Blog Post

Image editors are the new FTP application

Image Editors

For years, FTP applications have been a genre of software that has overrun itself with options. Generally I believe competition to be a good thing but there really just comes a point where another FTP application in the mix really doesn’t help anybody. As of right now I’ve counted over 100 different FTP applications available to the Mac. Seriously…why?

Today Gruber posted a quick link to a new image editor supposedly making it’s way to the Mac in the coming months. Just yesterday Acorn was announced and just a few weeks ago the highly anticipated Pixelmator was released in to private beta. For the mathematically challenged, that is three new image editors that have come on to the scene in the past month or so and that doesn’t even include all the other image editors that have been around for ages.

I think what really turns me off about all of this is that all of these image editors do, more or less, the same thing. Sure, they each have a different UI and will each perform tasks a tad different than the other but for the most part they all just edit images.

Do all of these developers really believe they are bringing something new and beneficial to the table? Or is it simply a case of jumping on the bandwagon?

Again, like I said, I believe competition and choice are a good thing. But at what point does it actually start hurting the community by flooding the market with sub-par applications?

UPDATE: Let me make something clear. I’m not saying people should never develop for the Mac after there is already an industry standard for an app. This post is merely for conversational purposes as all these new apps started my wheels turning on the subject. Of course I don’t think apps like TextMate or SubThaEdit should have never been written. I’m just curious if there is a point where enough is enough. If not…fantastic. But I do think it’s an interesting point of conversation.

42 Responses to “Image editors are the new FTP application”

  1. the answer is simple.

    all the lower end image editing programs on mac suck compared to what is on windows, as ironic as that may be.

    adobe won’t even give us mac users the latest version of their lighter weight elements program.

    paintshoppro XI on windows is quite an impressive piece of software – there is nothing comparable in that price range on the mac

  2. Josh Pigford wrote:

    You’ll notice the article simply posed a series of questions

    Yes, questions such as “I think what really turns me off about all of this is that all of these image editors do, more or less, the same thing” and “Do all of these developers really believe they are bringing something new and beneficial to the table? Or is it simply a case of jumping on the bandwagon?”
    Simply insisting that commenters misunderstood your article is a bit insulting. Your point is rather clear; you are turned off by these apps, and you clearly imply that developers are bringing nothing “new and beneficial” to the table. You’re making a fair point, and you’re entitled to your opinion, but many disagree. Why not discuss their opinions with them instead of claiming that you didn’t really mean what you wrote?
    So back to the topic, then.
    I think your idea that there can be too many applications is wrong, as long as we have tools to weed them out (see: macupdate.com). The FTP market is a good example of a market which works. There are many excellent applications to choose from. There’s competition. And there are a lot of crappy apps, but hopefully their devs are learning something, and maybe their next app is a contender in its area, or maybe they’ll manage to turn their FTP app into the next Transmit. Who knows. But the fact that these apps are available aren’t hurting my use of Interarchy, just like the fact that your blog is available doesn’t hurt me when I read joelonsoftware or daringfireball.

  3. @Jorgen: Ah yes. The sensationalists have officially arrived! It’s almost humorous the extremes people start spitting out before they think what they’re typing. Jorgen, please reread the article (you did read it before posting your comment, didn’t you?), and then stop and think. You’ll notice the article simply posed a series of questions. I made absolutely no statement saying any apps shouldn’t be created or that developers should stop developing. I only asked what (if any) the line is for there being too many.

  4. David Fischer

    “Do all of these developers really believe they are bringing something new and beneficial to the table? Or is it simply a case of jumping on the bandwagon?”

    While the author presents an interesting perspective, I disagree wholly. For starters, when I looked for an FTP app for my new Mac, I didn’t think the Mac market was flooded with FTP programs. I was struck by the paucity of good options. The PC world has excellent FTP apps both free and commercial. The Mac has a handful of overpriced apps and CyberDuck. If FTP’ing is your full-time job, a $40 FTP app is great, but for rare use, give me a good selection of “sub-par” programs to select from.

    For a “creative” platform, it’s ironic that the Mac has fewer good image editor choices than the PC. None, basically, in the hobbyist market. So my reaction to seeing these announcements was not one of doom, but “It’s about time.” I don’t know how a dark cloud is seen first rather than the silver lining.

  5. @Saint Fnordius — That’s a good measuring stick, actually: When an app gets good CMYK support. In order to do that, you know it will involve talking to PANTONE®. PANTONE and Adobe are so close they might as well be kissing cousins; that’s the point when Adobe will start playing Godfather.

  6. Saint Fnordius

    I think the reason is twofold. The main reason is, as many have said, that Core Image provided the tools for image applications that weren’t there before, making the task easier. That’s why all three are reaching fruition at the same time.
    The other overlooked problem is the fact that after Adobe had killed off all competition, they got fat and greedy. Remember Digital Darkroom, XRes, or even Corel’s attempt to enter the Mac world? All dead and gone, and even Fireworks has been neutered, no longer a threat to King Photoshop.
    I think the new apps have promise, but one of the three will drop out of the race. Probably in 2009, give or take a year. And the first one to get reliable CMYK will suddenly find Adobe breathing down its neck, trying to hire away its developers or otherwise kneecap it…