Anything that Drafts 4 can that the non-pro Drafts 5 cannot?

Hello together.
I’m new to Drafts, but bought version 4 some time ago without using it so far.
Now I learned that there is a new version.
And even as I read everything and watched the movies, I am not sure if the non-pro version of Drafts 5 can do EVERYTHING that Drafts 4 could.

Can you help me with your experience?

So, in summary, should I better use Drafts 4 or the non-pro Version of Drafts 5?

No. Drafts 5 without subscription does not do everything that Drafts 4 does.

If you have read everything on the migration pages you’ll have seen that without a subscription you won’t be able to create your own custom actions. The URL scheme looks to also be restricted to the pro subscription.

There are also some action steps in v4 that are not currently available in v5 at all.

I would say this depends a lot upon your use case. If you have already built or added all the custom actions you need, the non-pro version of 5 will probably be fine.

But if you haven’t been using 4 I’d say take that out for a spin for a few weeks, see if it feels like anything is missing, then see if that’s in pro 5.

Thanks @sylumer and @dfay

I did not do nothing with Drafts 4 so far, just was planning to do.

And on the Migration page there is just one point mentioned below “What´s missing”, IIRC.
This was the reason why i asked. I just cannot tell myself.

So, it seems that there are more things missing on the non-pro version of Drafts 5.

I would not like to first learn Drafts 4, customize it and then later switch to the non-pro version of Drafts 5.
In this case, i would normaly prefer to directly use Drafts 5.

But that would maybe lead to the urge to use the subscription version, which i would not like to use.
So, i will need to think about this a bit more.


As explanation:

… and rambling (please bear with me)

I have massive problems to use subscription apps, this is why i would like to use Drafts 4 :wink:

Subscription Apps are wayyyyyyy to expensive and also cost money when they do not get used at all.
So they are multiple times as expensive.

As example:

I have about 700 Apps on my iPad, if each of them would only cost 1 Euro per year, that´s 700 Euro per years!

But the lowest subscription Apps seem to cost about 17 to 20 Euro per year, about 2 Euro per month.
That would be 11900 to 14000 Euro PER YEAR for my 700 Apps.

This is just not a good idea :slight_smile:
I don´t understand why Apple allows this.

About the future:

That will lead to the situation where most customers will just have about 10 Apps at all.

As this would cost about 20 Euro per month, as much as DSL Internet or as much as Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime TOGETHER!

Who would be willing to spend more than 20 Euros per month for Apps?

The alternative:

I would happily buy Drafts 5 for up to 20 Euro, but not more.
I would also pay that for every major new version.

But SURE not automaically for 20 Euro per year!

So maybe offer a “Drafts 2018” and then a “Drafts 2019” and so for quite some money, but without subscription?
There are lots of Apps that use such a method.
Look at “Wotja” music App, for example.

This way, customers need to pay new, when they finally want to get new features, but then can also stay at the last version - as long as they wish.
Both sides benefit from this!

To get customers to buy new versions, developers need to offer new stuff and fix things.
But with subscriptions the developers can just sit and wait and get money for that.
And lots of money, that is!

The version with yearly Apps or general re-buying major new versions is the way to go!
Not subsciptions :frowning:

So your vision is that it’s better 700 copycats apps that don’t really fulfill your needs than a smaller choice of well crafted apps that evolve according its customers needs (thus you can chose what niche is better for you) in a stable pace whitout the need of produce new-features hype yearly…

I guess I prefer to get the things done better that collect apps :upside_down_face:

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There are lots and lots and lots of discussions out there on subscription models for apps and services. The key aspects here are probably the stability and support for the developer (that allows them to say look at developing get a Mac version) and also the fact we don’t have to wait for long periods for chargeable significant feature releases. It’s almost a case of investing into an economic system. BUT it is not suitable for everyone and presumably for Greg to take Drafts to the next level a tiny major version fee was also not suitable.

I believe that’s very much why Greg left Drafts 4 on the store and most of Drafts 5 is free.

You can have 4 installed and use it until it is no longer fit for purpose or not supported by your version of iOS. You can have 5 installed side by side and just make use of the features it does offer. You can pay for a month of 5 at any point and try out the more advanced features. There is choice here and you are not being locked into anything.

Different solutions suit different people (full disclosure, I am a happy subscriber) and specifically here different people’s pockets. Just like in business you just need to ask does it give you a return on the investment? Will you get the value back in saved time and effort and/or being able to do something you couldn’t do previously. The answer is always a personal one.

As a final note, here’s a post on Drafts 5 @ The Sweet Setup that has an interesting intro on someone else’s view point on the subscription model.

Hope that helps.

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I completely understand the feeling of subscription fatigue. I have a running log of mine so that I look at it on a regular basis to make sure I understand monthly & yearly of what I’m spending my money on. The amount of money per year for me makes sense, and that’s why I will continue to support it. You might not feel the same way, and that’s ok. When it comes down to it, you have to make the right call for you.

Drafts 4 remains a powerful app, and customers can stay there if they’d like. But there is so much more that you can do with Drafts 5. It’s also replaced a lot of apps for me, and reduced my subscription count (so far, I’ve cut $90/year from that number). So spending the money per year makes the value proposition right for me. It may not be for everyone. It’s up to you to make the right call.

There are cases where subscription pricing is being used where I think it does not make sense. One negative aspect to a paid-up-front app is the false sense of security: the app could be shut down tomorrow, with no support, and you’re left paying for an app that is no longer developed. As Drafts is the critical app for me, I want to ensure that it stays around year after year so that I can count on using it as a solid foundation.

For Drafts, as Greg has said in writing and on podcasts, it made more sense to be a subscription app because it will be a platform that builds out over time. There doesn’t have to be a long wait in between major releases of the app; in fact, we’ve had two major point releases adding some improvements and new features – improvements to workspaces, adding of action steps, and major navigational enhancements to name a few – in the two months following the release. And there’s also the Mac app in development that hopefully will be coming in some form toward the end of the year. So he’s offering new features and fixing things, but not waiting until major release points to get those features into user’s hands. Greg’s choice to go to a subscription model allows him to develop the app further at a better pace than before.

The choice of what you want to do is yours, and it’s a personal one to make. I hope this helps in any way. Cheers.

As an aside – I really think that having 700 apps is likely a bit too much, unless you’re someone who reviews apps for a living. I have around 100, and even that can get to be too much at any given time. I’d encourage you to go through your apps and clear out what you’re really not using, especially if it is a subscription model. iOS even has a great built-in feature in the storage settings to remove apps that you’re not using. I’ve used that a few times and haven’t noticed a change in what I’m doing on a daily basis; the feature does a really great job. Also, look at the possibility of what an app like Drafts can do to replace some of these apps. You might find that there’s a place for it after all…

No, that’s the 700 apps I use.
But I use them from time to time and some I use more often and some very rarely.

About 200 musical apps and 200 games, but still - what’s yourpoint?

Are you saying that I only need 20 “good” apps and shall be prepared to pay subscriptions for them? Happy new world :wink:

No, I want to use all of them and the list is constantly growing too.

EDIT: Another strange forum, I cannot see the quote of what I was replying too. This may be difficult for others to read! It is better to have the quotes included to get the context straight.

I tried to explain, what I mean.

The subscription model is clearly targeted at failure.
Just try the calculations yourself.
It just CANNOT work.

There is a solution that helps both parts, both the customers and the developers:

Pay for every new major version.

This encourages developers to develop more and better and will get them the money to be able to do so.
I absolutely understand that the iOS prices cannot sustain a developer and that he therefor likes a subscription model.

But the subscription model will work only for some very few apps and then will result in total resistance against more such subscriptions by the customer. There will just not be the money for all those apps.
That’s easy to see.

But thanks for the link you provided, I am going to read it!

Thanks for the long and thoughtful reply!

I totally understand that when an app is central to what you do, it may be acceptable in a subscription model!

But that also means that it cannot be central to lots of people who use it only marginally.

And even then, as I wrote, you mostly stop at about 10 central apps.

I bought Drafts 4 in February and just started it once.

I also bought ByWord, iA Writer, GTW, Editorial, 1Writer, Textastic, Textor and Pretext and some more. Mostly to be able to compare them and check out, which I like most for what.

Only now, I wanted to start using Drafts and I am not sure that it can fit a role for me.

As I wrote before, I realy think that only a change from “buy once, use forever” (the normal way on iOS and Windows) to “buy for every major release” can solve the problems!

Customers want updated software with new features and fixes.
Developers need constant and reliable money.

A subscription model will give that only to very few apps and developers.
A model around buying new major version can sustain both needs for all apps and developers!

I try to give some screenshots later, to show what subscriptions for all Apps would mean to me!

And about Drafts, selling Drafts 5 for 20 dollars and Drafts 6 again for 20 dollars would help the developer too! I think that this would result in much more money for him! As people can continue to use the older version but will buy the newer version when it is just better!

With a subscription, already the feeling about this is different - in addition to the effect that people like me could use an older version without headaches.

But with a subscription, I totally loose the app when I don’t pay anymore, which is not a good feeling to have. You then feel forced to continue paying.

I realy suggest having a look at the Wotja 2018 musical App.
They sell yearly versions, but you can stay at the older version, if you like.

For me, this is the future!
Both for developers and customers.


I read that article on The Sweet Setup.

It is just saying that most things are already contained in the non-pro version.
It does not argument towards or against subscriptions in general.

And don’t get me wrong, I wrote about my feelings and fears in regards to a world, where then ALL apps use subscription models!

I’m down to 619 apps :slight_smile:

I cleaned them down from having initially installed ALL apps I ever bought on this iPad.
I have one Apple page, one production page, one painting and photo page, three musical pages and 2 pages with games. Most pages contain lots of folders, sorted by app type. Want Screenshots? :smile:

But I have 0 subscriptions

May I ask which subscriptions you could cancel after Drafts 5?

It sounds like if you don’t want a subscription model you should stick with Drafts 4 or one of the other text editors that you purchased.

You could also try just using the non-pro Drafts 5 which is already quite capable.

I tried to read more into the differences between 4 and 5, and it seems that tags are new in 5.
Tags would be an invaluable addition to me.
So it seems I should forget about Drafts 4 and try my luck with the non-pro version of 5.

The link to the Sweet Setup article was simply to provide an independent view of someone who seems to have started out with the same view, but then through the course of trying the application revised their position. I didn’t intend it as a for or against, just to highlight that it might be worth trying it for a month to see if your view changed like the author’s did.

As you note, it does point out that most of the functionality is in the free version of the app. Note that should you subscribe and then lapse your subscription, you would not lose anything save for the features you gain through the subscription. You would not ‘lose the app’ as you stated above.

Greg has been developing applications for iOS now for quite a while. I’m pretty sure that since his livelihood probably had a dependency on it he might have run some figures to work out what would and would not work. Therefore unless you had the details of the figures and analytics he has to draw upon for years of Drafts development and sales then you have to admit you are working on assumptions. Again, go back to what Tim (@nahumck) referred to about Greg actually talking and writing about this publicly. All the points you are putting forward have come up before. Look to discussions about TextExpander, Microsoft Office, 1Password (though I realise they offer a choice here … based on features), etc. that have occurred over the last few years and it’ll sound quite familiar in terms of the pros and cons.

Back in February you bought Drafts 4. That app still exists and has not lost any of its functionality. You still have what you paid for and you can still make use of it. It is no less of an app than it was previously. If it helps frame it for you, why not imagine that the developer of Drafts ended its development and a new developer came along with a similar idea but it is subscription based. How would that change your views? Not at all, or does it counter the historic version references entirely? I’m not sure.

Remember. You don’t have to spend any money at all to get Drafts 5 and run it alongside Drafts 4. You only have to spend money if you want to use any of the subscription features.

In terms of subscription overload then that is a very real thing for most of us. As a result I would imagine most of us look at the subscriptions we have and review if they offer us the same value as they did when we chose to sign up for them. Over time that has not been the case for me and when a subscription has ceased to be of enough value I have cancelled it or let it lapse. I have a finite amount of money and every subscription has to earn its place. For now, Drafts has. That may not be true next year of the year after. Time will tell, but I’m pretty sure Greg will be working hard to try and retain every subscriber he can. But as it is we are not in a world where all apps are subscription based. We have arrived in a world where apps have gone from tens thousands of pounds (my first copy of Microsoft Office Pro for Windows 95 was well over 500 GBP) to ‘the price of a coffee’. Many of the ‘coffee’ apps have now been abandoned and where I used them I’ve moved on. I’m actually happy to see an app like Drafts (which is now offering a free non-pro vs. paid pro scenario) not be counted in the ‘coffee’ category any more. It gives me more confidence in its future.

From everything you’ve said, and your economic assumptions aside, I’m not convinced at this time you would benefit from the subscription.

I still think you should check out Drafts 4 and Drafts 5 and see if there is anything that makes you want to try the subscription out at all. If there is, then maybe next week or the week after you might try just a month of the subscription. After that you really get to decide on what the return on investment (both service and in Agile Tortoise) would be.

Dear sylumer,
i realy did not intend to start some fight here!

I just came to get help in regards to using either Drafts 4 or 5 (non-pro).
After reading what was written and reconsidering the options, i think i will start with Drafts 5 and just skip Drafts 4.

I do fear that at one point i may feel the need to get the subscriptions features.

Subscriptions in general:

What i wrote about subscriptions is my deeply felt opinion and everything i wrote was just an argument against subscriptions in general.
It was not a bashing of the developer of Drafts!

Subscriptions will hurt the customers and finally hurt most of the developers.


There is only one economic model that works - the model that always worked for everything:

You have a competition of developers and you have a market for their apps, where a certain amount of money is available in total and then you have the customers, that finally distribute that money.

And all of this only works when customers finally get what they want and in turn provide enough money to the developers.

That means that there are good reasons to have the developer STAY in competition.
And the subscription model is breaking this. It bind the customers money to some few developers and in turn removes the competition from the developer, as he get´s money anyway.
This is bad!

iOS ecomonics:

In the low-price world of iOS, developers can only get new money for new Apps or from new customers.

So far, the normal model was “buy once, use forever - including any updates and fixes”, as we know it from Windows.

This needs to change to “buy once, use forever - including necessary fixes, but without major additions and major new features”!

This is the only economic model for iOS that reaches those two goals:
Have a competition between developers and fix the problem that developers could only get money from new customers or from totally new app.

Subscriptions at Drafts:

And now returning to Drafts and it´s developer:

You are right, we don´t know his economics in regards to this app.

But i can only image that the list of subscribers is by far fewer that the list of customers who bought a former version of Drafts.

That may still prove to be OK for him, as the price is about 4 times higher than formerly and is returning every year. But that blocks out very much existing and future customers! That is not a Good Thing for a developer and his Apps. Even with subscriptions, you need to expand the market, continue to improve your apps and get more customers.

The other solution:

I am sure that he could increase this income when he - maybe addionally - offers major versions like 5, 6, 7, … at PRO level for a fixed prices, maybe even that of a yearly subscription!

This way, old and new customers could jump on the band wagon who never would consider a subscription!
And they would get a stable, supported version … until the next version arrives, one year later or even longer.

But they could continue to use their old version!
If the new version is good, they WILL finally buy it anyway.

And this is totaly conform with i wrote above, the ecomics are right and both customers and developers benefit!

So, maybe i could explain a bit better what i was trying to say :slight_smile:
Best wishes!

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I’ve cancelled the following so far (there might be others in the future):

  • DayOne ($50/year)
  • Ulysses ($40/year)

Those apps are great, but I don’t need to spend the money for them because Drafts replaces it. Drafts also serves as a replacement for multiple single apps (too many to list here). Overall, it saves some money for me. That’s where I find the value.

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Thank you very much!

I could not answer more early, as the forum said that i need to wait 13 hours - very strange idea :smiley:

I always was interested in Ulysses, but you know … subscription :smile:

But then, if Drafts even replaced Ulysses for you, maybe at one day i will be ready for a subscription too.
Time will tell.

I am currently reading lots of things about Drafts, Actions, JavaScript and start using Drafts 5, downloaded lots of actions and so on (totally confused) …

One sad thing is, that it only seems to support iCloud to backup stuff.
But then, i don´t like to store unencrypted things in the cloud anyway, so support for Cryptomator would be great :sunny: :blush:

Thanks for your attention and help!