The Future of Scriptographer is … Paper.js!
From:  Jürg Lehni
Date:  15. November 2012, 17:46

Adobe Illustrator CS6 has been available since late April 2012, so more and more users were starting to wonder when Scriptographer for CS6 will finally be released.

Aware that it is time for an official answer, I am finally taking time to formulate one. It was far from easy, but a decision has been made: I am not able to spend more time on making CS6 a reality, and instead will focus my time on creating a very decent alternative and escape route with Paper.js, a JavaScript library for the open web and the HTML5 canvas element that Jonathan Puckey and I have launched in 2011 and are very actively developing since.

The idea for Paper.js grew out of a research and teaching project at ECAL that we have been conducting during 2008 - 2011, in which we used Scriptographer to teach programming to visually thinking students in blocks of one-week workshops. In parallel to these workshops, as part of the research project we continuously improved, streamlined and simplified Scriptographer's API, added new functionality based on observations from the classes and wrote many tutorials and materials to facilitate the teaching. All this material has partly lead to Paper.js' success, since it allowed us to provide great documentation from day one.

Based on these experiences, we are now in the process of planning an online coding environment using Paper.js that sports a subset of the features that the Illustrator interface is offering, which was so beneficial when teaching programming since it allowed the inspection of the visual elements that the code produces.

I am currently using an early version of this environment for teaching at UCLA in Los Angeles, and results are so encouraging that we believe in a couple of months we will not be looking back anymore, and will be able to offer a decent replacement to the environment you came to love working with, with plenty of options to import and export graphics.

Since CS3, I have been regularly reaching out to Adobe, proposing to join forces in some way, as I thought they should be interested in our efforts. Unfortunately, they did not seem to be, or did not have the resources to spare. And with their own scripting environments based on automatic wrapping of native API still not receiving the love and attention to detail it deserves (their API is unstructured and hard to use), I just don't think that Adobe sees the necessity to invest energy there at this time. Personally I believe that is a mistake, and I have been trying to tell them so on multiple occasions. But given the quite fundamental changes that many of their applications have been undergoing in the past revisions, it is understandable that there were many more pressing issues.

For example, during the last decade, Illustrator for Mac went from OS 9 to OS X Carbon (yes, early versions of Scriptographer still run on Classic Mac OS!), from CodeWarrior to XCode, and now finally from 32 bit Carbon to 64 bit Cocoa. In CS5, the coordinate system was vertically flipped.

All these changes meant that with each new version, there was an increasing amount of time and effort to be spent to get Scriptographer functioning again. And unfortunately, the changes required to make Illustrator CS6 work on 64 bit Cocoa lead to the complete removal of ADM (Adobe Dialog Manager), the API that Scriptographer's whole user interface is built with. Even worse, there is no new API to replace it, developers are encouraged to either build UI in Flash, or use another cross-platform framework of their choice, and figure out how to integrate it in Illustrator, which is far from trivial.

So a large amount of time would have to be spent to port Scriptographer to CS6, work that will neither be pretty nor fun. Many people have suggested launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to facilitate such a transition. I considered doing so for a while, but then realised that with all other projects and commitments, I simply do not have the time to spare to do so, even with sufficient funds, as employing a programmer and coordinating it all would still be a huge effort.

But with all the source code open-sourced and available over at GitHub, anyone with the energy and time at hands to do so should feel free to take on the project and make it live on. I would be more than happy and willing to outline the changes required for CS6 which I have pretty much mapped out in my head already, and assist the process.

Developing Scriptographer has often been painful and more hard labor than anticipated, due to its ever changing host. While working on Paper.js with Jonathan, I came to realise again how much fun programming can and should be.

While it is hard to abandon one of my darlings, the benefits from doing so simply overweight the downsides, and it is with an unburdened heart that I look forward to the new endeavours.

Many thanks to all of you who supported this platform over the years! We hope we are not losing you as users. Why don't you move along with us to the new platform that is shaping with Paper.js!

To those who now feel betrayed or see the base for their work in danger: There is nothing wrong with using CS5 for the time being, which is what we will have to do as well, since many of our own works depend on it to function.

I apologize for the bad news, and hope you can all appreciate this decision.

PS: I have removed the donation button from this website now. If anybody has recently donated money in the hope of fueling the transition to CS6, please get in touch and I will send you a refund.

Re: The Future of Scriptographer is … Paper.js!
From:  mike
Date:  28. May 2013, 07:19

I've looked into the code, it is a lot of work to do.
The idea is to replace all the references to the ADM with some other. This means to know what referenced ADM classes do.
In order to be integrated into Illustrator and look native, it should be based on Adobe's framework. They have a tool for that, I personally dislike. This path could lead to the present situation again, if they drop again the current framework.
I would like to have something similar to the ExtendScript tool, also.
BTW, all this situation is due to the lack of Adobe in implementing all their API in these scripting tools.

Re: The Future of Scriptographer is … Paper.js!
From:  Jürg Lehni
Date:  1. July 2013, 09:29

I have done preliminary tests with integrating IBM's SWT framework for Java inside native Ai palette windows, both in the old ADM world (CS5 and below), as well as in the new CS6 world. The framework exists both as Cocoa and Carbon versions, and the tests were pretty promising. This was the route I was imagining I would take as an exit strategy, but even with that framework it would still be a huge amount of labor.

If someone is interested in my research and would like to pick up where I left, I am more than happy to be of assistance and give pointers and insight knowledge where it's required.

There are other changes required to make CS6 work, mainly linked to pointers consuming 64 bits now, but these changes are way easier and I could implement them myself as a base for the required work on UI.

Also, if anybody is interested in doing a Kickstarter to get this funded, I'd be up for helping out.

I simply can't do the main labor anymore, but I am also very sad to see Scriptographer die.

Re: The Future of Scriptographer is … Paper.js!
From:  mike
Date:  1. July 2013, 10:03

Thank you, it is great to hear that.
The issue here, for many people, is not knowing what the ADM framework does as it is not so spread - SWT is meant to be a generic development widget toolkit.
I am not scared of the volume of work, but the lack of knowledge in both, ADM and SWT.
I think moving out of the Adobe's tools is a long term achievement, as they could change the toolkits again and again.
Is there feasible to have something similar to the ExtendScript tool in Scriptographer case? That would be the most flexible approach, I think, i.e. to have a scripting tool with basic debug , if possible, and all the Adobe API available (the C/C++ are more complete than javascript, isn't it?).
Additionally, what about using C/C++ SWT (

It is a shame to lose the Scriptographer!

Re: The Future of Scriptographer is … Paper.js!
From:  james
Date:  17. July 2013, 14:38

still bad since cs6 will be the last official version. you could make adobe think about.

f. adobe cloud.... never ever

Re: The Future of Scriptographer is … Paper.js!
From:  Mark
Date:  17. July 2013, 16:15

I think a kickstarter fund is an amazing idea.

Re: The Future of Scriptographer is … Paper.js!
From:  Leeroy
Date:  16. January 2014, 18:54

Paper.js is bloody magnificent, thanks for that!

I just came here to make sure you're aware of the Processing language, processing.js and toxiclibs.js... there's a slight overlap, maybe it's interesting. Slim chance you're not aware but I didn't have time to check.

If you know about them, care to make a comparison one day, for beginners?

Thanks, all the best!

Re: The Future of Scriptographer is … Paper.js!
From:  Beatriz
Date:  10. March 2014, 14:10

Please reconsider!!

Scriptographer for Sketch!
From:  Lau Ardelean
Date:  11. March 2014, 19:24

Hey all,

recently I've started using Sketch for vector illustration and UX/UI design. It really is a great app with lots of community support. Its deffinitely one of those apps that seems like its here to stay.

More here:

The App:

Some press:

That said, can Scriptographer work on Sketch? Ever? It'd be a dream, since Sketch it toally vector, blazing fast, and I've used Scriptographer so much, but now I miss it.


Re: Scriptographer for Sketch!
From:  Patrick
Date:  9. October 2014, 21:09

Great idea Lau!

Re: Scriptographer
From:  Didier LAHELY
Date:  11. November 2014, 21:37

Dear Jürg and all,

I am a French creative using scriptographer since... Ever.
Of course I am very disappointed by this answer.
In a selfish way ; )
But I totally understand your point.
You did a Lot for the community.
So I would like to thank you for all your great work/ideas, and wish you good luck in your future projects.
You deserve it.