Device-agnosticism in the virtualised creative workspace

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As previously reported on Cloud Pro, this week sees the launch of the Adobe Creative Cloud, a term the company is using to describe the monthly or yearly subscription-based model of pricing through which it will supply its flagship Creative Suite line as it now moves to its version six (CS6) release.

While doing away with boxed off-the-shelf software and moving to web-based download options is hardly cloud computing in its purist sense, this new licence rental option will at least provide customers with updates to products including Photoshop and InDesign before they are released to “regular purchasers” of its software.

Given the disconnect that typically ensues between users of different versions of the Adobe Creative Suite total product line and its 14 individual applications, any further fragmentation of this kind does not perhaps necessarily appear to be a positive user development, despite the option to export to .IDML file extensions across two different versions of InDesign for example.

But Adobe’s cloud advantage strategy is not essentially built around its products’ delivery mechanisms; Creative Cloud membership includes up to 20GB of cloud storage and the suite’s new raison d'être hinges around its ability to connect the CS6 desktop tools with Adobe’s Touch Apps tablet device versions.

Adobe Touch Apps are said to bring "professional-level creativity" to tablet devices for image editing, idea generation (or “ideation” if you can manage the term), sketching, mood board creation, website and mobile app prototyping and the presentation of finished work.

So this is a case of Adobe tools delivered from the cloud and used in the cloud. This results in work that is saved in the cloud and then shared with other design professionals, still in the cloud. The new Adobe Creative Cloud Connection application is then on hand to enable the syncing of files across mobile devices and desktop.

You can almost hear Adobe dying to tell us that true freeform design creativity should be empowered everywhere in a “device and environment agnostic” kind of a way. They came pretty close to be honest, CEO Shantanu Narayen is on the record saying, “Wherever and whenever inspiration strikes, Adobe will be there to help capture, refine and publish your ideas.”

Adobe’s strategy to virtualise the creative workspace is redolent of work being carried out by presentation layer GUI specialist Infragistics. Speaking exclusively to Cloud Pro this week, CEO and founder Dean Guida explained that, “Over the next five years you can expect user interfaces to become more blended into the background as you use the same applications at your desktop, on your mobile device or even in your car.”

Infragistics’ Guida agrees that moves afoot by open standards focused cloud computing bodies such as OpenStack and CloudStack will ultimately tie in with a more open approach to user interfaces that are in and of themselves more portable and interoperable as users switch between device form factors.

Equally, Adobe is trying to push cloud based content interoperability from the back end with its Creative Cloud publishing services, which the company says will include the ability to publish apps, magazines and catalogues to iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

This may not be case of pure device or platform agnosticism. After all, Adobe has had its own gods and monsters, which it has variously bowed to from Flash to iOS. But if only the truly devout and penitent man may pass onward from here, then make sure he believeth in the almighty power of HTML5. The lesson here endeth.