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Monday, October 10, 2011

Adobe Max 2011

Adobe Max 2011 is the annual Adobe conference geared towards software developers involved with  Adobe consumer and professional products. These days however, it is also a venue for key Adobe product announcements and business collaboration.  It was held in the Los Angeles Convention Center from October 1st thru the 5th.  My colleague, Dave Smith, attended and prepared the highlights report below.  Thank you Dave !!

Adobe is making big strides these days with authoring and publishing tools for tablets (ala Apple iPad) and Dave has covered alot of that space below.  As an aside, I'm curious if and how Adobe will take advantage of Apples lapse in the professional video editing market (Final Cut X) with further advances in their Adobe Premiere Pro editing software.  We'll keep our eye on video developments, but in the meantime for those who rely on Adobe products or simply enjoy using them, please read Dave's report below:

Adobe Creative Cloud
There were a number of announcements made during the keynote, starting with the “Adobe Creative Cloud” in parallel with a new set of “Adobe Touch Apps” for content creation on tablet devices. These apps bring professional-level creativity to millions of tablet users – both consumers and professionals – and utilize hosted cloud-based services to share files, view them across devices or transfer work into various Adobe software for further refinement. Collaboration was a big focus on Adobe’s move to expand their toolset into a cloud-based framework. When the product rolls out in 2012 it will include 20GB of cloud storage for each user.
"Adobe Creative Cloud reinvents creative expression by enabling a new generation of services for creativity and publishing, that embrace touch interaction to re-imagine how individuals interact with creative tools and build deeper social connections between creatives around the world,” said Kevin Lynch, chief technology officer at Adobe. "The move to the Creative Cloud is a major component in the transformation of Adobe.”

Adobe Creative Cloud will include the following:
      Applications – Access to the portfolio of Adobe Creative Suite tools as well as the six newly announced Adobe Touch Apps. The offering will include industry-leading desktop tools such as Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, After Effects and innovative new tools such as Adobe Edge and Muse.
      Services – Key Adobe Digital Publishing Suite technologies, for delivering interactive publications on tablets; a tier of Adobe Business Catalyst, for building and managing websites; and new design services, such as the ability to use cloud-based fonts for website design, via technology acquired by Adobe through its newly announced acquisition of Typekit Inc.
      Community – Capabilities that enable users to present and share their work and ideas with peers around the world and a forum for feedback and inspiration that will foster connections between creative people.  Adobe Creative Cloud will become a focal point during the creative process.

Adobe Touch Apps
“Adobe Touch Apps deliver high-impact creative expression to anyone who has a tablet,” said Kevin Lynch, chief technology officer, Adobe. “With Adobe imaging magic coming to tablet devices, new apps like Photoshop Touch will open your mind about the potential of the touch interface for creativity and demonstrate that tablets are an essential part of anyone’s creative arsenal.”
Anticipating the way people are integrating tablets into their everyday lives, the new family of Adobe Touch Apps will allow users to create content on tablet devices freeing them from the desktop or laptop computer. The new Adobe Touch Apps include:
         Adobe Collage A collaboration tool which lets creative types mix images, text and graphics and immediately transfer to the cloud, providing easy access in Photoshop or sharing with others. Features include importing of images, customizable pen types for drawing, adding text, and applying color themes. The canvas grows automatically to accommodate the space needed as assets are added.
         Adobe Debut allows the presentation of design ideas to, well virtually anywhere. The app opens tablet-compatible versions of Creative Suite files for convenient viewing on the tablet, including Photoshop layers and Illustrator art boards. Feedback can be provided using a markup pen tool to add annotations on top of the work.
         Adobe Ideas is a vector-based drawing tool. Using a stylus or finger, strokes appear smooth at any zoom level. Starting with a blank canvas, users can choose color themes, and pull in tablet-compatible image files that can be controlled as separate layers. Finished results are easily accessed in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop via their cloud integration.
         Adobe Kuler makes it easy to generate color themes which can be exported as color swatches for Adobe Creative Suite projects. Social engagement in the community is enhanced by rating and commenting on themes.
         Adobe Photoshop Touch contains core Photoshop features. With simple finger gestures, users can combine multiple photos into layered images, make popular edits and apply professional effects. The tablet-exclusive Scribble Selection Tool allows users to easily extract objects in an image by simply scribbling on what to keep and then what to remove. Additionally, the app helps users quickly find images, share creations, and view comments through integration with Facebook and Google Search. Using the syncing capabilities that are a component of Adobe Creative Cloud, files can be opened in Adobe Photoshop.
         Adobe Proto enables the development of interactive wireframes and prototypes for websites and mobile apps on a tablet. Ideas are communicated and shared with teams and clients using a touch-based interface. Gestures quickly express a design concept, explain website structure or demonstrate interactivity. The wireframe or prototype then can be exported as industry standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and shared in popular browsers for immediate review and approval.
Adobe Touch Apps build on the launch of Adobe Carousel, which provides access to your entire photo library across your tablets, smartphones and desktops.
Digital Publishing Suite — Single Edition
Now small design studios and freelance designers can leverage Adobe’s DPS and publish their content to the iPad for a one-time fee of $395.

Other Announcements
Adobe has acquired Typekit, a service that allows you to choose from, and easily incorporate, hundreds of fonts into your web projects. This service will be included in Adobe Creative Cloud. This could add significant design enhancements to web sites and digital publications.

Adobe announced their plans to acquire PhoneGap, a development platform which lets you build mobile applications in standard web technologies yet leverage access to native APIs across various devices and platforms.

Adobe also announced that the WoodWing publishing system would be using the DPS platform going forward (to date Woodwing has developed it’s own method for publishing content to tablet devices). WoodWing will integrate their workflows and standardize on Adobe’s DPS tools and also become a reseller for Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.


Adobe has been busy in the HTML space -- writing some specs for “CSS Regions” and “Exclusions” which they have proposed to the WSC, as well as contributing code to the WebKit browser engine which is used in Safari and Chrome:

Key highlights of CSS Regions and Exclusions include:

          Story threading — allows content to flow in multiple disjointed boxes expressed in CSS and HTML, making it possible to express more complex, magazine-style threaded layouts, including pull quotes and sidebars.
          Region styling — allows content to be styled based on the region it flows into. For example, the first few lines that fit into the first region of an article may be displayed with a different color or font, or headers flowing in a particular region may have a different background color or size. Region styling is not currently implemented in the CSS Regions prototype.
          Arbitrary content shapes and exclusions — allows content to fit into arbitrary shapes (not just rectangular boxes) or to flow around complex shapes.


The new releases of Adobe Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3 enable the next generation of immersive application experiences for gaming, rich media, and data-driven apps. There were several demos of advances in rendering which allow rich gaming experiences which were previously confined to the console now moving to the browser.

Adobe AIR
Native extensions for Adobe AIR provide developers with easy access to device-specific libraries and features. Upcoming Flex 4.6 and Flash Builder 4.6 releases will provide new components, access to the latest platform and device capabilities, and native install experiences.

Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform (ADEP)
ADEP software (formerly Adobe LiveCycle and CRX) is a “composite content application” platform. Much of the underlying technology is not new, but has been assembled in a collection of components which together form the building blocks which can be assembled in various ways based on the solution needed.

One of the key components is CRX which is an object-based data store and content repository based on the JCR 2.0 specs. Combined with CQ5, which contains a workflow engine, this platform offers a robust and extensible solution to many document management and publishing needs. The platform includes the following standard interfaces:

         Java Content Repository API 1.0 (JSR-170) and 2.0 (JSR-283)
         Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS)
         WebDAV, including versioning, access control, and search
         Common Internet File System (CIFS) and Server Message Block (SMB) to act as network file share
         RESTful web API to build JavaScript-based content applications
         LDAP and JAAS for user provisioning
         Remoting with RMI and HTTP over DavEx
         Mounted content from third-party repositories via the native interface, for example, Microsoft SharePoint

Sneak Peeks
Adobe revealed several new technologies being developed in their labs -- these features may or may not ever be included in shipping software, but they give some insight into the talent at work within their engineering group.

      Local Layer Ordering: A Photoshop plug-in which provides a pointer to specify which part of an image should be layered above/below another portion of the image.

      DeBlurring: Another plug-in took blurred photos, calculated the motion of the camera movement and “reversed” the motion, resulting in a crystal clear photo.

      RubbaDub: A developer from Japan created a bit of syncing software that lets you re-voice someone, and then automatically syncs it with the actors lip movements.

      Another plugin took crowd-sourced video footage from various cell phones, YouTube, etc. and automatically synced up all the tracks, no matter the quality or length of the track.

Video Meshes: But the most impressive tool was something that let you manipulate the 3D space of a piece of video in Premiere. This allows you to, for example, change the focal length of the virtual lens, or even change where a character is placed in the shot.

      Monocle: A sophisticated profiling application which provides telemetry data for Flex applications, so developers can quickly identify performance issues with their applications.

      Liquid Layout: This comes from InDesign and will likely be part of the Digital Publishing Suite. It provides for a layout to automatically resize and reflow based on the size of the container, which could be a viable solution for publishing the same document to various tablet devices of different sizes.

       Smart Debugging (aka “How did my code get here?”). This is a debugging tool based on a recorded trace, letting you step backwards as well as forwards through code.

       Near-field Communications for AIR. This demo showed near-field communications for Adobe AIR for mobile. We are most familiar with this for applications like payments, where you wave your mobile at a sensor, but it has plenty of potential for other scenarios, such as looking up product details without having to scan a barcode.

      Pixel Nuggets: The idea of this one is to identify “like” images by analyzing a collection of photos and searching for commonality. For example, you could select a color or shape and it will find all images which match that color and/or shape. It does a pretty good job of recognizing faces as well.

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