Jeff, I can top your Finale experience; I go back to version 1.0. — $1,000.00 for a buggy, non-functioning piece of software useless for anything other than to begin learning it so that once it was actually functional, you’d know how it worked. When it worked correctly, that is.
And its resource requirements were so far beyond the Macintoshes of the day that when a friend of mine wrote a short piece for her middle school band (relatively small instrumentation, not many measures), it took THREE DAYS for her to to separate the parts. And all that just to do printouts on a dot matrix printer, laser printers still being in the drawing board stage. Ah, the good old days…
I resisted switching to Sibelius for years, for the same reason you did — too many hours, macros, etc. invested in Finale. But when Sibelius came out with the Magnetic Layout thing and all the Hollywood guys started blogging about how it cut their production time in half, I switched, and it was a good move. It’s still a great program; everyone is just worried about the fact that they haven’t had a single major feature upgrade since the outsourced the coding to the Ukraine or wherever it is. My personal feeling is that besides the actual value of Dorico, which is considerable, one of its biggest advantages in the market is that neither Sibelius’ nor Finale’s parent companies seem committed to their print software products.
And that’s why I (and so many others) have been eagerly awaiting Dorico. Having new hardware/software platforms to take advantage of, and of course the having the invaluable brains and experience Daniel and his team bring to the project from their previous backgrounds, including building Sibelius in the first place, building a whole new product in the 2013-17 time frame is way more advanced than doing the same thing in the 1985-90 time frame.
And of course the really brilliant approach to making it all as easy as possible—Dorico had me with that create-dotted=eighths-and-sixteenths-with-the-period-key thing.