Adobe embraces software as a service, with new CC apps
At Adobe Max, Adobe announced the end of Creative Suite. The company's professional apps will now live solely in the cloud as Creative Cloud. CS6 will remain on sale for now, but will no longer be developed beyond security updates and major bug fixes. Adobe's new line-up will debut on June 17.
David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager of digital media at Adobe, summed up the new direction and the company's current vision: “Creative Cloud brings together everything you need to create your best work. We’re delivering incredible new versions of our desktop tools, services that take publishing content to the next level and we’re making it easier than ever for creatives to collaborate and share their work worldwide.”
From a web design standpoint, Adobe said there will be significant updates to its Edge tools, with Animate CC enabling you to “animate elements along fully customisable, fine-grain motion paths for highly expressive movements”.
A new workflow from Photoshop CC to Edge Reflow CC will “enable creatives to build web designs in Photoshop that can easily be turned into responsive web sites”. Additionally, Dreamweaver users will get various updates and Flash Pro CC will have its HTML5 support bolstered.Bang goes Fireworks
However, Fireworks CS6 will not be updated. Adobe explained this was due to increasing overlap with its other tools and a shift in focus to building smaller, more modular and focused apps for web design. The app will remain part of Creative Cloud and receive security updates, but we'd say now’s the time to start looking for an alternative. (There is a petition asking Adobe to open source the app, but we suspect that’s being a touch optimistic.)
Experience designer Aral Balkan told .net that Adobe’s plans made sense: “It’s the only thing the company could do at this point. Its suite would not be competitive going forward. There are a lot of competitors, and although none are ready to take over the throne, they’re competing at a very different price bracket.”
When specifically considering the web, Balkan thought there’s been a major shift to individual, smaller tools that perform specific tasks well: “If nothing else, we’re seeing more of an understanding it’s not these big suites that determine what we can do. We now have an overabundance of tools, and people are catching on it’s often better to have more tools that are each focused.”
On the Edge suite being aimed in precisely that area, he remarked: “But Adobe’s never been good at that. Adobe doesn't get user experience.”
On the pricing structure, Adobe’s plans aligned with Balkan’s way of thinking: “By its very nature, software is either a continuous living thing or a dead thing. In the past, we were packaging these dead things and you’d inject a shot of life into them and package up the next version. But the internet dealt with distribution, making it seamless, easy and cheap, which made it far more obvious that software was really always a service.”
Balkan argued users don’t care about version numbers, but only whether their software is current or outdated, and that the ‘software as a service’ model could be freeing for Adobe. “It will make it easier for the company to start concentrating on the user experience of its products, because it’ll become more and more apparent that’s a differentiating factor. User experience and usability are even more important when you have continuously updated software," he added.