xto7 update fcpx

One of the great things about the recent FCPX Creative Summit was the attendance of many of the software writers in the ecosystem. So when it was announced that Assisted Editing had renamed Xto7 to XtoCC, we caught up with Philip Hodgetts and asked him why.

We will let Philip explain all, it is an interesting story: 

 

We recently renamed Xto7 for Final Cut Pro to XtoCC (Creative Cloud). I’d like to explain why we did that as some people have expressed some disappointment in the change.

Naming an app (software application) is never easy. Ideally it should be easy to remember and relevant to what it does. Ideally it would be unique enough that it is easily found via search engines.

We started work on a translation tool for Final Cut Pro X XML to allow translation back to Final Cut Pro 7 XML in the late Summer of 2011. Our internal code name for the app was Project Xto7. Apps generally have code names during development because the name hasn’t been decided on yet or because development is secret and a code name reveals little about the app.

In our case we hadn’t decided on a name. Another example of this type of code name is Adobe Hue, which was previewed at NAB under its code name Project Candy. I’m sure you can think of examples of the other type of code name.

Our code name became the app name when we launched in September 2011, with some minor typographical tricks to make the “to” into a subscript 2. It was a perfectly adequate name and workable icon.

A little behind the scenes aside. In our team my husband Greg Clarke is the coder, and he had been working on translating Final Cut Pro X XML to Final Cut Pro 7 XML as a personal project, because Final Cut Pro X imported XML before it exported XML (during that development cycle). He was uncertain that anyone other than himself would have any use, while I could see that there would be a market for it. Project Xto7 has gone on to be very successful.

Late in the development of Project Xto7 we started work - in close conjunction with Apple - on the development of 7toX for Final Cut Pro, culminating with the release of 7toX for Final Cut Pro concurrent with Apple’s release of Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3 in late January 2012.

Since we were adding Mac App Store distribution of both apps with the release of 7toX for Final Cut Pro we relaunched Project Xto7 as Xto7 for Final Cut Pro in the Mac App Store, with new icons for both. The name change for the Mac App Store was primarily to bring it in line with the new 7toX for Final Cut Pro, although in our own store, the name remained Project Xto7 (and still does) because changing the name would require a replacement download for all customers as the framework we use won’t update an app with a different name.

Fast forward a couple of years, and Xto7 is a mature app. Even mature apps still get support requests, and we noticed a trend. More support requests involved Adobe Premiere Pro CC created xmeml - the technical name for Final Cut Pro 3-7 XML. Adobe uses the xmeml format for interchange, allowing them to open Final Cut Pro 6/7 XML directly.

But Adobe does things slightly differently from Apple’s Final Cut Pro 6/7 implementation of xmeml. These variations, and outlying cases needed to be dealt with, such that the majority of the updates for Xto7 in the last two years (as with 7toX) have been to better support integration with Premiere Pro CC.

Along the way Larry Jordan asked us if we could make Final Cut Pro X XML work with Adobe Audition CC. Since Audition imports xmeml, that wasn’t hard to implement.

Another customer wanted to import translated Final Cut Pro XML into Adobe After Effects CC, which again is possible thanks to the integration of Automatic Duck technology in After Effects. A few minor tweaks later and basic integration was achieved, and we currently do a pretty good translation of Final Cut Pro X Projects into After Effects, including scale, transform and blend modes, but excluding applied Effects.

Over time, with customer feedback, we have improved the integration with the Creative Cloud apps, and it became obvious to my marketing mind, that Xto7 for Final Cut Pro was not communicating the primary use for the app!

Marketers are also reluctant to let go of a lot of Search Engine history. Change the name of an app and all the reviews don’t align with the app any more. All that good “google juice” would be lost.

When we get support questions like “I don’t want to go to Final Cut Pro 7, I want to go to Premiere Pro from FCP X, do you have an app for that” it’s obvious the name is not communicating what the app does.

It was suggested we make an identical, and parallel app, just with a different name, and we gave that very serious consideration. Ultimately the burden of maintaining two (identical) code bases and keeping them updated in the Mac App Store seemed less than ideal. We also felt we would be constantly asked “What’s the difference?” when there was no difference.

Ultimately, changing the name of the app to better reflect its use seemed the right choice.

From a design perspective, I wanted a logo that was congruent with our current design aesthetic and at the same time echo’d the icon we’ve used for the last three years. I hope you’ll like it.

The app is identical. It still supports Final Cut Pro 7 and other xmeml apps. All that has changed is the name and icon in the Mac App Store