Evolving Thoughts

Evolution, culture, philosophy and chocolate! John Wilkins' continuing struggle to come to terms with impermanence... "Humanus sum, nihil humanum a me alienum puto" - Terence

Monday, June 20, 2005

Don't do it! Don't use Microsoft graphics!

This is a bit of a blast from my prior life as a graphics maven.

It seems Microsoft have released betas of some of their Adobe competition software for PDF, Illustrator and Flash (recently acquired by Adobe in their buyout of Macromedia).

From 20 years of working with Microsoft graphics, in particular PowerPoint, and trying to make quality graphics from that, I have one thing to say:

Don't do it!

Microsoft will do several things I don't need to even see the software running to know they will:

1. They will break their own file standards, even if they publish them as open standards. They did this with RTF, repeatedly.

2. They will continually "upgrade" their native file format so that nobody can import their graphics successfully.

3. They will limit export filters, and cripple them, so that you cannot properly use graphics created by them (apart from GIF, PNG - which they still don't properly support transparency for - and maybe TIFF) in any software other than Microsoft.

4. They will have all these features that sound great, but they won't be able to do the basic things that every graphics program can do. The prior example of this is Werd's [sic] inability to do multiple documents (FrameMaker could do this properly, stably, and consistently in 1984!).

Save yourselves. Adobe's software generally works well, is stable on more than one platform, has consistent software formats, supports (most - they bought FrameMaker and left it to die slowly) its software. Moreover, it is widely used - we don't need another electronic document format - PDF works fine and has done since it's inception (despite the naysayers). What PDF needs is structure (i.e., XML metadata).

I told you, and if you ignore me you will suffer. See if you don't.