Apple doesn’t usually make such dumb decisions. But in this case, they’ve gotten good and stoopid. I never upgraded my old Mac beyond Snow Leopard. (I wanted to keep the ability to run PowerPC programs through Rosetta.) So there were a number of applications I didn’t bother to upgrade to the latest and iWork was one of them. I didn’t use it that often and when I did use it, iWork 08 provided all the capability I needed. I think the upgrade would have cost me some money but even if it was free, I wasn’t in a rush to upgrade.
Now I’m on my new Mac and I downloaded and paid for the new version of iWork which doesn’t have a collective name but which is generally known as iWork 2013. Right away I had a big problem: I can’t open files from iWork 08. Numbers 2013 says that it can’t open such an old version and that I would need to first convert the file from Numbers 08 to Numbers 09 before I could open it in Numbers 2013.
There are two significant problems here:
- I paid for iWork 08 and I paid for iWork 2013. There is an implicit assumption with software that later versions of software will be able to open earlier versions of software. And considering that both of these versions were versions I paid for (i.e. not freeware), I expect professional level software development. Breaking that implicit software assumption is contradictory to professional software development!
- Even if I had iWork 09, which I don’t (or didn’t – see below), I would need to manually convert each individual document I had saved in the old application by opening it and saving it. One document at a time. For every damn document. Finding all the documents and clicking to open and save is going to take some serious time. And I promise Apple that every minute of that project I am going to occupy my brain with disgust toward Apple for making such a bad decision.
I thought about switching to Microsoft Office instead of buying the new version of iWork. But then I thought about the files I had created in iWork already and I didn’t want to deal with converting them to another format for another program. At the time I made the decision to stick with iWork, I had no idea that I was going to be needing to convert the all my files to stay with the same program!
After some digging I found how to install iWork 09 on my new Mac. It’s a trial version only. So then I needed to hack my way through getting it untrial’ed so I can use it to do the conversions that I don’t want to be doing. I won’t link to that info here, but it’s easy to find.
I have found some scripts to do file conversion using AppleScript and opening each file automatically in iWork 09 to save it there. And I like the idea about doing a batch conversion because I really loathe doing it interactively or doing it only on demand. Merely upgrading from one version of a program to another shouldn’t require this level of geeksmanship to merely retain access to old versions of documents. Bad Apple, bad Apple!
Now researching the best AppleScript to use, I came across a different way of upgrading files. It’s shocking, but I tested and confirmed that you can merely update a version tag inside the iWork 08 document and it will work right away with iWork 2013! The version tag change makes the iWork 08 doc pretend to be an iWork 09 doc. And apparently, iWork 2013 isn’t concerned with the technical content of the older doc – it merely wants to know the version it was saved with. By simply changing the version identifier, iWork 2013 is happy with it.
I understand that there can be technical challenges with dealing with updates to files and while I still expected Apple to have overcome that (see the two enumerated points above), at least you could make an argument that there is some technical reason behind the decision to not overcome any challenge. But it turns out there is no challenge. This is merely a business decision. Ooooo, this makes me mad. This is no longer “Bad Apple.”. This is now “Evil Apple!!”.
And thus, I present my script for updating all of your iWork 08 files to iWork 09. It doesn’t need iWork 09 to function. It only needs your iWork 08 files and the current iWork 2013 applications (so you can open the files). Note that after the files are updated, they won’t work with the older iWork 08 applications. Just download the script here, let your browser unzip it, open a terminal window to where the file downloaded and run the script by typing the name in the terminal window at the prompt. You can give it an argument like “~” (without the quotes) to update all of the files you have in your home directory. It might take a minute to scan through all of your documents looking for appropriate files but when it starts converting, it will go quickly.
Download here: update-iWork.sh