I have some sad news about my beloved app, Clarify. The developers reached out to me late last week with a preview of a blog entry they were about to post.
The full story is at clarify-it.com/blog/the-future-of-clarify. I’d like to explain some of what it says and let you in on some more detailed questions I posed to them and answers I received.
The main thing that they’re announcing is the discontinuation of their document-sharing service associated with clarify-it.com. This was a place you could post your tutorials and then reference them to share with others. This service will be shut down on March 1, 2018. That’s 5 months notice, so more than enough time to find a new home for your documents if you used this free service.
What does Bart always say, “follow the money”, right? Their money maker is the business software Screensteps, so maintaining this free web service no longer makes sense. I can certainly respect that.
The next question though is what about the Clarify desktop software? The title of their blog post is, “The Future (or Lack Thereof) of Clarify and Clarify-it.com” so Clarify isn’t coming out unscathed.
Clarify desktop is going into what they’re calling “Maintenance mode”. I asked them some clarifying questions (see what I did there?). Here’s what I asked and their answers:
Q: Will you still be selling Clarify?
Right now, we are still selling Clarify. We have included language on the website and in the store that points users to our blog post before making a purchase. I think at some point, we might just make it a free app–but that depends on whether it will be a good lead generation tool for getting ScreenSteps customers. A decision we have deferred for now.
Q: Will existing users still be able to download the installer for Clarify (say when building up a new Mac)
Existing users will still be able to download the installer for Clarify.
Q: Will there be license support for Clarify?
We still offer license support for Clarify.
Q: I see a recent update with bug fixes and enhancements (v 2.07), is that the last one, or will these still happen? Maybe bug fixes but not enhancements?
We plan on addressing minor bugs, but we will not be doing any more enhancements. Q: The 64-bit enhancement might be the only exception. We have a list of features we are devoted to building for ScreenSteps right now, so ScreenSteps has taken the top of the list. But when the dust settles, then Trevor will evaluate the work needed and make a decision at that point.
Let’s break down that comment about the uncertainty on whether they’ll upgrade Clarify to 64-bit at some point in the future. In High Sierra, 32-bit apps will continue to run. It’s not until the operating system after High Sierra that 32-bit apps will be deprecated. So we have a full year before we have to worry about it. Apple will probably nag us about how our 32-bit apps are getting on in years, just like they did in iOS 10 for 32-bit apps.
I tried really hard to get Trevor to promise he would upgrade Clarify to 64-bit but he wouldn’t commit to that. I mean, how long could it take, like maybe an afternoon, right? I love to say that kind of thing to developers.
So, I’m not at all happy about this turn of events, but nothing will change in our usage of Clarify to make terrific tutorials for the next year. I remain apprehensive about the future, and if there was a single competitor to Clarify I’d be checking it out, but since there isn’t I’m going to put my head in the sand and pretend they didn’t tell me any of this.
I think I’ll go make myself happy by creating a tutorial on how to set up Colloquy on the iPad to join the Live chat room.