CHICAGO—Adobe Systems showed off new and upcoming technology that will take the company into new areas and propel it further along in areas where it competes with key industry players.
At its Adobe Max 2007 conference here on Oct. 2, Adobe chief software architect Kevin Lynch, laid out the companies plans for delivering new technology across the board to better enable the companies core audience—designers and developers—to do their jobs.
“Whether its clients, servers, services or tooling, the Adobe team is just firing on all cylinders,” Lynch said.
One of the most well-received new technologies, based on audience applause and hoots, was Adobes new tool for designers that creates applications without writing any code. The technology is codenamed “Thermo.”
“We have some of the best tools in the world, but I think we can do even better,” Lynch said, and introduced Mark Anders and Steven Heintz to demonstrate Thermo.
“Designers dont work like developers, so we wanted to make it easier for designers to actually build applications and it makes it really intuitive for designers to build rich internet applications and do it without writing any code,” Anders said.
Thermo provides a seamless workflow for developers working with Flex Builder, Heintz said.
“Were trying to make it so that designers dont have to change the way they work—and that what they give developers makes more sense,” Anders said. Heintz said developers and designers can “expect something” next year regarding Thermo.
Click here to read more about how Adobe is tooling up to take on big-time competiton.
Meanwhile, also at Max, Lynch explained how Adobe is getting more into the SAAS (software as a service) arena, and the company highlighted four services it plans to bring to market.
The first is Scene7. Adobe acquired Scene7, an innovator in real-time rich media delivery services in May. At the time Adobe announced plans to offer and expand Scene7s interactive publishing services as it extends the online presence of its flagship creative technologies.
Doug Mack, who was Scene7s CEO and is now vice president of Creative Solutions Services at Adobe, took the stage to describe Adobes plans for the Scene7 service. He said Adobe is taking the Scene7 rich media publishing system and providing automation and enabling the creation of enhanced Website experiences.
Mack said Scene7 delivers a “dynamically rendered single master image.”
While the companys creative suite was the primary entry into the system, “we fill the gap between the content and the viewers,” which can be achieved through a simple URL call into the pages, Mack said.
Scene7 is able to share content via an “image portal” or a URL. And “its delivered as SAAS,” he said. “If you want to share content with others, its a simple URL call.
The Scene7 on-demand solution gives business users the control to upload, manage, enhance and publish dynamic rich content with minimal IT support. And the platform delivers unlimited variations from master imagery, Mack said. He then demonstrated the use of Scene7 on a Web site the company did for QVC.
Scene7 will be a hosted solution from Adobe and will take advantage of the AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) technology.
“This is going to revolutionize the way people interact with a Web site,” Mack said. “Beyond this were going to embrace the notion of cross media workflow —as in print, Web and video.”
Moreover, “next year well launch a Web self-service offering so people can go on and sign up and use the service,” Mack said.
Adobe Readies New Servers,
Next, Andrew Shebanow, an engineering manager at Adobe, took the stage to demonstrate Share, a new service that makes it easy for people to share files. Share gives users a gigabyte of storage, but “its not just a drive in the sky,” Shebanow said. “This product is like FlashPaper on steroids.”
And Share offers a full set of REST (representational state transfer) APIs. The Share APIs enable developers to do things like upload and download documents, share documents as URLs, set permissions on documents, retrieve document thumbnails and retrieve Flash-based document previews, Shebanow said.
“This will allow for some really interesting mashups,” he added.
Share is now in beta and is expected to become a live service in 2008.
Danielle Deibler, an engineering manager at Adobe, gave the next service demonstration. Deibler demonstrated Pacifica, the code name for an Adobe service for developers to integrate high-quality voice, messaging and presence into Adobe Flash and Flex applications.
Deibler demonstrated the Pacifica service during a live video connection with Adobe engineer Dominic Sagolla. Sagolla said the technology got its name because he and others on the team are surfers and Pacifica, Calif., is the location of some good surfing waters, particularly for beginners, “so we were thinking Pacifica 1.0,” he said.
“Were going to ride this incredible wave of voice on the Internet,” he said.
Read more here about the future of Flash, Flex and AIR.
Over the next year, Adobe plans to add video chat, peer-to-peer, Adobe AIR support and PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) access capabilities, Deibler said.
“This sounds a lot like Skype to me,” said Ron Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink, in Baltimore.
A private beta of Pacifica is starting in October and the Pacifica team is looking “for developers who have exciting rich internet applications that need a voice component,” Deibler said. The team also is hiring, she said.
Nigel Pegg, a software engineer at Adobe, then demonstrated the CoCoMo service. CoCoMo is based on Adobes Acrobat Connect—formerly known as Adobe Breeze, which has been one of Adobes most successful hosted services, Pegg said.
Adobe CoCoMo is a service for integrating real-time collaboration such as screen sharing and white-boarding to applications.
“Over the last year and a half weve been working furiously on a new version of Connect,” Pegg said. “We rebuilt the entire client UI in Flex and its a set of UI components.”
CoCoMo connects as a service with APIs for real time data messaging, real time AV (audio, video) streaming, user identity presence and permissions, and real-time file publishing and collaboration, Pegg said.
“As you can see there is some excellent work happening in services here—all running live code,” Lynch said. “This is really just the beginning.”
In a sneak peak session later on Oct. 2, Lynch and others showed a host of upcoming technology including VOIP technology in the Flash Player, Flash Home, an online version of Photoshop, Flex on Linux, Flash on C/C++ and a new version of Flash known as Astro.
Meanwhile, Lynch also said Adobe is working to tap the back end portion of the IT business.
“Business logic is being written over and over again…, so were working to bake some of these patterns into software,” Lynch said. “We see the future as the best reuse of server-side logic.
Finally, Steven Webster, an Adobe engineer, demonstrated Adobe LiveCycle ES, the companys back-end server “to a rich front end,” he said. “You can take your investment in rich Internet applications to the next level by platforming it on LiveCycle ES.”
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