Native Access Q1 Update

Hayo_NI
Hayo_NI Product Team Posts: 262 mod
edited February 7 in Native Access

Hi everyone, Welcome to another quarterly update! Before we jump into things, I want to deeply apologize for the service instabilities on January 22, thank you for your patience, and remind you that our services are back up at usual capacity. I’ll follow up with more information after our postmortem to share what happened and our intentions to move forward.

2023 Review

2023 was a busy year, and we’re happy to have made a lot of progress in our ability to address common issues. We had hoped to do so more iteratively with more frequent, lighter updates, and we’ll continue to work on that this year.

One of the biggest improvements we made was to our startup flow at the start of the year. Since we shipped version 3.2.0, we have more than doubled the amount of users who see their products within 10s of launching Native Access. 

Our biggest topic of the year however was to increase our download success rate. We’re still actively collecting insights in the latest version we shipped to see our progress, but when looking over the course of the year, it seems our download success rate has gotten significantly better. But downloads aren’t the only part of our deployment flow, and as such there’s still plenty of work to do on the other phases, such as reducing the burden of large files on your system and the duration of updates, as well as handling the intricate realm of compatibility concerns.

We also released a feature allowing you to uninstall your content products. We fully intend to iterate on this feature further, but are already happy we’re tackling the biggest bulk of our products now!

All in all, this was a year with the theme of maintenance, and we’re happy with the progress we’ve made so far. We still have a ways to go, and we’ll continue to deliver more enhancements, but the progress is heading in the right direction.

2024 Goals

For 2024, our biggest theme of the year is reducing friction. Native Access continues to become a healthier place to manage your products, and we have many aspirations to enhance it even further. To stay focused on the most important work we can do for you, we sometimes need to make difficult decisions regarding our legacy tools and systems. This is why I would like to announce that we will deprecate support for the previous version of Native Access – Native Access 1 – on February 28, 2025. After this date, products can only be activated on Windows 10/Mac OS X 10.14 (Mojave) and higher. Products not supported on these operating systems will not be activatable anymore either. Please take care to update your environments by that time. If you haven’t updated your Native Access to the latest version of the tool, you can find the download link here. All your preferences will carry over.

As we draw closer to the deadline, we will provide additional information on how to manage your environments, share which products are impacted, and guide you on how to future proof your projects, so stay tuned for these posts.

January - March

Now to our commitments this quarter specifically. We’re aiming to ship a new Homepage by the end of this quarter. This will come with an Announcements section and a revamped “New” experience through a Recently Added section. In addition to this, we’re revamping our startup flow to remove our splash screen and our login window, and move all the steps to our main window instead. This will also come with browser-based login. We’re also adding some upgrades to our subscription user experience in Native Access so we can make the products you own via a Subscription more clear, and also adding a My Account section in the preferences with quick links where you can manage your account. Lastly, to get you experimenting with your new products faster, we’re adding the ability to launch them via Native Access.

Regarding the Announcements section, we’ve taken all of your feedback and our own learnings from its time on Native Access. While many of you have expressed interest in being made aware of ongoing sales, the general sentiment was for it to appear more muted, tasteful, and naturally within the app. Moving forward, we’ve established new real estate that we’ll be populating with more relevant experiences. We’re still working towards the types of content we’ll surface in this new real estate, so when we have a clearer strategy, we’ll be eager to fetch new feedback. Expect this to ship near the end of the quarter.

The New tab has been a feature many users have loved for quick access into the products they most recently purchased. However, once Native Access closes, the New tab also disappears. We want to highlight the newest additions to your account at all times, so instead of a dedicated New tab, we’ll add some space that contains a smaller selection of your newest products permanently. We’re limiting the selection, however, as the Library page will be the hub for everything you own, as it is now.

There’s a lot more we plan to add to the Homepage over time. Our goal with this page is to get you up and running a lot faster, and as such, a natural part of that experience is being able to launch your products. We notice that the natural transition from Native Access into the products you own is completely missing, so for applications we will provide an open button. We’re eager to allow users to open Kontakt instruments in the standalone Kontakt application as well. We will not do this for plugins though, as they are only openable via the DAW.

Lastly, I want to dive a bit deeper into why we’re revamping the startup experience. In July we encountered an issue with our login service, but our tech setup prevented us from being able to ship updates to users who aren’t able to login, meaning we couldn’t hotfix the issue or rollback the update. To enable this, we’re getting rid of the splash screen and moving all of the setup into the same window as your products. This should not change startup times. Alongside this, we’re making two additional changes. To reduce friction and make logging in smoother and faster (and usable with a password manager), we’ll be using the login window on the website instead. Users who are already authenticated will not be affected, but future login attempts will go through a browser. Finally, you will see a new EULA agreement experience the next time you start Native Access. This startup experience will be shipped in 3.9.0.


We hope your experience with Native Access has improved over the years, and as always I look forward to getting your feedback and experiences.

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Comments

  • Vocalpoint
    Vocalpoint Member Posts: 668 Pro

    @Hayo_NI

    Thanks for the update - sounds like an exciting year ahead.

    VP

  • lord-carlos
    lord-carlos Member Posts: 2,017 Expert

    Hayo_NI is without a doubt the best dev in NI on updating and communicating with the community. Thanks mate.

    ------------------

    I don't own a mac, but I often help people who have trouble with downloading software on mac because of permissions. Can you add something so it's more clear that they need to do something in order for it to work?

  • MorrisEd
    MorrisEd Member Posts: 30 Member

    Wow. Sounds like everything is aimed at moving us into a position where we can’t use the products we paid for without logging in. I have zero interest in a new home screen FYI, and I certainly don’t want to give up any real estate to new product adverts. Also, no mention of MIDI templates on the Kontrol MK3, which were supposed to be released in “mid-Q1,” which was already delayed from the initial estimate of Q4 23 provided by NI reps in the comments to the initial YT launch videos. I will use what I have until NI fully trashes it, but at this point not buying anything further in their hardware or software universe.

  • Uwe303
    Uwe303 Moderator Posts: 2,900 mod
    edited February 5

    For me na works now really fast, it opens up and is ready on my system in 7 seconds or like that and I have ku14ue.

  • Maciej Repetowski
    Maciej Repetowski Member Posts: 369 Pro
    edited February 5

    I’ve recently installed iLok drivers to check on some Softube demos and, out of curiosity (as I have some libraries from UVI, bought ages ago and not being used), I’ve installed UVI Portal (their equivalent of Native Access app).

    Yes, it requires iLok account (which sucks).

    Well, NI will need about 100 years to catch up…

    With UVI Portal, there’s no Demon app, no background processes. You can install, uninstall and reinstall everything and it’s fast. No pixel fonts either.

    Then I’ve installed UVI Workstation (an equivalent of Kontakt Player). Fully native, scalable interface, no pixelated fonts or graphics. Two libraries which I own scale nicely together with interface. Lightweight app with clear concise GUI.

    I am not so optimistic as to if NI can pull through to that level of usability and UI in any given time, to be honest.

    I like Kontakt libraries more (especially cinematic ones), but why do we need to constantly walk on a broken glass to use them is beyond my understanding.

  • Sunborn
    Sunborn Member Posts: 2,134 Expert

    Please stop the silent installs!

    I want to be in control about what is installed on my computer.

    I don't like for example, to have installed 10 different Traktor drivers that i don't have their controllers so they are useless to me, and i not want AAX plugins either, i use only VST3.

    It is not a big deal. At least put it as an option for those who doesn't like to waste space for things that they will never need. Thank you.

  • Hayo_NI
    Hayo_NI Product Team Posts: 262 mod

    Hey Carlos! Wow appreciate the kindness, although I'm merely a product manager, the team are the real legends here!

    Permissions are a tricky thing, because at the end of the day there's limitations to the files/folders/system privileges we know we need, and the errors we'd get are hard to determine.

    That being said, I think you're right in areas we can improve in how we relay this information though. Given everything we've got going on, I'm not sure how much we can offer now, but I'll reach out to you to gather more insight into what are common permission issues you help out with. Appreciate all you do for the community!!

  • Hayo_NI
    Hayo_NI Product Team Posts: 262 mod

    I think the problem here is that while we're in a position with some Kontakt Instruments to be able to look into more granular solutions, we're not quite there yet with our applications and plugins, and thus have to install everything we bundle into an installer and execute it in bulk. We don't really have the power to recognize the minor elements we could opt users out for. There are many strengths to our installation approach, but you rightfully point out a major weakness.

    We're looking into simplifying our installer tech, cause similarly to our theme of reducing friction, it's a major painpoint for us internally to ship features out. When we recognize what tech we'll apply to products like Traktor, there will be more for us to be able to look into here.

    Thanks for the feedback! Will be a use case I consider while we navigate installers. Can't promise a resolution at this time though, apologies!

  • Hayo_NI
    Hayo_NI Product Team Posts: 262 mod

    Hey MorrisEd. Sorry to hear you're unhappy here.

    Logging in is crucial for us to be able to identify the products you've bought and link it to you, and there's a heap of reasons I can give here if needed. I recognize that the tides are turning across the various industries as people are more keen on forever owning their products, so I appreciate you bringing this up as something we need to be more considerate about. Older products you've bought are still ones we can authorize, but the user experience is less desirable. At some point, a product costs more to support than the money it makes, and then as a business we need to make some tough choices. However, to @Ojustaboo 's point, we need to do better in terms of what constitutes a product as EOL and how we handle it. We're building a better policy/working system around this already, which we'll share when it's ready, which includes how you get access to products that are no longer supported in whatever way.

    Regarding the MIDI templates, this is a Native Access Q1 planning. We don't cover other products here unless we play a role in the development there. I'll pass this on though and see if I can get some information for you.

    Regarding the home screen, we see this as a guide to help get new users (especially bundle or subscription owners, but also perpetual owners) started with their products, or learn about next steps. The announcements section plays a significant role in frontloading that content/guides/etc. However I recognize that this feature is not for everyone and that's fine too.

  • Sunborn
    Sunborn Member Posts: 2,134 Expert
    edited February 6

    "You don't have the power to recognize" a simple thing which is the standard installation almost everywhere since 2 decades? Seriously now?

    I am in Windows since 1998 and half of those years on a semi-professional level, and this is the first time that i hear a developer to claim such thing.

    Well, i have the solution and it is really simple. But it is very annoying that i have to do it every time on every update. Do not auto-delete the installers after installation. This, is the solution! I find this, totally unacceptable and you are maybe the only company who does that.

    So, every time, i have to "guard" my Downloads folder, while Native Access is downloading something, and be ready to instantly copy-paste it on another folder, then quickly delete the downloaded .iso before Native Access finish the installation! It is the only way to have my .iso and run it as i like and choose the options that i like to install, as i do with almost any other product!

    So, on the contrary with many other users, i don't have (and never had in the past too) any problem with the products. For me they are excellent and i am very satisfied. But i do have a major problem with the policy. A policy who claim that "the user doesn't need to know" (so, lets do things easy) is providing ignorance and it is 100% against everything that i stand for.

    Anyway... Cheers! 🍷

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 3,973 Expert
    edited February 6

    Can you please explain better

    we will deprecate support for the previous version of Native Access – Native Access 1 – on February 28, 2025. After this date, products can only be activated on Windows 10/Mac OS X 10.14 (Mojave) and higher

    ?

    Because, said like this, it really sounds like “we sold you a product advertising it working on a determined operating system, but now we are removing your ability to use what you paid for if you remain on that operating system”

    And also “we update things with new requirements and tell you that eventually you can freeze your computer to a state where you can still use the versions you paid for (losing the ability to update but keeping the one to at least use them), but now we even remove this ability”

    And…since this really sounds like not possible, or even illegal, probably you didn’t explain yourself correctly…by “activating” you mean we will not be able to activate new products on those operating system, not that we will not be able to install the programs we already have on our computers, correct?

    I’m asking this because our lawyers will be very curious

  • Matthew_NI
    Matthew_NI Product Team Posts: 682 mod

    I can answer briefly, but for more detailed keyboard discussions, best to head over to the Kontrol area of the forum.

    In brief: I had said here on the forum that our next priorities after launch included MIDI templates, and that this work would start in Q4. That happened, and the work continues now, and we're on track to ship it, and many other features, in the first half of this year.

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 3,973 Expert

    On a good note: NA1 being deprecated on February 28 2025 should mean by this date we should finally have a NA2 PERFECTLY working…correct?

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