Inspired by Xara Xtreme and Xtreme Pro upgraded to 3.2 - Proceed with caution: Info-rant!
Here's a list of vector apps from a disillusioned Freehand lover - not me, although I qualify too.
(we all seem to be getting disillusioned at the moment
It's from a guy called Darrel Austin,
posted at MNteractive.
Unfortunately it does sound like Freehand is on the way out.
|Recently Divorced Freehand users searching for romance with another Vector application…|
Tue, May 29, 2007 2:27 pm
Now that Freehand is officially dead I figure it’s time I start playing the field again and look for a new love. Here’s the list of potential candidates I’m aware of. Has anyone had a fling with any of these options? If so, please share your thoughts. And please add any that I’ve missed.
- Adobe Illustrator. Of course, this is the one Adobe is trying to hook us all up with. “AI has a great personality” they say. I’m not buying it*. It’s just the ugly, mean step-sister of Freehand, IMHO. (* And by that, I mean, yea, I probably will buy it at some point. Can’t live with out the CS suite, right?)
- Inkscape. Open source! I want to love this one, and have been fooling around with it on the side even while I was committed to Freehand. It has a lot of potential. It’s no where near Freehand’s level at this point, but seems to have a lot of momentum–some great features on the horizon based on the Inkscape Roadmap include: PDF export, AI import, CorelDraw import, CMYK support (!!), multi-page (not sure what that means, but hope it’s like Freehands multi-page support), and some tech-drawing enhancements.
- LineForm. LineForm is a new player on the field, and seems to have a lot of Buzz and a robust feature set (according to their handy chart). OSX only.
- Stone Works’ Create. Stone Design was one of the first companies to offer OSX-native DTP applications. Alas, I’ve never heard much about their programs. They do suffer from some horrendous application icons, but the promise of ‘free upgrades for life’ seem to outweigh that minor issue.
- Corel Draw. Corel Draw was always the 3rd place finisher behind AI and FH. That said, it seems to have a very loyal fan base. They no longer offer OSX versions (maybe the death of FH will get them to reconsider?) but it’s definitely a mature product. It also comes with a large font library, which is always nice. It also seems to have a little-mentioned ability to create fonts. Huh.
- Xara Xtreme. I don’t know a lot about Xara, other than I hear it suggested often when the topic of alternatives to Freehand pop-up. Windows only.
- Canvas. Another application I don’t know much about, but hear mentioned quite a bit. Comes in both OSX and Windows flavors. It also appears to have custom feature sets targetting cartographers and tech illustrators.
- Cenon. Jesse mentioned this open source option in the comments below. It appears to be a bit more CAD/CAM centric moreso than DTP centric, but, that said, it does have a Desktop Publishing module, so it’s likely worth a look-see. Interestingly, it also has a dedicated Astrology tool. I imagine that’s fairly unique in the vector illustration world. ;o)
- Microsoft Expression Design. I had completely forgotten about Microsoft new weapon in the Adobe vs. Microsoft wars. The Expression line of products is based on software MS aquired about 2 years ago. It comes in a couple of flavors (’Web’ being DreamWeaver’s opponent) and Design is the one focused on vector illustration (amongst other features).
Personally I'm going to avoid Illustrator unless they speed things up a LOT -
I get the impression Illy evolved for use where people do a lot of work on one file,
then do a lot of work on the next file - e.g. a lot of graphic designers*,
& somehow Adobe got the impression people had incredible amount of patience - it might be okay if you grow up with it -so to speak- but if you're coming from a fast app like Freehand or Xara, it's heartbreaking!
Me, somedays I might have to make minor variations to a hundred or more files -
I've tried that in Illy & it's bad for my health is all i can say..
* mind you, the designers who have used Freehand seem to miss a lot of it's capabilities in Illustrator as well, judging by the Freehand section of Adobe Forums. Sample thread title: Illustrator CS3 - still 5 years behind FreeHand