Dev

Adobe launches a developer’s version of Creative Suite

Today, Adobe is unveiling Edge, a suite of tools for developing and designing modern web and mobile apps and sites.

Basically, Adobe’s been noting the trend of overlap between the design and development professions and between mobile and web work. Edge brings these folks task-focused tools for creating mobile-ready content and mobile apps, with a strong focus on HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, and increasing productivity.

“We’re building a tool that’s on a cutting edge space, where we’re looking at creating interactivity using web standards,” said Adobe product marketing director Heidi Voltmer. “The content is edgy, and also, we were out there on the edge of the development process … developing in public and inviting feedack.”


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The suite includes seven distinct new tools for the modern web or mobile designer/developer. Edge Animate lets you create interactive motion content based on web standards. Edge Inspect was previewed as Shadow; it lets developers and designers find and fix cross-platform and cross-device problems. Edge Web Fonts and Typekit will include hundreds of web fonts from Google, Adobe, and big-name type designers. PhoneGap Build is officially launching today; the service has been in public beta for a while. Build lets devs package mobile apps in the cloud and is used by the likes of Wikipedia, Zynga, BBC, and Salesforce.

Brackets and Edge Code are the big piece for developers. Brackets is Adobe’s open-source code editor, and Code is the company’s distro of the editor. Code, said Voltmer, “is not a full development environment; it’s just focused on the coding as a lightweight tool. … We think of this as a modern code editor, better than a standard text editor. It really understands HTML, JS, and CSS.” Brackets is a code editor for the web and is already open-sourced on GitHub for your downloading and forking pleasure.

(Side note: Adobe has launched a new typeface along with its code editor. Not only is Source Code Pro designed for legibility — duh. It’s also designed specifically for developers and anyone else working in code, with distinctive characters for the capital letter I, the lowercase l, and the number 1. You’re welcome.)

“A lot of the younger developers are interested in the tools that come from that open source space,” said Voltmer. “Brackets is one of the key ones. … We launched Edge back in May, and we started recruiting external contributors for the codebase. Also, the underlying project for PhoneGap is Cordova, which is in one of the phases for the Apache software foundation.”

Edge Reflow is Adobe’s new responsive design tool for the panoply of modern connected devices. Today we’re only getting a sneak peek at Reflow; Voltmer said Adobe isn’t talking release dates yet.

Several bits and pieces of Edge have been available as beta products or trials, and Adobe has built with ample community input, Voltmer said. A big part of the community’s involvement in Edge’s creation has been the fluidity with which creative and technical folks switch between and take on one another’s roles these days, at least to some extent.

“We wanted to make sure our product addressed that change,” said Voltmer. “Our customers will pick one [role, either developer or designer] … But they talk about their tools, and they say, ‘I’ll use a little code,’ or ‘I care what the user experience looks like.’ They’ll pick one name for themselves, but behind that there’s a whole bunch of skills they will pursue.”

We asked Voltmer what the incentive would be for devs and designers to adopt the new suite; she responded that Edge was designed to be a mix-and-match kind of suite, not a full, matchy-matchy set.

“A lot of the tools we offer with Edge can be used in existing toolsets,” she said. “Also, we’re making so many of them available as previews, and some will continue to be free. You can be building one app at a time, and you can really see if this is the tool you want to invest in without making a monetary commitment.”

The Edge software will be available through Adobe’s Creative Cloud, which has tiers for different levels of access. The free Starter Plan includes an introductory offer for Animate, one connected device for Inspect, one private app for PhoneGap Build, one site and two fonts for Typekit, and full access to Code and Web Fonts. Complete membership is $50 per month for unlimited devices in Inspect, 25 apps in Build, and unlimited fonts in Typekit. Standalone subscriptions at a rate of $9.99 per month for Inspect, Build, and Typekit.

While some parts of the Edge suite will run in the browser, Animate, Code, and parts of Inspect will be downloaded onto your machine. “In the foreseeable future there will be a little bit of both [downloaded and cloud-based software],” said Voltmer, “but we’re certainly looking at what makes sense to run in the cloud. We don’t want to make something run in the browser just because.”

Adobe’s Edge-focused Create the Web event is going on all day today in San Francisco; we’ll be on the scene to chat with Adobe folks, the software they’re building, and how it’s being used.

Top image courtesy of AISPIX by Image Source, Shutterstock


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