Adobe: What’s New and What’s Not

I had the opportunity to learn more about what Adobe is releasing this week at Adobe MAX. One of the things I like best is the new Capture CC app for iOS. I have used the older capture apps like Shape CC and Brush CC, but it’s nice to have all of them in one place.

Capture CC
Brushes, shapes, and colors all in one app

Adobe Capture CC combines four previous apps in one: Shape, Brush, Color and Hue. This makes it so much easier to create custom shapes and vector line drawings from items in your environment. You can also create custom brushes and lines to decorate your sites. Color and hue help you to grab colors and then apply them as a palette. I spent several hours just taking random shots of my desk and the plants outside my office to create some silly drawings and brushes. I even came up with a monochromatic color scheme based on the color of my desk and some ink that spilled on it.

Photoshop and Lightroom

I’ve been playing a bit with the Photoshop CC artboards. These are really interesting, but I’m not sure I understand them yet. I do like the way you can create multiple views of the same document all in the same Photoshop document. So I can create a small, medium, and large mockup of a web page and keep them all together.

I have also started using Lightroom CC to attempt to put some order to my photos. This is taking a lot of time, and I think I’ll be working on it for years, but it does make me feel better to think that I’m getting my photos categorized and thus more usable.

There are other updates to these apps, but I haven’t really used them much because I was busy playing with other new toys.

My Dreamweaver and Muse Doubts

At Adobe’s MAX keynote this week they talked about the idea of “to code or not to code.” The speaker said that Adobe doesn’t believe that there is a right or a wrong answer to this question. I must say that I am skeptical of this.

Adobe had a great coding product for web designers (do any of you even remember Homesite?), and instead of developing it they killed it. They still have and promote Dreamweaver, but it is getting older and older feeling without any significant upgrade in how it works or feels. Instead, they have added a few new, minor feature upgrades. Bootstrap templates—featuring Bootstrap 3—doesn’t impress me a lot. And if they follow with their past iterations, it will be difficult or impossible to customize Dreamweaver with Bootstrap 4 updates, even though that version is due to be released any day now.

Bootstrap 4 is coming
Bootstrap 4 is coming, Aww yeah!

But I can’t complain about Bootstrap too much, after all, my book is about version 3, and version 4 is coming, so I should cut them some slack. Then the speaker tells me, as a coder, that “[I’m] gonna love the new 64-bit version of Dreamweaver.” Um. No. Okay, yes I would like to see a 64-bit version of Dreamweaver, but I’ve been waiting since Snow Leopard came out! For those without a Macintosh, that’s 2009. Six years is a long time to wait for something that you have found on tablets since 2013 and on Macs since, as I said, 2009!

Apparently the way Dreamweaver looks is considered innovative and new, but it doesn’t look all that different to my copy of Macromedia Dreamweaver 4. Part of me then thinks, sure don’t mess with something that’s working. But I’ve had the opportunity to work with modern web editors like Coda and Pinegrow and Dreamweaver is severely lacking compared to them. Coda is far superior in how it handles databases, connecting to Git and other source control systems, you can even edit directly on the server!

Coda Creating a New Site
Panic Coda

Pinegrow offers a very easy to read and understand visual CSS and DOM viewer, responsive design features, as well as support for Bootstrap, Foundation, AngularJS and WordPress right inside their visual editor. Yes, Dreamweaver CC 2015 has Live View, but that was interesting four years ago, not now.

Edit responsively in Pinegrow
Pinegrow

The MAX keynote said that “millions of websites have been created in Adobe Muse.” But my question is this: how many tens or even hundreds of millions of websites have been created with Dreamweaver? And yet, instead of crowing about how popular it is or giving it some big useful updates, Dreamweaver gets one minute of the keynote (maybe one and a half minutes) and the big news is 64-bit, which it should have had five years ago. Instead, the web design tool Adobe wants us all to focus on is Muse.

The big news in Muse is that you can now create responsive websites in it. Okay, that’s great. Adobe would probably argue that Muse is their product that competes with Pinegrow and Dreamweaver competes with Coda. But I would argue that if that’s the case, neither does so very well. I use both Coda and Pinegrow and I like them both. And in both of them I can preview my sites and edit the HTML code. Granted, I can’t grab an object and move it around in Coda, and the code editor is a bit low-fi in Pinegrow, but they both do all the things that Muse and Dreamweaver do, and they do them better. The MAX speaker states that “never before has there been a custom free-form design tool that would allow you to output a responsive website.” Um, WRONG! I was using Macaw in January 2014. That’s almost two years ago now. I’ve been using Pinegrow for almost a year now too. So that’s two software programs that do “custom, free-form” designs to generate a responsive website. Muse was definitely not the first, and it’s not even the best. It’s just another one. Do your homework, Adobe!

Project Comet – or How Adobe Psychs Me Out… Again

One thing you’re going to hear more and more about if you follow Adobe news is Project Comet. Adobe wants to create an end-to-end project development platform, and Project Comet seems to be how they’re going to do it. The idea is that instead of having an app for wireframing, another for visual design, a third for prototyping, and a fourth for previewing, you do it all in one system or tool—Project Comet.

It is a new desktop application to let UX and UI designers create and prototype their designs in the vector design environment. Some of the cool things they demoed included:

  • She created a results screen with one result, and then collected that result

    Project Comet Visual Repeat
    Repeating the results object in Project Comet
  • You can then adjust the margins and padding for all the results by grabbing and dragging again.
  • Your prototypes don’t have to have blank spaces for images, you can drag images into shape elements and they will be non-destructively resized, cropped, and masked to fit in the shape.
  • She just dragged the images straight from Finder (Windows explorer for you MS types) into Comet and they scaled and masked and so on like magic.
  • She also the view to show her full artboard layout with hundreds of artboards, and Comet was very fast, even with all those assets.

I’m just afraid that it’s going to be like some of the previous things Adobe has demoed—they look great in the demo and then are hard to get to work with real-world scenarios. Or it will only create prototypes, and we won’t be able to design full apps or websites with it. Fingers crossed! Because Comet looks really cool! I could use it right now. But I have to wait for the public preview coming “early next year.” So, May or June? 😉 You can find out more about Comet from Adobe and even sign up to get email notifications. I have.

So even though I’m still disappointed at the lack of any substantive change or update to Dreamweaver, I am looking forward to Comet and hoping that I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

No More Napkins

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve grabbed a napkin or piece of scrap paper and scribbled out a mockup for a design idea I have. I have done this with clients, for my own sites, even for ideas that come to me at midnight. But now Adobe has released an app that lets me scribble my ideas on my iPad and they appear as a tidy mockup like magic. And it even pastes in placeholder text without my needing to.

I had the opportunity to play with the new comp designer from Adobe, Adobe Comp CC, and it’s a lot of fun, but what I found most enjoyable was how easy it was to draft a quick mockup. And instead of looking like horrible stick-figure sketches, Adobe Comp converts them into nice, sharp mockups. I can even include my own images that I’ve uploaded to the Adobe cloud.

But I find Comp hard to explain in writing, so I’ve created this video for you to see what I mean.