So watching the tech news sites and blogs this week you might think that Adobe is Inego Montoya and Apple is Count Tyrone Rugen from The Princess Bride:
Movie style vendetta’s and the argument about 3rd Party Development Platforms for Apple aside, Adobe is an interesting company.
It’s difficult to know exactly what their flagship product is but in terms of ubiquity there is Acrobat and the PDF format.
PDF is a fantastic format for document control and distribution of finished product and simply because most of everyone uses it. Occasionally it gets frustrating with fonts particularly Hebrew and other right-to-left fonts but this is more if you want to copy-paste text to an editor. (We had this with an apartment rental contract a few years ago and at the end of the day I ended up retyping 8 pages of Hebrew text to edit and make changes).
In Israel PDF is much loved by the government for online forms etc. but wider use is a subject for another article.
What impressed me the most was that I received a reply to the review from Tad at Adobe who was working on Buzzword addressing the issues I raised.
If you are a frequent reader of my blog you will also know that I have written two pieces regarding FLASH:
First regarding a bug I discovered testing in Windows where Flash and Sun Java Runtime were not playing nicely together – again nice going Adobe for addressing my bug and even thanking me for reporting it to you, as opposed to Sun who didn’t.
Second was my article looking at Steve Jobs harsh criticism of Flash, his take on why he doesn’t like it and my speculation on other reasons too. (Let’s be honest guys Flash everywhere you look on the Web, when was the last time you opened a website and said to yourself "”Great they used Quicktime not Flash for multimedia”? Apropos I am a fan of Quicktime even if that last comment didn’t sound like it).
Flash is one of those technologies that does cool stuff nicely and easily. I have experienced bugs with it but it continues (for now) to be the plugin/ add-on for web multimedia.
The online gamers out there are probably thinking “Hey, what about SHOCKWAVE?”
The last time I had a look at Shockwave, it and Flash were still part of Macromedia; prior to Adobe purchasing the company. I was testing it as one of many 3rd party plugins for a company that developed educational E-Book technologies.
More recently I was involved in a testing project using FLEX for the front-end of a rich web application. I was impressed by Adobe’s development of this product and how well the company was able to implement their product using this platform.
Which brings me to AIR. Adobe defines AIR as:
“The Adobe® AIR® runtime lets developers use proven web technologies to build rich Internet applications that run outside the browser on multiple operating systems”
I have a couple of AIR applications on my desktop PC, for example the great Twitter client Tweetdeck .
Of course this is not the full extent of Adobe’s extensive product line, merely those I have come into contact with myself. My overall impression of Adobe is they are truly committed to elegantly designed and implemented products that provide the user with great solutions. They have demonstrated to me an interest in what is being written about them at blog and in customer defects (bugs) submitted and a willingness to interact with their consumer base on these issues.
What could be next for Adobe and specifically AIR? AIR has a great deal of potential. Any company developing for the future is looking to the mobile market.
Of course AIR has been strongly tied to Google Android but Adobe has promised that other than the iPhone AIR will be supported on all mobile OS/ platforms.
I know that I am going to continue using Adobe products and watching with great interest where their product-line is going to evolve to; and maybe we will see I’m an iPhone, I’m an Adobe Air Phone ads in the future.