22 June 2010

Backwards Compatibility

What ever happened to idea of backwards compatibility? You know that the new version of software will open in an older version or you can save as an older version so clients and other people not yet up to date, or even in the case of the page layout, printers can still work with you without paying for expensive software upgrades or you having to keep 100 versions of the same software on your system.

This seemed to be the standard not so long ago, but more and more software companies seem to be forgoing this very useful feature to force upgrades. Pagemaker, for example could save to quite a few older versions, while Indesign can only save one version back. Photoshop, on the the hand is pretty good at opening files whether they are older or newer than what you have. After Affects and many others don’t even give you the “one back option”. I now have version 6.5, CS3, 4 and 5 on my system... a huge waste of space. I have to keep Indesign all the way back to CS3 and still save those files to CS2 for a couple printing places.

I don’t get it... back compatibility is a great feature, it allows you to update and promote new features to reluctant clients while still being able to service their needs. I’ve found it actually encourages people to upgrade since they know they can still do business with those who haven’t.

Of course some features won’t work and there will be some cases where it just isn’t possible to go back even one version... but I think that is very rare. I say let’s bring back the past a little and add this feature back into the standard of every new upgrade. If you MUST rake your customers over the coals more than you normally do, proved a plugin for older versions at extra cost.

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