Editor’s note: As design professionals are forced into web-related skill sets and jobs, Adobe is forced to make that transition along with them. The company has rolled out a mini-suite of software for web and responsive design. Still, developers have a hard time trusting some of these tools. This op-ed from an Adobe employee was written in response to our recently published report on cloud-based developer tools and addresses many of the issues developers noted in the report.
Many developers and designers equate Adobe’s web work with the tools they learned in school years ago, like Dreamweaver CC and Flash CC. Although those tools are key to workflows today, the web and the developers that shape it have ever-changing needs to fit a rapidly evolving ecosystem, and Adobe has developed many new tools to suit those needs.
Adobe’s direction is close to my heart. While at Sun Microsystems, I worked on standards (such as Scalable Vector Graphics, SVG) and open source projects (such as Apache Batik), which I am passionate about. My personal philosophy is that everybody, including businesses, benefits from flourishing open web standards and from open development processes. I am happy to see that Adobe is continuing to embrace that approach, for its contributions to the web and for its Edge tools and services.
Adobe has a long history of being involved on the web and its progress. With Flash, Adobe led the vision of a more creative online creative surface. With SVG, Adobe initiated creative vector graphics for the web. Those are now becoming critical in a world of high resolution devices.
Today’s world is different than it was even a few years ago. The web platform has become a lot more expressive and powerful. It is becoming even more so with technologies such as WebGL, CSS filter effects, CSS Regions, and CSS Shapes, ECMA Script v6, to name a few. Workflows for capturing design intent and creating production web code are also becoming more complex. Adobe realizes this with targeted tools (such as Edge Code or Edge Reflow). Adobe is making content central to the developer workflows and is using a lean development process to validate and iterate on the tools to incorporate feedback quickly.
Indeed, the web has become the platform for creative expression. Look at what work that Rachel Nabors does with CSS animation, the use of SVG and animation on the Playground Inc. website or the new “Hackery, Math & Design” main page design by Steven Wittens to convince yourself that creativity is coming to the web. Big time.
Creating that great content requires great tools and services. We believe that these tools should follow four principles, which we call the “Edge Tools & Services Principles”. Our tools and services should:
- Be focused. They should be great at a specific task, while working well with other tools, both our own and others.
- Stay up to date with evolving web standards.
- Framework agnostic. Let designers and developers choose which framework to use. Tools shouldn’t dictate which framework you have to use.
At Adobe, we are crafting the Edge Tools & Services with these principles in mind. They provide a comprehensive toolbox of the services needed by Web designers and developers throughout the creative process.
These are available through the Adobe Creative Cloud, fulfilling our promise to continuously deliver value to Creative Cloud customers. In combination with the entire Adobe toolset, they represent the best tools in the world to create beautiful mobile-ready content and apps.
Innovation for the web takes time and is a conversation. Our world is changing from one in which companies craft a product and take it to market to one in which everyone from consumers to users to developers expect rapid iteration and ongoing interaction and improvements from their tools. We’re aiming to meet those new needs.
In particular, we believe that tooling should come in many forms and be available on the desktop (such as Photoshop), on Mobile (such as Adobe Ideas) and hosted on the web (such as PhoneGap Build). Depending on the task at hand, users should have access to the most appropriate tool in their environment.
I am excited to participate in this effort at Adobe because every day, I am reminded about how much this company understands design and well crafted content. I am excited because I believe Adobe has the right technology and the right vision for a new generation of creative tools for designers and developers.
Vincent Hardy is Director of Engineering for the Web Platform Group at Adobe. Vincent and his group work on on web standards, open source web contributions such as theApache Cordova project, the WebKit project and the Chromium Embedded Framework component that provides a ‘Web Design Surface’ to several Adobe tools. In the recent past, Vincent has been working with the CSS working group, the FX task force and the SVG working group, focusing on CSS Filter Effects, CSS regions, CSS exclusions, and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).
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