Downgrade to Zotero 5 with confusions about breaking changes in the new upgrade

edited April 12, 2022
Everything is forcing me to upgrade to Zotero 6 but it breaks too many things with advanced function. Very disappoint with it and communications appear useless to me. It's not my development and I cannot change anything. So, yes, I made my decision. I would rather lost support and all new functions but to downgrade to my familiar old fashioned workflow.

Will definitely still keep an eye on the progress and discussions here and turn back only until all the NEW POWERFUL functions have been settled down properly.
  • Just kidding but maybe it should be considered to rename Zotero 6 to something like `zotero-super` or `zotero-reader` or `zotero-annotator`, to clearly state what breaking changes it has introduced.
    And of course, it was my bad forget reading the release note carefully before click that normal looking upgrade button. My bad.
  • Downgrading is not a good solution in the long term - Zotero 5 is no longer supported and will stop syncing in the future.

    Please be specific about the parts of your workflow that no longer work in Zotero 6 and we can certainly help you.
  • (If your issue is with the new PDF reader, open the Zotero preferences to the General tab and select a different program in the "Open PDFs using" dropdown.)
  • @AbeJellinek Thanks for the reminding. I'm aware about those drawbacks already.

    My issues are broad, not just one or two functions. I read most discussions in the forum recently. Basically we are all facing the same issue. To make an annotator, you have to change how annotations are handled, then you need to change the note editor, then like how Zotfile interacts with notes, then a lot of other here-and-there improvements to keep everything in a whole.

    No offense but my feeling is that Zotero 6 is very much like a Mendeley clone but less polished. However, sadly, Mendeley's annotator has greatly disappointed me back in like 2010. Since that, I only use the sluggish stupid Acrobat Adobe reader for anything serious, for that its strictly PDF standards implementation ensures widest compatibilities.

    Anyway, as I said, I'm simply not ready for such a huge step, which is sadly a backward one for me.

    I'm just posting my thoughts to support people like me that are still hesitating about whether to hold back to 5 or to adapt to 6. To me, 6 is still evolving with lots of uncertainties.
  • @AbeJellinek Actually, the last issue that pushed me back is how annotations are extracted. Those available template are very limited now and the documents are not complete enough to let me customize my extraction flows. According to the discussions I read in the forum, there won't be a quick fix and many things are still uncertain. So, before I dive too much into the new system, I decide to hold back but keep watching.
  • I'm disappointed to hear this @astroHao as personally I find Zotero 6 a fantastic upgrade. I've been using it in beta for a while, but understand that there are some changes in workflow required. It's not entirely clear what you dislike specifically about the annotations feature or how annotations are extracted, but as pointed out, you don't need to downgrade to Zotero 5 - you can just disable the PDF reader in the Preferences and keep working as before to a large extent.
  • @joycekwc Thanks for your suggestions. But it is not as simple as disabling the internal reader. In fact, the internal reader is not bad at all. I tried myself.
    Downgrading to 5 is the easiest and most stable solution to me, for now at least. 6 has many breaking changes that not well documented. Some changes might be technical details but it does rather indirectly affected some users.

    Anyway, thanks for the suggestions. I will keep an eye on the progress and move forward once I felt safe again. Btw, you may also want to give Mendeley's internal reader a try. It also handles the annotations and links well, and not that much RAM hungry. I had been a much loyalty user to them, as I said, until they encrypted their database...
  • edited April 8, 2022
    Just to be clear, Zotero 6 provides vastly more annotation- and note-related functionality and customizability than Mendeley, and that's not even counting plugins, which Mendeley doesn't support. It's an absurd comparison, and if you're making it you have no idea of the capabilities of the two tools.
  • I absolutely love the new update... yes, it completely destroyed my previous workflow with zotfile/mdnotes. Yet, once I cleared the wreckage, and figured things out, I would never go back! It's so great reading, annotating, and commenting on PDFs with Zotero and the new note-taking feature makes it so much easier to quickly edit and copy notes into research documents.

    I was in the same boat a couple weeks ago, trying to find a way to downgrade to the previous version, but now I don't think I could go without the new features! Yes, there's a few kinks to workout but I'm super happy with what the team as put forward.

    Big thanks to everyone who worked on it!!
  • @dmvalmadre You reply really cheers me up! Thanks!
    Do you mind providing more descriptions on your workflow or some reading materials for me to follow? Maybe you can start a new thread to share your experience because I saw many were discussing the breakup of the old workflow.
    For me, the greatest hurdle for now is the note extracting changes between Zotfile and Z6.
  • I agree @dmvalmadre - the more you work with it, the more you realise it is a different workflow, but a much better workflow than Zotfile (and I say that as a huge Zotfile fan). @astroHao - I agree that there's a need for better documentation, and would be happy to do some myself as I have to do it anyway for other reasons, but perhaps you can point me to the threads you were reading where people had concerns with the changes so I can understand your concerns better?
  • edited April 12, 2022
    @joycekwc Thanks for your suggestion. I also agree with both you guys that a different workflow it would be, maybe just slightly different. I just don't have time for now (I know it's ironic I spent so much time complaining...) to explore a different workflow. But I will keep an eye on more sharings from others. Maybe I need to upgrade my workflow some time.

    My biggest concern for now is the breaking changes of the annotation extraction function. Which annoys me most is not which approach is better or more powerful, but how it was introduced. I only noticed the changes until I upgrade to Z6 and found no annotations are extracted automatically. And until after a little bit search I discovered the new function in Z6. Then more breaking changes in Z6.

    Yes, I know that the beta has been a long time. But it got named "beta" for a reason, when it went to public, properly documentations and warnings of breaking changes should be provided. I mean, developers should not just assume all users are familiar with and welcome the beta.
    And yes, the breaking changes are just for plugins, nothing in Zotero itself has been broken. But plugins are a crucial player in the full Zotero environment. Plugins may have some hacks to the core Zotero, but I'd expect Zotero allows and respects these flexibility. I mean, any warning of the breaking changes to the annotation extraction would have saved me tons of time of struggling.

    P.S. I've changed the title of the OP to be less negative. I never complain so much about anything...
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