CS5 Revealed, For Real

Well, a little. If you like your geek in big thick slabs, check out the Adobe Creative Suite Developer Summit. It runs through Friday, May 15th and offers live, free sessions (via Adobe Connect) on many cutting edge  Adobe technologies, including stuff that may find its way into Creative Suite 5.

Note that this is a developer conference, not a user conference, so be prepared for tech talk about creating apps and plug-ins and features. Still, you don’t need to be a developer to appreciate the impact of what they’re talking about.

If you can’t watch the sessions live, many of them are being recorded so you can catch them on demand. I’ve seen some really cool stuff so far, mostly to do with Flex and Flash working their magic on the user interface of Creative Suite applications. One more reason to attend: if you watch the sessions and fill out the comment forms, you’re eligible for a free copy of Flex Builder, so you can make your own cutting edge goodies.

TLF, my new BFF

Peoples, peoples, peoples, if you are the least bit interested seeing what will drive publishing workflows in the very near future, run, don’t walk your mouse over to the Adobe Labs and check out everything you can on Text Layout Framework. Such a dull-sounding name for such a mind-blowing technology. They should have called it the Textinator, or Fontapocalypse, or something. It’s going to be large. TLF (in beta) is a framework in Flash and Flex that will allow developers supreme control over typography in the browser. Any font, any layout, anywhere (OK, anywhere there’s Flash Player 10 installed, but that’s going to be everywhere).

That would be big enough news if it were just about a revolution in web design. But what I’m thinking about is the ways this technology could be used to make content, as well as deliver it. Because of what I do for a living, I’ve been babbling about the need to have content authoring in the browser. I’m sooo beyond sick of Word templates and web forms. I want an authoring tool with the feel of working in Adobe InCopy, with a rich layout and typography that matches what I get in InDesign, combined with the slickness of Buzzword, and capable of delivering some XML I can transform into some cool output.

Well, I think we just took a giant step in that direction with TLF. We’ll have websites and RIAs (Rich Internet Apps) that exploit TLF to deliver authoring anywhere. I promise you, in 5 years you won’t recognize the Creative Suite. This is the beginning of the end of the age desktop publishing applications, as we’ve known them for the last 20 years or so. They may be virtualized in the cloud, or mashed up and served as RIAs. They will morph and evolve like the liquid metal terminator in T2. But hopefully with less dying involved.

The Lightbulb Goes On

Happy Birthday, CS4!

Adobe gave birth today to a bouncing baby suite. Weighing in at a solid 17 ounces, and sporting a healthy silver coloring, CS4 was greeted with a tinge of jealousy by its older siblings, CSs 1-3. CEO Shantanu Narayen was seen passing out thousands of cigars around greater San Jose.

Seriously, though this is a big one, and not just in terms or price, hype, and options. Last week, as I was crying in my AdobeMAX beer, I worked myself into a geek frenzy dreaming of the Creative Suite Yet to Come. Lest you think I have been huffing too much vaporware, check out Tim Cole’s InDesign Backchannel post on IDML. Reading it was validation for me, since I had just written a paragraph in my handout for the InDesign Conference Master Class calling IDML, “one of the most significant developments in ­InDesign’s history.” That’s my conferencespeak for, “This is going to blow your doors off! In the long run, it’s more important than everything else combined!” So yeah, I totally agree with Tim that IDML is the most important new feature of InDesign CS4. But IDML is just one piece in a much larger Suite puzzle.

It’s pure poetry that CS4 is released on the anniversary of the Edison Electric Light Company opening for business. Think of each Creative Suite app as a lightbulb. The lightbulb is certainly a cool and useful invention. But the truly revolutionary, society-rocking invention isn’t the lightbulb, it’s the power grid. The dynamos, power plants, transformers, utility lines, and so on that all fit together to make electricity and make it flow reliably, cheaply, and safely. The Big Switch turned me on to this metaphor as a perfect fit for what’s happening to our applications, and I think CS4 is a case in point.

Think about what is flickering to life with IDML and XFL in CS4. The apps are now talking a common language, XML, so their content can flow reliably, cheaply, and safely (well, I guess no one ever got killed by a rogue .fla, did they?) With the power grid in place, came the multitudes of inventions that ran on electricity. This will be repeated with the multitudes of apps, be they desktop, pure Web, or RIAs, all running on XML, soon to be in every room in your house. They’re already selling fridges with Flash-enabled touchscreen doors. Hopefully when I get mine, I won’t have to wait to download the plug-in just to get a drink of juice.

If this is all gibberish to you, check out The Big Switch, and maybe the lightbulb will go on in your head like it did in mine. Also worth checking out is a nice Aussie-flavored Flash CS4 tutorial/propaganda on AdobeTV showing the integration. Still I wonder, do Flashers always work in places with surfboards? Must they be so brazenly cool? Y’know, it’s cool to typset one-color political science books, with lots of footnotes and tables, too, Mr. Fancypants. You try base-aligning all that crap without cheating the spec. Surfboards! I got a stuffed platypus and a box of CheesyPoofs on my desk. What do you think of that?!

I could be wrong about all of that poetic stuff. Maybe Adobe chose today in honor Byzantines taking back Carthage from the Vandals in 533. I myself took the kids out for an ice cream to celebrate.

BTW, it’s also Global Handwashing Day. Their icon kinda works for the Creative Suite too.

Pass the soap.

CS5 Revealed!

Yes, that’s right my friends, CS five! Anybody can show you CS4, but only here at Publicious will you get the scoop on CS5. We have obtained super secret plans from our moles within the Adobe empire, revealing a radical new direction for the Creative Suite.

Codenamed XMullet, the Creative Suite is being reworked from the ground up, with a decidedly retro-shock flavor. In addition, it’s clear that Adobe is following in Apple’s footsteps, and providing an end-to-end software-and-hardware package. None of CS5 will run on Mac or Windows. Adobe software will run only on Adobe machines. What a gamble! These exclusive photos show just how far out of the box Adobe is thinking. Will the publishing world be ready?

Heavy metal typesetting: adjusting leading with actual lead! It’s so obvious; why didn’t I think of that?

Here’s one of their radical new input devices. Throw away your mice, trackballs, and Wacoms. You’ll be able to hold type in your hands.

A glimpse at the 3 enormous InDesign Server configurations powering the CS5 revolution.

Actually, I think that thing on the middle right might be a fridge.

Photoshop CS5 will bring a true 3-dimensional workflow. Images are spun around inside a clear drum. Hey buddy, put on some safety goggles!

Behold, Dreamweaver CS5’s mind-blowing Code View.

On top of it all, CS5 is totally “green.” This Illustrator CS5 workstation runs on diesel, but can easily be converted to run on vegetable oil.

Well, there you have it. What do you think? I for one, welcome our new Totally Awesome publishing overlords.

Click This Book

Now that the 800-pound gorilla of InDesign has left the room, let’s see what’s else is on the radar.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to devote more time to checking out Photoshop CS4, and other pieces of the Creative Suite, and reporting back what I find here.

And I have another book report coming up. New books are like candy to me and the library is the biggest candy store in town. If you want to read along, check out Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why It Matters by Bill Tancer.

I think of Tancer as Archaeologist 2.0. He examines our culture by sifting through massive databases of online records instead of sifting through the dirt under our feet.

I’m especially interested in a couple of the chapters that relate directly to comments made by Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen during the launch announcement of CS4. One is called “Web Who.0” and asserts that “surprisingly few internet users actively create consumer-generated media.” This flies in the face of some of Adobe’s grand assumptions, namely, that the world is exploding with new Photoshop and Flash users, spewing out content in every corner of the globe (for which they will need tons of Adobe products to create and view this content). I’m assuming Tancer has the numbers to back up everything he says, which might be bad news for Adobe.

The other chapter that I may cheat and skip ahead to is on “Data Rocks and the Television-Internet Connection.” In the CS4 video, Narayen proudly said that Flash has penetrated not only 98% of computers, but 800 million mobile devices. And he left no doubt that the next frontier for Adobe is the living room. Maybe soon I can use Premiere CS4 to lift the Terminator from the Sarah Connor Chronicles and pit him against Dwight from The Office. Or maybe I can remix the Olympics and have Phelps come in second.

You Say You Want a Revolution

Well, you know, I just want to change the head.

My grand schemes for a site re-design, complete with lickable CSS have been foiled by that cruel master, time. Just ain’t enough of him to go around. Maybe someday. For now, here’s a start (all you puzzled RSSers, come visit the site). Hope you like the logo. I focus tested it on my kids and it cracks them up, so I’m going with it. The biggest problem is I think it makes the rest of the theme feel pretty drab. Maybe I’ll fork over the $75 to WordPress this weekend and buy me some custom CSS capability. Then again, I might be on the hook for a share of $700 billion, so I should start watching every penny.

Hmmm, $700 billion. That would buy you more than 280 million copies of the Creative Suite 4 Master Collection. Retail! We could negotiate a discount and give every man, woman, and child in America the Master Collection. Then we could design and publish our way out of this recession. I’ll place the order. Let me know if you want your copy overnighted to ya!

Spoiler Sport

Coming Soon to a screen near you! InDesign/InCopy CS4: Rise of the App Frame. News of CS4 is all over the place, but you can’t buy the programs yet. However, you can read and download the entire Help files for InDesign and InCopy CS4. They are free and open to the public. Yeah, it’s a little like reading the script to a movie that hasn’t been released yet. But if you’re an InDesign/InCopy fanboy/grrrl, you probably can’t wait to see how conditional text works, or whether Smart Guides are really smart (actually, they’re freaking brilliant–you’ll never use a guide again).

So download the help files, print out all 995 pages, wallpaper your dwelling with them, and when CS4 actually arrives at your workplace, you can be that annoying person ruining all the surprises for the people around you.

“Oh! Oh! Dude! Check this out! This is the part where the Button tool gets killed! And then Preflight disappears from the File menu, and like, no one knows where it went, and then it shows up in Window > Output! Dude!”

Make sure you say all this with a mouthful of popcorn. Adds to the effect. Dude.