Accordion Al - image by Ivy, age 10

Business in Vancouver

Canadian Freelance Union- CEP

Worldwide mobile computing boom accelerates Adobe update schedule

by  Alan Zisman (c) 2011 First published in Business in Vancouver May 31-June 6, 2011 issue #1127 High Tech Office column

Every eighteen months for much of the past decade Adobe has released a new version of its Creative Suite – bundling pro-level tools like Photoshop and Flash in a variety of packages aimed at graphics, video, and web development design professionals.

Starting this spring with its new release of CS 5.5 coming just twelve months after the previous version, Adobe has picked up the pace, promising updated versions every year (and a major revision every second year) – a response to the explosion of mobile and tablet devices.

These new devices have posed a problem for designers needing to make content accessible in multiple sizes for print and online for computers, smartphones, and tablets. And they’ve posed a problem for Adobe given its commitment to Flash as a standard for delivering multimedia content online. Apple has refused to allow Flash on its iPhones and iPads, while performance and battery life on mobile devices that do support Flash have been mediocre at best.

Adobe hasn’t abandoned Flash in its new release. CS 5.5’s Flash Builder can be used to create apps for the 131 smartphone models that Adobe expects will offer Flash support this year. But Adobe is also offering tools for developers needing to work with Flash alternatives.

CS 5.5’s Dreamweaver will let web developers continue to work with Flash or to move their work to platforms like HTML 5 and jQuery supported on iPhones and iPads.

Other new features also aim to help developers cope with the increased popularity of mobile devices. The new version of Dreamweaver, for instance, supports CSS3 formatting, allowing the creation of web sites that adapt to multiple screen sizes. Users can simultaneously view a web page as it would appear on different devices.

The new InDesign CS 5.5 allows page designers to output more sophisticated Epub-format e-books and produce documents with images that automatically resize to fit different screens. InDesign’s Folio Producer offers tools for the production of digital magazine editions aimed at tablet users.

To show off CS 5.5’s new Photoshop Touch Software Development Kit – used to build tablet or smartphone apps that interact with Photoshop, Adobe released a trio of iPad apps. Color Lava lets Photoshop owners use an iPad to ‘mix’ colours and create custom Photoshop colour schemes. Nav lets an iPad act as a control panel for Photoshop tools and documents. Eazel can be used to ‘fingerpaint’ on the iPad, optionally exporting artwork for fine-tuning in Photoshop.

CS 5.5 does not include a new version of Photoshop, however, just a modest update to the previous CS 5 version to allow it to work with the new touch apps – this update is also downloadable for Photoshop CS 5 users.

As with previous Creative Suite versions, the new CS 5.5 applications can be purchased individually, bundled into collections targeting developers primarily working in print, web, or video, or in the $2600 Master Collection for all of them. Upgrade pricing is available for current CS users.

New this time around, though not really a feature – Subscription Editions. While many professional graphics shops will continue to purchase their preferred version of Adobe’s suite, renting the software on a monthly basis can make sense for some users – those who want a chance to try it before committing to an expensive purchase, for instance, or for design firms needing additional licenses for temporary staff hired on for specific projects.

Monthly subscription costs range from $49 for Photoshop alone, $139 for the Design Premium suite, to $195 for the Master Collection; prices are discounted (about 30%) with one-year contracts.
Subscribing for two years would be more expensive than paying upgrade prices for every second annual version, but would have the advantage of always providing the most recent version.

Powered by NetNation- www.netnation.com

Search WWW Search www.zisman.ca