Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sibelius 7 sucks

As a musician with classical training, I love sheet music. They are not only beautiful pieces of graphic art, but also great repositories of musical knowledge, which are always ready to have music pulled out of them. And music writing is universal: sheet music written in China is the same written in Canada.

Obviously, when it comes to computers, I always was interested in sheet music editors. My first editor was Encore, a very simple one. But soon I moved to a more powerful editor: Sibelius 2. And since then, I’ve been a faithful Sibelius user. Well, up to version 6.

Sibelius Software was acquired by Avid, know for its sluggish Pro Tools. Unfortunately, Sibelius 7 suffered a huge shift in development direction, jumping on the ribbon bandwagon – the single worst thing ever invented in computer user interface history – and bringing up a very confusing and keyboard-unfriendly screen. Now, all the actions and option dialogs – previously organized into regular menus, easy to reach with keyboard shortcuts only – are spread among the ribbon tabs, with distracting and childish icons, wasting precious screen space and requiring you to execute many, many additional mouse clicks while searching for something among that mess. Oh, and there’s still a File ribbon tab, with even more additional tabs at left and options distributed like mucus dropped from a strong sneeze!

But Sibelius 7 didn’t change only the interface, they also brought improvements, right? Wrong. There is only one improvement, relative to text flowing inside textboxes. Everything else is insignificant for music writing. I felt really ashamed by watching the what's new videos from Sibelius Software, with nothing new to show besides that horrible user interface. Don’t they have some critical sense, at least?

So it seems that I’m stuck with Sibelius 6, which is a bit slow, but it’s usable. Well, until some other company comes out with something better. And without a ribbon.

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