Serif, maker of Affinity Photo and Designer, announced their commitment to creating Windows versions of their software this week. Windows users can go to the Affinity site to sign up for beta testing.
Affinity has made a huge splash on the Mac OS, earning recognition in the design community and being listed as one of the Best Apps of 2015 by Apple. “Pretty much any article, blog or social post about our Affinity apps now seems to attract a rush of comments from users asking why we don’t make them available on Windows. Well, I’m really excited to finally reveal we are working on it and the development team are making incredibly rapid progress.” said Ashley Hewson, Serif’s Managing Director. “We already have an early build of Affinity Designer running on our PCs in the office here, and we will be making it available as a free public beta early in the summer.”
More details from Dale
Dale Cook, Project Manager for Affinity Products, states that Affinity’s focus on Windows comes from a huge interest from users and a need for bridge Affinity across platforms. He took time out of their busy schedule this week to answer questions on the new Windows endeavor and what to expect from Affinity in 2016.
When I last spoke with Affinity, you expressed a commitment to Mac and iOS platforms first. Did the Windows development leapfrog over iPad apps and your upcoming page layout program, Publisher?
Yes while we’re still committed to Mac-led development with iOS close on its heels, the Windows team have managed to get an alpha build ready before we expected… close enough that we’re happy to make an announcement that it’s coming soon. We still have another Mac app and some beautiful iOS versions on the cards too, I wish I could give you dates.
Did you focus on the Windows development due to the huge demand from users?
The back-end engine that powers Affinity apps was intended to be cross platform from the outset. We chose to develop that into gorgeous Mac apps first and it’s a mammoth task to bring that same back-end to Windows but it’s worth it to get the same features on both platforms with the right UI for each. We’ve certainly seen a flood of requests from Windows and are happy to have an answer now.
How do you see the expansion helping the Affinity brand?
The expansion will really help uptake of Affinity apps in businesses and professional creative workflows that cross platforms, which is pretty broad brush. Agencies, studios, photographers, freelance designers, design departments and educators can all benefit. Even those just using Macs will be able to share files with more people once we’re on Windows, so that helps everyone. We’re not heading to a lowest common denominator, quality seriously matters for Affinity so we’re setting the bar very high on every supported platform.
I have to ask just out of wishful thinking, but would you ever consider creating Linux versions of your software?
If the right level of demand is there and it wasn’t so fragmented a platform, perhaps. We do see requests but not enough yet for us to invest right now.
Was the decision to focus on Windows a plan part of your road map or is it something that you added in on the fly? Does this affect the timing of anything else you have in store?
It’s not been decided on the fly, the Windows team has been working to bring the Affinity back-end into Windows apps for over a year so far. We just couldn’t talk about it until we knew they could achieve everything that was needed. The superstar Mac devs we’ve showcased are still the same, so’s their workflow, they’ve not been affected by having had Windows guys nearby doing their own thing for a while already and that’s not changing now. The Mac team are still focussed and we have some amazing features underway for v1.5s coming soon (and smaller 1.4.2 bug fixes coming out first). The Mac apps will continue to grow at a pace, it’s the job of the Windows team to keep up – and they’re getting closer now.
Do you still have seven developers working on the Affinity line? Where there any hurdles to overcome in order to make PC versions of the software?
The Mac team is still around that size yes, they’ve expanded a little with another member with iOS expertise, and the separate Windows team is another group again. And yes they’ve faced some serious hurdles; threading, GPU acceleration, color correction and RAW processing engines are examples of technology that have to be mapped and optimized on each platform so it’s not been easy, and they’re not finished yet. But they’re good. They’ll be able to achieve 100% feature and file compatibility, which is part of what makes the Affinity suite special.