Version troubles

Todd Dominey beats me to the punch, and says everything (and more) about software version naming schemes I was thinking of writing. Inspired by Adobe’s drop of the numerical versions in favor of a letter-based system (“CS”) for their new Creative Suite, the move seems to be a short-sighted marketing ploy in attempt to follow a trend set by Apple, Microsoft, and Macromedia.

I’ve always been a fan of Adobe’s products, as I live with them daily. While I’m curious to see the new versions of Photoshop and Illustrator, I worry Adobe is suffering from feature creep — trying to build too much into each application. From talking with a few beta testers, it sounds like Adobe may have taken some easy-to-use applications, and made them more difficult to use. Seems the applications have possibly grown too big for their britches. When I upgraded from Illustrator 9 to Illustrator 10 last year, I sat in horror at the backwards steps the application had taken. Unintuitive, horrible type rendering, uncomfortably slow, and hard-to-find functions I had grown used to. It only took a week of using 10, before uninstalling it and going back to version 9. Experiences like this make me hesitate to upgrade, even at a discounted price.

At some point, I think we’re going to need to see a little more “forking” of these mega-applications. Maybe it’s an option to buy different levels of the application with scaling feature sets. Or more flexibility during the install process to customize the features and depth of the application, with an option to go back later and install more if needed. Or, dare I say it, a pay-per-use or even a pay-per-feature system.

I give Adobe props for resisting the temptation to include the “X” in this round of version names.