software is often treated as a capital acquisition, and goes through a whole different and slower process. Now that Adobe is increasing subscription rates (doubling the photo plan from $10/mo to $20), the writing is on the wall.
 


So, institutional arrogance is the driver. Then it's the independent designers and freelancers who make the switch. The big corporate design departments will be the last. Adobe surely thinks they've got them by the cojones, because the corporations love the subscription model; it's just another monthly expense. Buying software is often treated as a capital acquisition, and goes through a whole different and slower process. Now that Adobe is increasing subscription rates (doubling the photo plan from $10/mo to $20), the writing is on the wall.
I agree with you, but large corporate users aren't immediately going to abandon a sinking ship without seeing another fully-functional ship to jump to.
 


I'm mostly retired these days but have used Adobe and Quark products since their beginnings. I remember when there were lots of different software programs, and we designers would routinely switch to different programs as needs changed. So the idea that "muscle memory" is too much of a burden to overcome is foreign to me, although I understand the problem (limited time for a project).

Now that I'm not earning a full-time income, I have switched to the Affinity apps for my work. Yes, there are problems with switching, but you gain a lot, too. The Affinity apps are faster than Adobe's, and you can have unlimited undos. Not every feature is there, but in the old days we found workarounds, and I have been able to do that with the Affinity apps as well.

Not only does Affinity offer a newer, tighter codebase, but they have taken a fresh look at how things should be done, and I have found that many of the changes are improvements to How Things Have Always Been Done. Lastly, there are features in the Affinity products that Adobe doesn't have and, because of their bloated codebase, never will.

There is always pain with switching programs, but for most of us, it will be worthwhile in the end.
 


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