The other thread on UX/UI software has me thinking about graphic art software and why this whole industry is repackaging different ways of doing the same thing. Mr-B used a tool analogy that I want to pick up on to describe what I think is the problem.
Let’s say you are a carpenter, each carpenter tool does one thing. It makes sense for you to have a tool box where you can have any tool of any brand that you need, readily available. That’s the way the graphic design software industry could have gone maybe 25-30 years ago. But instead something else happened. We were sold tool sets instead of individual tools. The tools (graphic processing features) are all attached to each other like a giant multi-tool or Swiss Army knife. Now if we want a new feature, we have to buy the entire tool set.
It seems nonsensical until you consider the practicality of having separate graphic design tools as plugins. Why would a for-profit business (like Adobe) go through the trouble of making a universal “tool box” software when they could make way more money selling proprietary tool sets? They wouldn’t. Once a company has a reputation for selling the best tools, they can always sell different tool sets to newer generations of graphic designers, like the UI/UX set. Even better if you can get the entire industry believing that everyone else worth doing business with must have the latest greatest tool set. You can even monopolize work flows.
What would it take to change this? There would need to be an open-source standardization movement to develop graphic processing (Application programming interfaces) APIs that were forward compatible. Those APIs and plugin standardizations would make up a “tool box” system, almost like a “Graphics OS.” It would take more cooperation between programmers and graphic designers. It would take the kind of altruism that’s more prevalent between programmers than what we see between graphic designers. It would take the kind of altruism we see on this Graphic Design Forum.
It wouldn’t be a graphic design program to end all programs. Instead it would be more compatibility in file sharing at less cost. You wouldn’t need to buy an entire set every year or 2. You wouldn’t need a subscription either. Every now and then, you would probably need a new tool box if new tools (plugins) were not compatible. But that wouldn’t cost nearly as much as a new set or a subscription overtime. And most of your old tools would be compatible with the new tool box, so you wouldn’t have to replace them.
What am I missing here?