WHY does it have to be the end for softeners

I didn’t even know they were closing shop until logging in here today! Was there an email sent out? The last one I got was about the Brexit sale, June 24th. This is completely bad news. Very unhappy. :frowning:


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I remember Macaw had a Kickstart pledge of $275,929 from 2,752 backers and that got them going… so if its feasible then we would need a commitment from 1000 + people (probably more like 2000+) and that commitment would probably be at least 10 pound a month or 120 pound a year and even then thats a turn over of only £120,000 and for a company thats not much to live on… especially when you take out wages tax , etc.

I agree the math is against this approach. And also it would be difficult to attract new users with this revenue model.

Am wondering if any one else feels that, from a marketing perspective, Freeway lost its way over the years, and that a different marketing approach could attract new users. In the age of standardized responsive layouts the “needs no coding” crowd has flocked to well-templated robust CMS platforms like SquareSpace.

Personally, though circa 2009 I was attracted to the “needs no coding, wysiwyg” message, I’ve morphed to appreciate Freeway for its site prototyping powers, and came to wish it saw itself as an HTML, CSS and Javascript learning tool rather than avoidance mechanism, and named and explained things with this in mind.

Any thoughts out there on how, in different hands, with different marketing, it could thrive? If there are ideas here, perhaps a purchaser of Softpress assets could make a go of it.


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Open source the thing and let the community take it forward.

I’m not a fan of subscription models either. They seem to work if you are the market leader and you literally have people over a barrel if they can’t access their files any more. This is how Adobe got away with it - big agencies and studios need Adobe simply because moving away to other apps like Affinity will be even more costly and time consuming than just lobbing £40+ per seat per month for continuing access.

Richard L. is a pretty shrewd bloke, and I expect he’s looked at this very carefully, and other models to get an income from Freeway, but found them all to be lacking just because the amount of cash coming in will not support the people needed to keep Freeway alive and relevant. You need developers, support, people to test, R&D time, premises, access to legal folk, accounting, as well as somewhere to put them all. That’s a massive monthly bill. Any pricing model has to support that.


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Hi Doty
The forum carries on… Walter has said that earlier on and so therefore that shouldn’t be effected in the short to medium term

Peter
The model of raising finances via subscriptions isn’t great but at the moment I can’t think of another way unless it goes as Paul suggests Open Source… which would be my favourite if possible.
As for the future and the square space route… if thats where its going then I feel its a race to the bottom… because you are always going to have someone who can undercut you using the same base template. The value in FW is it bridges the gap between full hand coding and people that want to design unique sites but have little knowledge of the mechanics behind it. The Square Space setups etc is a bit like stock photography, where you see the same sort of images used for example being used in wart cream and then in an insurance advert. Personally I don’t see that as the way forward for software like Freeway.

I dont actually think Freeway lost its way as such but was probably always underfunded, it takes an enormous amount of money coming in to keep something like this bang up to date and although the industry has matured, whats expected is accelerating at a break neck speed.

max


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On 7 Jul 2016, at 1:31, Peter Laundy wrote:

I remember Macaw had a Kickstart pledge of $275,929 from 2,752
backers and that got them going… so if its feasible then we would
need a commitment from 1000 + people (probably more like 2000+) and
that commitment would probably be at least 10 pound a month or 120
pound a year and even then thats a turn over of only £120,000 and
for a company thats not much to live on… especially when you take
out wages tax , etc.

I agree the math is against this approach. And also it would be
difficult to attract new users with this revenue model.

Am wondering if any one else feels that, from a marketing perspective,
Freeway lost its way over the years, and that a different marketing
approach could attract new users. In the age of standardized
responsive layouts the “needs no coding” crowd has flocked to
well-templated robust CMS platforms like SquareSpace.

Personally, though circa 2009 I was attracted to the “needs no coding,
wysiwyg” message, I’ve morphed to appreciate Freeway for its site
prototyping powers, and came to wish it saw itself as an HTML, CSS and
Javascript learning tool rather than avoidance mechanism, and named
and explained things with this in mind.

Any thoughts out there on how, in different hands, with different
marketing, it could thrive? If there are ideas here, perhaps a
purchaser of Softpress assets could make a go of it.

It far to easy to be “armchair expert” … but …

I agree that Freeway probably ought to have empbraced “da code” a
more. However, by code I mean markup and not javascript or css. (Deeper
markup support would in and by itself also affect the possibilities
w.r.t. css/javascript - and CMS-ees.) The “responsive Web” is
related to CSS. And Freeway has become ”responsive”. Thus, while
everything can be improved, I disagree with the idea (in the other
thread) that CSS is Freeway’s problem. Markup is far mor the problem.

But first: we don’t know why Softpress has had shut down. And we do
not, at least I do not, know, as such, the market for the kind of
product that Freeway is. Activity seems to have been high (brexit sales)

  • until it suddenly was full stop. There might thus be a measure of bad
    luck involved (effects of brexit? Perhaps there is [not] an exit plan?
    Hm …)

But in addition to marketing - there is also the market:

… but since Freeway 1.0 (and I jumped in pretty early - may be it was
version 2), Web production happens more and more online or in the cloud
rather than on harddisk. An good part of the activity in Freewaytalk and
in side projects related to Freeway are about getting it to cooperate
with online markup - various CMS-es. Part of the same development is
that more and more of what was once graphics - which is were Freeway
still excells, has become markup: SVG. (Or markup plus CSS.) Even
Microsoft Office is today in the cloud …

This also means, I believe, that the Web has become less and les
Do-It-Yourself. DIY has declined. And while Freeway is not a pure DIY
app, but instead ”does it [read: the code] for you”, it still
belongs to a section - the “professional” section - of “the DIY
Web”. Even the culture of using CMS-es seems to me, today, to be part
of the declining “DIY Web” - instead we have professionally hosted
CMS solutions where companies can log in an do their thing.

That bein said: As users we ought to think about ourselves more as
partners and appreciate the uniqueness of the products we use and how
well they fit around precisely our corners. Or else we will all end up
as big corp customers …

leif halvard silli


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Hi everyone I tried to telephone the office this morning but nothing doing there desert seemed to be anyone manning the office… which isn’t really surprising.
So unless anyone else has a better method of contacting Richard or Joe etc about how and or if there are any future plans for the software… e.g. possibly go open source etc then we can only wait and see.

max


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I did send them both an email on Tuesday morning to their Softpress email addresses. I hope they got them - but obviously, we don’t know if any Softpress emails are active now.

At some point, we have to expect these lists to be switched off too.

On 7 Jul 2016, 9:52 am, max wrote:

Hi everyone I tried to telephone the office this morning but nothing doing there desert seemed to be anyone manning the office… which isn’t really surprising.
So unless anyone else has a better method of contacting Richard or Joe etc about how and or if there are any future plans for the software… e.g. possibly go open source etc then we can only wait and see.

max


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Hi Paul I thought Walter created freeway talk… am I wrong ? is it a softeners forum

speak soon max


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To be clear, what I said was that the Forge carries on. The Forum is handled by and paid for by Softpress. I wrote the software that powers it, but I don’t have access to the server any more. We could (for free) start a Google Group for Freeway or any of the other Softpress apps. But it would not have any of the existing messages, or the Sphinx search engine to locate information within them.

Walter

On Jul 7, 2016, at 5:22 AM, max email@hidden wrote:

The forum carries on… Walter has said that earlier on and so therefore that shouldn’t be effected in the short to medium term


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The Forum is handled by and paid for by Softpress. I wrote the software that powers it, but I don’t have access to the server any more.

Without any communication from Richard or Joe we are struggling to see if taking on the server/ hosting of FWT would be an option.

D


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aaahh damn… I thought you still had some sort of control. Sorry Walter I misunderstood .
I have been trying to get hold of richard or joe but haven’t had any luck so will call there office again

max


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Max, thank you very much for your efforts. I truly appreciate it.
I suppose I can speak for many of us. Paul and all others thank you too of course.
I read all postings carefully.

What ever happened to Softpress, it must have been something „big“ and I can hardly imagine how difficult it must be to come to such a decision, but even more difficult to communicate its consequences to our community. Especially Joe and his team have been always there for us. I am sure there will be a contact as soon it is possible for them. Meantime we can only send them our gratitude. But also show them that we are here to help, brainstorm and support (what ever that can be exactly …) and perhaps to face this together somehow. I find this important, especially in these changing, challenging times.

Hanna


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Whilst we can all still access FreewayTalk mightn’t it be a good time to come up with a plan B forum that we can all bookmark? I dread switching on the computer one morning and finding FreewayTalk has gone and we have no way of keeping the community alive.

I fully appreciate feelings must be very raw for everyone at Softpress but if their software is to have some kind of future I would have thought they would have wanted to keep us all onside in the meantime by sharing some information, even if they signed up using some kind of alias.

Gordon


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Ive left messages on there phone so with a bit of luck some one will pick it up and call me.

Yes a ‘plan b’ forum is going to be needed and Walters suggestion sounded pretty good

max


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I can give an ex-employee perspective. I left 9 years ago but the company has many of the same staff and Freeway is still the main product.
I’ve not actually used Freeway “in anger” for quite some time but have been in occasional touch with my remaining friends at Softpress

Cashflow was always an issue. But so also was the ever-changing Mac OS. Whether that was OS9 or Mac OS X.

During my time at Softpress, there aways seemed to be at least one engineer (that’s maybe 25% of the engineering workforce) given over to re-writing parts of Freeway because of APIs that Apple were either removing, changing or adding to the OS. That’s at least 25% of engineering given over to merely “keeping up”, let alone writing new features.

It might be that the current difficulty was brought about by a combination of poor cashflow (always an issue with small companies) and some major API changes required by Freeway to ensure future compatibility.

James


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**** Gordon

I agree. At a point of time I cannot understand why they don’t talk to us and share the situation.
Everybody remains in uncertainty somehow. That is not good!

And still we don`t know what really happened.
Just a fantasy, perhaps they have quit Softpress/FW and started to develop a new software? Under a new name and circumstances? Who knows?
A lot of cases are possible….

Well, to be honest - my sympathetic mood changed to the contrary today. I rely on my business base and its important to make decisions as soon as possible for me.
Hanna

I fully appreciate feelings must be very raw for everyone at Softpress but if their software is to have some kind of future I would have thought they would have wanted to keep us all onside in the meantime by sharing some information, even if they signed up using some kind of alias.

Gordon


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I don’t know definitely what the situation is right now, but at one point Softpress was heavily bankrolled by foreign investors. There may be legal / formal business reasons why the Managing Director and Chairman cannot explain anything further at this time. (Angry lawyers screaming about stockholders’ interest, etc.) I have no doubt that eventually we will all hear what they have been wrestling with. This decision must have been the “least worst” step they could take, I doubt sincerely that it was taken lightly or could have been avoided.

Walter

On Jul 8, 2016, at 6:56 AM, star-lights email@hidden wrote:

I agree. At a point of time I cannot understand why they don’t talk to us and share the situation.
Everybody remains in uncertainty somehow. That is not good!


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I would pay a subscription if they need the support. How much. For what you would pay for Adobe products why would this be different?

Billy Kimmel


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HI Max and all…Count me in all the way…
I cannot imagine designing without FW app.
keep us posted and I will do my part with you all… thx
C


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Totally agree with Paul, go Open Source.

Can’t imagine life without Freeway (since the mid-90s)

Malcolm


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