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Please update and provide Finale PDK.

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Official comment

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Hi Koichi:

Unfortunately we no longer share the PDK. I apologize of this change in policy.

Cheers,
Michael Johnson
VP, Professional Notation
MakeMusic

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Please forgive me, but this seems like a preposterously regressive and foolish policy. I mean, what is the point of it? 

The whole reason for a PDK seems to be a way for third parties to be able to contribute functionality to an application. after all MakeMusic is better served having it's in-house developers focusing on the core application code rather than writing plug-ins.

This policy would be like FontLab or Adobe not making their scripting APIs public; nothing short of pointless!

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Amen

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Is MakeMusic doing it on purpose so that users will get pi$$ed off and move to another software package?

Does MM really think that it will survive on educational sales if no professionals are using it? The teachers who promote the use of MM products tend to be the very same professionals who use it in their everyday work.  If pros stop using Finale and move to another platform then they will also stop promoting MM products as viable alternatives for educational purposes.

 

Make the damned PDK available to plugin developers. That's what it exists for. Stop being idiots and for once, act in the best interests of KEEPING your client base.

 

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I agree completely with the 3 last posters. F25 works quite well, but remains limp-ware without active development of 3rd party plug-ins like JW and TG. If Finale offered all of their functionality off the shelf - which frankly, it really should - this sad loss would at least be tolerable, if still misguided.

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I agree with sentiments expressed here by Michel Edward and others.

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I will stay with Finale 2014.5 until a new version comes along in which one can use the plugins, or until Finale incorporates all the functionality of the plugins, or until another product comes along that is superior. 

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judging from how the massive uproar against the forum location change fell on deaf ears at MM, I think most of us are rather pessimistic with regard to users having any influence at all on these executive decisions.

 

Nevertheless, let me just add to John's comment above that with the speed issues of recent versions of Finale, the program is no longer the joy to work with that it used to be, and incomprehensible decisions like this only diminishes my faith in the future of the application. All in all, it will make it much easier to jump ship as soon as a viable alternative is available, which probably won't be too long, considering the expediency, openness and innovation coming from Steinberg these days.

 

Staying with Finale, such as it is, simply out of loyalty or familiarity isn't a good enough reason in the professional world. 'Adapt or die', I guess.

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Amen to all the above. Still on 2014.5 because of the plug-ins.

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2014.5 is too unstable on macOS Sierra, and sooner or later we will all have to move on from El Capitan/Yosemite. MM doesn't seem to understand the prime importance of 3rd party developers making massive improvements to their product.

(Though I have to add, Knut, I find F25 really swift and reliable on Sierra - just crippled by lack of plug-ins).

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Thanks, Carl! I'm still on El Capitan, but I might consider upgrading if there aren't other compatibility issues in my setup.

 

Also, I agree that Finale 25 is a huge improvement over 2014/2014.5, but it's still not at the level it used to be, at least not for me.

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Michael, 

Since you apparently have no more to add on this subject, which must mean that MM isn't budging, I would strongly suggest that you at least waver your policy for one specific developer.

 

We all know that you are in fact giving a small band of developers access to the PDK (and whatever you do, DO NOT abandon them as well!). However, the developer Jan Angermüller, who evidently has made several attempts to get access to the PDK in the past, has always been denied it. He has up until now been dependent on Jari Williamson's frameworks for plug-in development. These are yet to be updated to support 64 bit, and Jari, in turn, has neither released any updates to his own plug-ins, nor responded to any questions from numerous Finale users.

 

Jan has some brilliant plug-ins in development (some already at the beta stage) that we all could benefit from immensely, but in the current situation, he is prevented from supporting any versions of Finale beyond 2014.5. If Jari is unable to continue his development, Jan's plug-in projects are dead in the water.

 

Even if a public release of the PDK is still out of the question, I would strongly urge you to reach out to him and offer a similar agreement to what you have with the few developers you do support.

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I strongly support Knut's comment and recommendation.

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I'm with Knut and John.

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I agree.

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Agreed (obviously) here as well.

While I may not want to right now, MakeMusic's behaviour towards its client-base may eventually (and sooner rather than later) force me to switch platforms, to Dorico.

At this point I am considering removing the link to MakeMusic on my personal website (not that I get that much traffic to start with, but still).

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Hi All:

 

Thanks to all for chiming in on this thread and shared thoughts. I appreciate your passion and dedication to Finale.

 

Please don’t read too much into my original reply to Koichi for access to the PDK. The PDK hasn’t been shared with anyone in the past 5-7 years. This isn’t a new policy change. There are problems with the framework that should not be propagated. It is unfortunate, but something the Boulder team inherited. We do support the current plug-in developers such as Jari and Tobias as we updated the PDK to support 64-bit, work that started in Minnesota and continued in Colorado. We have been in conversations with Jan Angermüller, I can’t comment further on those discussions. I’ve also been in contact with Jari, I will respectfully decline comment as well.

 

I absolutely value the extensibility an SDK or PDK offers to the user base. Finale was the first music notation program to provide such a framework back in 1997 and I’ve been using plug-ins ever since. We will not drop the existing plug-ins without a viable alternative. I also appreciate the gaps that plug-ins fill, some of which are design oversights in the core application which must be addressed while others are productivity enhancements through automation of repetitive tasks. Furthermore, I want to mention the use of plug-ins by 2 critical groups of the Peaksware organization: Alfred Music Publishing and MakeMusic Repertoire Development for SmartMusic. Here’s a link to the press release on when Alfred joined us nearly a year ago. Which points to the fact that we are investing in Finale and far from shuttering it. I’m delighted by the tight feedback loop we have with these divisions to improve Finale on a wide range of music genres and notational demands.

 

To further allay fears and provide transparency, here is how I would assess the landscape today:

As the number of requests decreased over time, there was a natural and quiet policy shift around 2008 to discontinue sharing the PDK with new developers. We have been and continue to invest in new tools to modernize the code and assist existing PDK developers in migrating to 64-bit. With the notable exception of JW plug-ins, this has gone well and is nearly done. I would like to publicly thank Michael, Robert, Tobias, and Jari for their effort and significant value adds via plug-ins since Finale ’97. A primary objective accelerated since moving to Colorado, has been to modernize the core Finale code base and research safer and more user-friendly solutions to a plug-in framework. I won’t comment further at this point on these research initiatives, but as mentioned earlier, we will not depreciate the existing PDK without a replacement.

 

I apologize I didn’t reply to this thread sooner. I certainly understand how silence can be interpreted. As mentioned in other threads, I will comment on every thread in this Feature Request Community on an approximate First In First Out basis.

 

Thank you again for your use of the program, your feedback in this community, your patience as we stability the code and modernize our tools.

 

Cheers,

Michael Johnson

VP, Professional Notation

MakeMusic

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Am I the only person who does not find the above reply from MM satisfying?

You've "been in contact with Jari" but "respectfully decline comment"? What the hell is that supposed to mean?

For the rest, well,  to quote the young ones these days: "I can't".

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I appreciated Michael's extensive and thoughtful reply and hope that MM will continue to keep us in the loop. It appears that there is a conflict involving the JW Plugins. This is unfortunate, because I use the JW Change plugin extensively and won't be able to move to Finale 25 even though I bought it earlier this year. 

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I'm in the same position as John, except that I decided to postpone buying F 25 until the JW plug-ins were available for it.

It's a familiar story: without having had something, you don't miss it; but if what you have and very greatly value (the JW plug-ins) is taken away, you are unhappy.

The most useful thing for some of us to know would be what prospect there is that the JW plug-ins (or their equivalent), can eventually become available for the current or the next 64-bit version of Finale (and in a perfect world, approximately how soon).

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Michel: There may be good reasons for Jari not publishing any updates, we do not know and are not entitled to know. I myself have had periods of non-communication, some with bad excuses, others with better and even good explanations. I find mr Johnson's post here as clearafying as can be; the future seems blurry right now, but hopefully it will brighten.

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Skjalg: considering how much the Finale community relies on Jari's plug-ins, I firmly believe it is his duty to at least give some word, some news, about whether or not he intends on continuing working on his plugins.

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Thank you, Michael for your extensive reply!

 

I am aware that the decision to withdraw the PDK is not a new one. If developers of plug-ins were few and far between in 2008, It might very well have seemed like the natural thing to do. Lately, however, there have been several voices in the community, expressing an interest for writing plug-ins for Finale. While it's difficult to assess from an outside perspective, this might constitute a renewed interest that you should take to heart. 

 

Jan is perhaps the most prominent among these voices, for whom access to the PDK is especially critical. Of course, no-one is demanding that you go into specifics about your earlier correspondence with him. All we know is that he has yet to receive a positive response to his repeated requests for PDK access from MakeMusic. Your lack of openness with regard to this situation, and how you intend to handle it, isn't reassuring at all, unfortunately 

 

The fact that you are unable to put us at least partly at ease with regard to Jari's situation and the further development of JW plug-ins is perhaps even more unfortunate. From the perspective of the user community, Jari seems to have dropped off the map entirely, and no-one has any idea what is going on or whether or not he intends to update his plug-ins, his PDK framework or JW Lua. This uncertainty, is preventing several users from updating their versions of Finale and renew their trust in the future of the application.

 

As I've said, I do appreciate your elaborate efforts at communicating MakeMusic's position, but unfortunately, you do not successfully address the questions we really need you to answer with any degree of substance. It appears to me as if this very formal and careful approach to public communications, which seems to be representative to MakeMusics corporate culture, is obsolete and counter productive in today's environment. As I see it, you do no longer have the option to refuse comment on the essence of what your users are asking without running the risk of us losing our confidence in you and moving on to greener pastures.

 

Hopefully, Jari will resurface shortly, your efforts at research for a PDK alternative will pay off, and we will all live happily ever after. For the time being, though, I have to regretfully admit that my relationship with Finale is on borrowed time.

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Another thank you to Michael for telling us what he can.

 

I'm awaiting Jari's plugin update as much as anyone else, but I do not believe he has a "duty" to tell us anything. He gives away his plugins, (donations optional) and has done more to help Finale users than anyone else.

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I agree: Jari has been very generous with his time and his plug-ins have been a wonderful boon.

 

If there were a duty from anyone, then it might be from MM to ensure that if they know (do they?) that Jari is unlikely to adapt his plug-ins to suit the latest version, then they should ensure that their own developers endeavour to add something equivalent asap.

 

The current limbo is bound to make people a tad anxious.

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Yes he has been very generous with his time and work.

And now that everyone relies so heavily on his plugins, since MakeMusic appear to have no intention of integrating them directly into Finale, Jari DOES have a certain responsibility to let all those users know whether there is still hope or not for his plugin set.

 

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Michael, in my eyes MakeMusic is focussing way too much on the Finale PDK in this discussion. I think there is no 3rd party developer worldwide who wants to develop new plugins with the Finale PDK - me included -, because of the reasons you stated above.

But: there are a number of active and very good developers who want to improve Jari's JW Lua platform and his Finale framework - me included. This platform seems very, very stable and excellently designed - I have never had any messed up Finale documents after more than three years of development with JW Lua, even with its very first releases. And this was confirmed by the other JW Lua developers. The system has a good documentation, about 1600 mails in its mailing list with lots of info and there are some developers who are very willing to share their knowledge on the mailing list in case of new questions.

How about sharing a pre-compiled version of the Finale PDK that prohibits developers from compiling new plugins built with the "old" Finale PDK, but allows them to compile plugins built with Jari's framework (by including a library or whatever). Jari has offered to bring his PDK into open-source or for free download some time ago. An older version of his PDK is already available for download, but useless without the Finale PDK.

With this solution the "new" developers can't mess with the original Finale code, but still can contribute, improve and find bugs in Jari's platform. The critical work with the original PDK sources would still be up to those few developers who know it well (like Robert, Tobias and Jari). These old developers could also have a look at new contributions, should these be in critical areas. Maybe this would even be a great weight off Jari's mind.

 

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So it would seem that the more people intervene and complain the higher the chances of MM actually telling us something.

 

They have posted on the "Finale Blog" that Jari is busy with work, family and a return to school, but will return to work on the JW plugins as soon as he has some free time.

Jeeze, how hard would it have been to let us in on this months ago?

 

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I thank Michael Johnson for his Finale blog post, which explains and reassures.

 

Jari has already given us so much…

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Me too!

 

Thank you, Michael, for finally shedding some light on Jari's situation.

 

It should be pretty clear from what I wrote above that I do in large part share Michel's frustration about the timing of this communique, and there's still some rather pressing questions to be answered. But hey, better late than never, and better some information than none at all.

 

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