The keynotes both today and yesterday here at Adobe's MAX Conference have focused a lot on how the Adobe tools and the Macromedia tools are being combined to make the designer and developer workflow more efficient. When the two companies first got together, one of the main thing people wondered was how the two product suites would play together. 56% of Adobe's 1.8 billion dollars in revenue comes from the creative solutions segment and if they can make those tools work well with each other, that can be a growth engine for them.
56% of Adobe's 1.8 billion dollars in revenue comes from the creative solutions segment and if they can make those tools work well with each other, that can be a growth engine for them. I've talked before about how important I think the designer/developer workflow is. Microsoft is heavily pushing into the designer world and trying to make it easy for designers to interface with their large developer community. Until this week, I believed that Adobe was falling behind a bit. But after seeing what they have in store, I think Adobe is making huge gains and streamlining the workflow across all of their products in addition to making it easy to transition to mobile devices and cross platform deployments.
The first instance of this is how well Photoshop works with traditional Macromedia products. Photoshop assets and layers are now fully transferable to Fireworks and how those assets can be moved into Dreamweaver which creates a web page based on those original Photoshop layers but optimized for the web. This means it is going to be very easy for Photoshop gurus to work with the web designers using Dreamweaver and Fireworks.
The two most important products are also going to play very well together. Mike Downey and Steve Kilisky demoed the workflow between Photoshop and Flash. Flash will be able to import .PSD files (the Photoshop format) complete with all of the layers that can then be manipulated in Flash. The kicker for web developers? The effects that your designers add in Photoshop are converted to native Flash filters which will cut down on file size and streamline your Flash application. It not only makes it easy for designers to work with Flash developers, but it automates some of the performance tweaking.
Flash has also helped revolutionize video on the web by making it painless for users. Adobe has a long history of great video editing tools and those tools now not only will support Flash Video files (as you would expect) but also can be taken into Flash and manipulated in the Flash IDE to add cue points and tie it into other parts of your Flash application.
With the workflow Adobe has developed for building mobile, video and cross-platform content there we will see some powerful user experienceAnother example of this was what I think may be the most important demo of the conference. Adobe Illustrator is going to become the defacto way to add richness to Flex applications. Sho Kuwamoto gave a demo in which Illustrator files and buttons were quickly and easily integrated into Flex. The CSS was created and the Flex application was totally reskinned based on the design in Illustrator. Having designers with the ability to leverage their Illustrator knowledge in Flex is going to be great for Rich Internet Applications.
Today the big deal was the mobile world. Again Photoshop was a prominent player. Photoshop has the ability to save UI images and assets to be used on mobile devices. From within Photoshop you can see what your UI will look like on a number of devices and you can resize and manipulate as needed. Throw that back to Flash and you have a big head start on your mobile development.
There are some exciting things in store for designers and developers from Adobe. With the workflow they have developed for building mobile, video and cross-platform content there we will see some powerful user experiences. I think the designer/developer workflow battle is going to be great for everyone and it will undoubtedly take the web to a new level.