Feb 18 2012

About That Thing

In his announcement of Highland John included “One More Thing”: I figured out a simple way to export text from Final Draft’s legacy .fdr format. To be clear, I’m basically smashing the format with a baseball bat, and collect the guts that spill out. It’s not pretty or elegant, and frankly it’s ridiculous that this even works. In my defense, I have no idea what I’m doing.

In addition to making the .fdr parser a part of Highland – allowing users to export legacy .fdr files to Fountain, .fdx, and PDF formats – John suggested releasing the .fdr parser as a way to give back to the community. My initial reaction was to scream “Never!” and whip my fist into the air; I argued we would be better off making money from people buying Highland to export .fdr files than we would be releasing it for free. After all, the more we can make selling our apps, the more time and energy we can commit to making these and future apps better.

The problem is, we’ve all complained for years about the lack of a .fdr to .fdx converter, forcing users to purchase a new, proprietary app in order to move their writing to an open format, yet here we are essentially saying the same thing, with Highland taking Final Draft 8’s place as the proprietary app.

So, I’m happy to announce that we will be making open source our .fdr parser. As usual, John is right – releasing this code is the right thing to do.

As John mentioned, we’re beta testing Highland right now, but once the app is released I’ll put our Objective-C code up on GitHub, under a MIT license (just like Fountain). I should warn you in advance, you’ll probably face-palm when you see how the code works.

I still hope people will buy Highland and the other Quote Unquote Apps products. We literally can’t do this without your support. But we also hope this will mean no one will have to worry about exporting their files from the .fdr format. We’re not big fans of Windows, so there’s definitely room out there for other programmers to build useful tools based on our code.

I’ll talk more about the parser when it’s ready for release. Stay tuned.