The present and future of post production business and technology

Why we want Final Cut Pro rewritten to Cocoa!

Scott Simmons is running a “28 days of Quicktips 2011” series over at Pro Video Coalition and on day 2, in parallel with the release of the Manifesto titling plug-in for Final Cut Pro, he points out that Manifesto has built-in spell check, the only FCP titling option that does.

What probably isn’t immediately obvious to the average user of these tools, is that the programmers at Noise Industries had to do zero extra programing to get spell check in a title plug-in. It’s part of the package that comes when you call (in your application or plug-in) the appropriate Cocoa framework – NSTextView for those few who care!

One of the things I’ve come to really appreciate as a product manager/designer, is how much Apple gives programmers “for free” in their frameworks. Programmers refer to these bonus features as “sugar” – something sweet you get without effort as a programmer.

When you create that view, it comes with spell check, autocomplete (hit Option+Esc key while typing); styles, color, mixed fonts, color and style and more, without extra effort as a programmer. (You can see the same features in the Motion text tools.)

The image editing application Pixelmator is built almost entirely on Apple’s Cocoa Frameworks built into the system, not written for the application. There are these incredibly powerful Frameworks and the older Final Cut Pro code can’t access them.

Similarly TextEdit – the system-supplied text tool – is mostly based on NSTextView and the majority of its features come from that Framework, not from the application specific code.

They can, of course, be accessed from any new Cocoa code, so the Pro Apps team were able to hook into the iChat Theater Framework and add that to Final Cut Pro without an enormous amount of programming effort. (I’ll tell you exactly how much once we’ve explored how easy it would be to add iChat Theater to prEdit.)

So, here’s to more Cocoa code in Final Cut Pro and adoption of great system features like QuickView, Location services, smart bins and so much more. And when they do, we get the benefit of the “sugar” – all the common features you’ll need for a function, done right.

If you’re interested in what Frameworks are available there’s a nice list at Apple’s Developer area.







9 responses to “Why we want Final Cut Pro rewritten to Cocoa!”

  1. Art Bell

    I’ve been waiting so long for a 64 bit FCP about now i would settle for it being written in DOS. BASIC, EMAC, FORTRAN… – anything….pick one and get on with it.

    1. They have been working on it. In FCP 7 at least Speed Change and XML IMport/Export were rewritten from Carbon to Cocoa. Like Avid, they’re working on it but 64 bit QT is going to be the sticking point for this release.

  2. I’m not sure why, but I have it in my mind that if we’re going to see a release for FCS4 this “Spring”, it will happen before or around NAB, which is just over 6 weeks away.

    That puts us pretty close, and it gets me wondering how they will handle the release of this kind of software in the age when they’re no longer attending trade shows. FCS3 sort of “snuck” out the door, just popping up on their website one day. Will they do the same thing again, and if not what are the alternatives?

    This is shaping up to be a VERY busy spring for Apple, with the iPad2 sure to be released before April, updated MacBooks and MacBookPros rumoured to be dropping soon, and less sure indications of iMac and MacPro updates in the next few months. Along with that there’s also the iOS5 preview that usually happens at the end of March or April. And all this before WWDC in June- which will be all about iPhone and iOS5 lion, and Lion developer betas.


    So again, the question begs where does FCP fit in? Pro Software like this doesn’t fit bundled into any other product launches or announcements, unless it’s a MacPro. And they haven’t gotten stage time in an Apple event in years.

    Does FCP4 rate a small unveiling to concerned media and live-streamed event? Offhand I’d say no, but if the infrastructure is there, it’s a great way to generate buzz to as big an audience as wants to hear it.

    1. Not a direct rebuttal, but frankly if you have a choice of when you release, then NAB would be a bad choice because everyone else is releasing then, and it’s harder to get press coverage. That’s why Adobe hasn’t released at NAB for the last two releases, and Avid just gave us their big “NAB” Media Composer announcement.

      Pro Software will get it’s own event(s) when the time comes. Whenever that is, but I think either clearly before NAB or clearly after, but who really know (only those who can’t talk).

  3. Matt

    Whenever the next FCS package comes, I’m pretty sure it will get a nice shinny press release and that’s about it. Maybe a small scale road show to go along with it? NY, Chicago, SF, etc

    1. Last major release – ie FCS 2 – they did a major road show across the country. If this is as “awesome” as Jobs claimed, then I think they’ll do a major roll out.

  4. I think you’re right. Pre NAB would be the smartest move, and Apple HAS enjoyed stealing the thunder from shows like CES in absentia in recent years.

    If a MacBook and/or iPad event happens soon [like in the next 2 weeks], I think the road will be clear for an FCP announcement pre-NAB. But if things get backed up, we may have to wait until after. Apple likes to give each product release it’s own time to shine in the media.

    Personally, I’m more curious than anxious. I’ll be banging away at a feature until the TIFF deadline in June- so not the time to be upgrading regardless…

  5. Nivardo Cavalcante

    See how many edit suite using an external monitor. Why do not you use does not mean that there is a need.

    This my workstation..

    1. That’s a very small portion of 2 million.