Open letter to Keith Lang about Skitch

Skitch 1.0.2Dear Keith,

I read your letter about Skitch and would like to respond to all that has happened from my end-user perspective.

I am a long-time Evernote user and fan. Evernote changed note taking by being truly searchable. I can confidently drop all the websites, receipts, todos and ideas in there, and clear my mind of the “I must remember that” burden. The OCR of Evernote works beautifully on photos of whiteboards, making even my whiteboard notes searchable.

In 2010, I discovered Skitch. The simplicity and razor sharp focus on anotating a screencapture and share the anotated image by dragging it anywhere was sheer brilliance. My daily work includes making annotated screenhots and mailing them to team members to discuss improvements. Skitch changed this ugly capture-save-edit-save-attach-send cycle to pure poetry in motion. Dragging images into Evernote even made my screenshots searchable. It instantly became second nature and my go-to image tool.

As a software developer, I know that software is rarely “finished”. There is always that little bug to fix, that missing functionality to add, or some ugly code to refactor. But Skitch was different. It was perfect as it was. It integrated beautifully with everything in my Mac, including Evernote. Not tightly coupled to anything, yet integrated with everything. As a fellow software developer surely you must recognize the poetry in perfect decoupling like this.

When rumors reached me about Skitch being integrated into Evernote I was very worried. Why integrate Skitch into something? It already integrated beautifully with everything on my Mac. Why tie it to some product? I guess the answer is money. Evernote buying Skitch must have been a financially interesting, but I fully expected Skitch to degrade because of that deal.

The first release of Skitch in the Mac App store confirmed all my fears. Skitch 2.0 was so utterly broken, so alien to all users who used or saw Skitch 1.0 on my machine, so crippled, so devoid of it’s original focus. Skitch 2.0 left me and some of my colleagues very dissapointed.

Luckily, my trusty Time Machine backup had the old version of Skitch and I quickly distributed it to all the poor users who installed Skitch from the Mac App store. But the damage was already done. Frustrated users, underground distribution of the old version of Skitch to a lucky few. To this day I have not figured out what the “advantage” of the “integration” with Evernote is. All blogs and open letters from Evernote and the Skitch team make excuses, link to the old Skitch 1.0.2, talk about how Skitch 2.0 is not Skitch 1.0, but fail to explain what the true advantage is.

To me, Skitch 1.0.2 is the version of Skitch that truly integrates with Evernote and every other application in a simple, consistent and easy to understand way. It made sharing easy and understandable.

The sellout to Evernote was the death of Skitch. Sure, some features were added back into Skitch 2.0.2, but only to make Skitch 2 into a cheap knockoff of the once great Skitch 1.

Now that Evernote has bought Skitch, sales people will want to integrate it into Evernote even more tightly, migrate it to all platforms, thereby losing some of the tight integration with the OS that made Skitch so wonderful and effortless. Even with all the Skitch 1.0 fans behind you, you will have to fight a board of directors who never used Skitch and want to change it without truly understanding why people loved the old Skitch. The gold handcuffs in your deal with Evernote will prevent you from restoring Skitch to what it was.

I can only hope that somebody, somewhere realizes how brutally Skitch was butchered by people who clearly did not see the beauty and simplicity of Skitch’s userinterface. I can only hope that this person has the skill, means or pure balls to bring the old Skitch back and release it to the Mac App store, maybe under a different name. Just the Skitch 1.0.2, as is. Screen capture, resize or crop, annotate, your history on the flip-side, and sharing/saving by dragging. Nothing more.

Meanwhile, I have Skitch 1.0.2 backed up in every location I can possibly think of. It is an invaluable addition to my daily workflow, and I dread the day Skitch 1.0.2 will no longer work with a new version of OSX.

On behalf of all Skitch users out there, thanks for creating the truly amazing, one and only Skitch 1.0.2. Come over and talk to us. Bring your 1.0.2 sources. We have cookies.

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