Adobe accelerates Creative Cloud releases, augmenting subscription service

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As Adobe's Creative Cloud lineup of art and design applications gains prominence on the company's landscape, the quantity and pace of updates to Creative Suite 6 and related subscription-based products is gathering momentum. New features for subscription products and services, in the pipeline throughout the summer, are being prepped for public release over the next few weeks.

In addition to Adobe's entire slate of Creative Suite 6 applications for print, Web, and video pros, Creative Cloud offers subscription-only software such as Edge, an HTML 5 animation program; Muse, a visual website development tool; Business Catalyst, a content management system and Web host that works with Muse; TypeKit, which provides Web fonts for site creation; Adobe Creative Cloud Connection for syncing and storing files; 20GB of online space to sync and access content from Creative Cloud; and Adobe's Touch suite of mobile apps.

"We are really focused on this roadmap, and there's a lot of stuff coming up over the next six weeks," said Scott Morris, senior director of product marketing at Adobe.

Web publishing

Scheduled to roll out on Monday at 9:00 p.m. Pacific time, is a new preview version of Adobe Edge, which will be renamed Edge Animate. Adobe’s new motion and interaction design tool lets creative pros build Flash-style animated Web content using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. This seventh and last beta before its commercial release includes resizable layouts to adapt to different screen sizes, rulers and guides, shadow effects, timeline and keyframe improvements, and enhanced text features, among other improvements. A complete list of Edge Animate features are posted on Adobe’s website. Edge Animate 1.0 will ship in September.

Adobe Muse, the subscription-based visual Web design program that works with Adobe’s Business Catalyst hosting service, will offer new support for contact forms in an update that will go live at the same time as the Edge beta. Muse designers will no longer have to rely on third-party contact forms for their site design. Instead, the new Muse update lets designers create Web forms forms within the program. According to Adobe, this Muse update also represents, “the beginning of a longer-term effort to bring more extensive content management capabilities to Adobe Muse users through tighter integration with Adobe’s hosting solution, Adobe Business Catalyst.”

In addition, the new version of Muse will let designers link to downloadable files within a website so that they can easily link to any type of file—such as PDF, ZIP, DMG—for viewers to download. Designers can now also add HTML5 animations created with Adobe Edge Animate into their Muse sites.

Performance improvements in this release include improved HTML5 and CSS3 output and new auto-generated sitemaps for search engine optimization for faster load times and improved visibility on search engines like Google. Plus, this version of Muse will be available in Japanese.

All new features are automatically available free to standalone Adobe Muse subscribers and Adobe Creative Cloud members. More information about Muse is available on Adobe’s website.

New Adobe Muse contact form.

Introducing Creative Suite 7 updates

Over the next two months, Adobe plans a number of additional relases and updates for Creative Cloud apps and the debut of CS7 features for Creative Suite 6 cloud subscribers. Last week, an Adobe blog referred to the new Illustrator CS6 file packager. That is an early example of the planned integration of CS7 features, offered in advance exclusively to Creative Cloud subscribers. There's more where that came from, for Illustrator and other apps, Adobe says. New CS7 features that will be incorporated into Dreamweaver Creative Cloud subscriptions are also planned for release soon, and others are on the horizon.

While Creative Cloud subscribers will get early access to some new features planned for CS7, they will not get the entire slate of new CS7 features before CS7's release. In light of Adobe's new yearly upgrade cycle for all Creative Suite apps, CS7 is expected to be released sometime during the first half of 2013. At that time all users, whether they are subscribers to Creative Cloud or holders of traditional perpetual licenses, will get the same upgrade. "Subscribers will get a piece of CS7 beforehand, but they won't get the whole of CS7 until CS7 is released," Morris said.

iOS app updates

In September, on a date yet to be announced, Adobe will also release its long-awaited Digital Publishing Suite single edition, which will facilitate the creation of iOS apps directly from InDesign CS6, to be sold in the Apple App Store.

While most of the Adobe Touch applications are now available for iOS, two holdouts will be completely reconfigured, Morris says.

Kuler, a color coordination and theme creation utility that had previously been accessed from Photoshop, and Debut, a presentation and collaboration app already available for Android, are undergoing significant changes. Kuler, designed for graphic artists, lets users create and share themes via their tablet and the cloud. When Adobe is finished with the new Kuler, it will not be an iPad app, "but something more interesting," Morris said. Debut, an interactive communication and demonstration app for designers, will look a lot different than it does as an Android app.

There's no further details yet on what those upgrades will consist of or when those app updates will be released.

Worldwide tour

Finally, Adobe is kicking off a Create the Web tour, a series of live events focusing on HTML5 that will touch down in four cities around the globe, starting next month. The San Francisco event will be streamed live from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 24. The tour will then proceed to London on October 2, Tokyo on October 9, and Sydney on October 11. Registration begins on August 20 from Adobe's website. "These events will be used to launch a bunch of new stuff from Adobe around HTML5—meaning we'll be giving sneak peeks of tools under development, talking about upcoming HTML5 technology, and sharing the technology roadmap to support HTML5 across the board via many tools and technologies and services that Adobe will be delivering over the next few months," Morris said.

Adobe Creative Cloud, regularly $50 per month for individuals, has been available since launch at a discounted price of $30 per month (for a year's subscription) to owners of previous Creative Suite packages. But the deadline for signing up for a year's subscription to Creative Cloud for that discounted price will end on August 31.

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