Affinity schmaffinity! Still no export preview

Update summer 2020: still not expert preview.

I wrote in 2015 that I was “still stuck with Adobe, because only Adobe exports well.” Shortly after that, Affinity Photo and Designer became the first ever credible challengers to Photoshop and Illustrator. I jumped on that bandwagon enthusiastically.

Today Affinity launched major new versions which still lack a critical feature for web development: export preview. The chance to see the effect of export options before saving. Instead of exporting and then leaving the app to evaluate what you got, like an animal. (It sounds trivial. Trust me, it’s not trivial after a thousand repetitions. It ain’t trivial after a hundred.)

Affinity has been promising export preview since the earliest days, on their own roadmap — not just wishful thinking on my part. For users like me, for web developers, it was “late” a year or two ago, by any reasonable definition of the word “late.” And now? Now it’s still missing.

“Betrayal” is emotional language. Maybe it’s inappropriate for this purpose. And yet it is how I feel. I got on the Affinity bandwagon early to support it, long before the feature set was really ready to replace Photoshop or Fireworks. Export preview was a critical missing piece from the earliest days, and I stayed on the bandwagon because export preview and some other things were on the roadmap. I continued to use (and evangelize) the apps because of that promise. I gave Affinity my money and a lot of my time, not for features I “hoped” they would build, but for features they actually promised.

And now here we are and still no export preview and I give up. I am getting off the bandwagon. I have to go crawling back to Adobe. Instead of telling colleagues how cool the Affinity apps are, I will now be telling them how disappointed I am. So yeah… “betrayed” doesn’t actually feel too hyperbolic. No doubt Affinity Photo is a dazzling replacement for Photoshop for some people, but it really is not for webdevs, and I now suspect that it never will be.