The End of the (Adobe) Story

January 26th, 2018 | by | filmmaking, screenwriting


I don’t know if you knew this, but Adobe had a screenwriting app called Adobe Story.

I got an email asking if Fade In supported Adobe Story files, since Adobe was shutting Story down. That caught me by surprise. I’d even fired up Story — to try something out for some reason I can’t remember — no more than a couple of weeks ago, and I didn’t notice any indication then that it was going away.

(Fade In does, by the way, support import of Adobe Story documents and has for…well, years. Just choose File > Import > Adobe Story and you’re in business with both .astx and .stdoc files.1)

In the reasons they give for why they’re ending Story, Adobe says, among other things, that it was “a solution that few Creative Cloud subscribers used” and that they’ve “decided to concentrate our development efforts on projects with a more tangible benefit to a greater number of customers”. To me, that translates to roughly: “not enough users/not worth it”. And that’s a company with sales last year of 7+ billion dollars saying that.

There are some fairly obvious contributing factors to that situation, from the technical (I don’t think it was ever a good idea to try to build a whole word processing application on Adobe’s own AIR/Flash platform; it led to slow performance and sluggish response: two things that will absolutely kill you if you’re a typing-based application) to the functional (Story never managed to develop a professional-level feature set, keeping it from being usable by the comparable level of industry pro that might be using Premiere or Photoshop or After Effects).

They’re giving users exactly one year, “after which date the data will be deleted”.

But the real eyebrow-raiser is where Adobe states: “The Adobe Story CC offline application will also cease to work beyond the end-of-service date.”

Um. What?

Isn’t the whole point of an offline application to be untethered from any sort of online server or requirement? To not be dependent on a web page or a network connection?

I guess that’s the price users pay for subscription software. Companies love subscriptions because it means they can keep charging user a little bit every month until they far exceed what would have been the price tag for a one-time purchase. But companies in general are also notoriously fickle, and in this case it’s the loyal userbase that ends up taking the hit.

I feel genuinely bad for Adobe Story users. It sucks to have something you depend on pulled out from under you.

At least in this case users are getting some warning, unlike in some other screenwriting/online catastrophes in which all of everybody’s work stored on a server somewhere was suddenly and irretrievably lost.

Still, though.

Anyway, the good news is that Fade In isn’t going anywhere. And if it were, you’d still be able to use it.

But it’s not.

But you would.

  1. Another thing that surprised me was that, at least since the last time I checked, Adobe had removed the ability to export even FDX from Story, leaving users a bit in the lurch as they headed toward shutting it down.

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