The Rise and Fall of Preview

Howard Oakley:

Prior to Mac OS X, Adobe Acrobat, both in its free viewer form and a paid-for Pro version, were the de facto standard for reading, printing and working with PDF documents on the Mac. The Preview app had originated in NeXTSTEP in 1989 as its image and PDF viewer, and was brought across to early versions of Mac OS X, where it has remained ever since.

The slow decline of Preview — and Mac PDF rendering in general — since MacOS Sierra is one of the more heartbreaking products of Apple’s annual software churn cycle. To be entirely fair, many of the worst bugs have been fixed, but some remain: sometimes, highlights and notes stop working; search is a mess; copying text is unreliable.

Unfortunately, the apps which render PDF files the most predictably and consistently are Adobe Acrobat and Reader. Both became hideous Electron Chromium-based apps at some point and, so, are gigantic packages which behave nothing like Mac software. It is all pretty disappointing.

Update: A Hacker News commenter rightly pointed out that Acrobat and Reader are not truly Electron apps, and are instead Chromium-based apps. That is to say both are generic-brand shitty instead of the name-brand stuff.