Extensis Suitcase Fusion: Who's Your Customer?

One of the darlings of last month's Macworld expo was Suitcase Fusion. It even won a Best of Show award. As a Suitcase user, I was excited to see the announcement, and I downloaded the demo first thing.

The feature I especially wanted to try was the new Font Vault. I even read the manual before using it, which tells you to turn on the vault and then drag your font folders (or entire hard disk) into the Suitcase window. The result?

  • Fonts now in the vault did not replace the existing fonts; now I had two copies of each.
  • All keywords assigned to my fonts were no longer present in the vaulted copies.
  • A bunch of fonts were listed as damaged and irreparable.

Now, I'm willing to admit that the last point could be a problem with those font files -- I did not run my fonts through Font Doctor before the import. But the first two points? That's just dumb. So dumb, that I thought something must be wrong. I contacted Extensis customer support, who replied:

Copying fonts into the Vault will not replace the fonts that you have in place (so you will end up with duplicate items). There is not a direct way of importing your keywords of the fonts that are in place to the fonts in the vault.

The workaround is to search the database for a keyword > create a new set > place them it their own set > collect the entire set by drag and dropping it to the desktop > add that collected set into the vault > apply the keyword to the entire set.

You would have to do this for each keyword you have created for your fonts that are in place.

Ummm... let's play a quick game of "who's our customer?" It's someone with a ton of fonts -- nobody else would spend $100 for a font manager. Someone who has a ton of fonts probably has a font manager already, and the two main products there are both owned by Extensis, and this is the upgrade to both, hence the fusion in the product name.

Therefore, most customers will be upgrading to Suitcase Fusion and they'll already have a font library to import, probably a library with keywords assigned to their fonts. And Extensis didn't think to provide an upgrade path for these people to use the new, highly-touted Font Vault feature.

C'mon guys, you can do better than that.

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You just gave me the reason I needed NOT to upgrade from Font Reserve. You'd think that they would get it, but obviously they don't.

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