Adobe and Macromedia and Web 2.0

I’m relieved that Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia is finally completed. Over the last eight months I’ve had a chance to get to know some of the key Macromedia people who are now part of Adobe, and I’m extremely excited about the new energy and expanded vision that they bring to the combined company, and the promise of the new Adobe playing a key role in the “Web 2.0” ecosystem.
One of the most exciting things is the broader perspective around “platform” mandated by our expanded set of solutions. At times the pre-Macromedia Adobe behaved as if PDF and the Adobe Reader client were the only game in town. Now, we have client technology that is more broadly proliferated than Reader (FlashPlayer) and the leading authoring tool for HTML (DreamWeaver). So our view of the overall platform necessarily goes beyond PDF and Reader, and IMO should help us keep PDF focused on what it was designed to do (represent a final-format paginated document), while applying other technologies (like Flash, Flex, and HTML) where they are more appropriate.
From the perspective of ePublishing, there are an increasing number of online reading applications that use Flash to provide a richer user experience without requiring a separate client download. While animated “page flipping” effects may seem gratuitous, anything that gives users an increased comfort level in reading digitally should not be taken lightly. When we were competing with Macromedia these solutions – including Macromedia’s own FlashPaper technology – gave us heartburn. Now, they are simply additional arrows in our quiver.

3 Responses to Adobe and Macromedia and Web 2.0

  1. mike chambers says:

    fyi
    I posted some thoughts on Flash and Web 2.0 which you can find here:
    http://weblogs.macromedia.com/mesh/archives/2005/08/flash_and_web_2.cfm
    mike chambers
    mesh@macromedia.com

  2. Hi, Jim!
    I’ve got a huge collection of PDF formatted eBooks, both from my own friends and from the companies whose products I support; their paper manuals are thick, so it’s easier to carry them around electronically.
    What I think is missing from the Adobe eBook proposition – setting aside the DRM issues for the moment – is speed.
    When I have to solve a problem that means that I’m going to need to rapidly find information, a big paper manual is faster. It requires more brainpower to operate – you have to know how to use an index and a table of contents rather than a search function and it helps if you know the structure of the content so that you know, for example, that the instructions on how a subnet mask is constructed would be near an explanation of classful boundaries, but I can beat anyone with an eBook doing a task like this.
    The more complicated the task is, the greater the advantage of having a paper book, because it lends itself really well to this kind of analog scan and flip, where you check the index, keep your finger in between two pages, flip back, check the index, flip to a new page, flip between two pages in different spots using your fingers as placeholders. It’s very quick.
    There are a lot of other engineers who only use eBooks as a convenient way of carrying around a library and print off the pages they want to use and they do it for this very reason.
    Also, you can draw diagrams on a piece of paper in a small fraction of the time that you can draw diagrams on an eBook.
    I can find the page that describes subnet masking, photocopy it and then draw the network topology to some network in the margin of the page in about one tenth the time it takes someone to find the information in an eBook, create some Visio diagrams, merge them and print it out.
    The latter is great if you want to publish something, but 90% of my valuable work is solving a problem that’s only going to exist for the next hour or so. I suspect that other folks in that position are going to feel the same way.
    So I urge you to find someway to make the user interface sufficiently intuitive and speedy that it can compete with a sheet of paper. Take out a piece of paper and a pen and see how quickly you can get an idea across with it – it’s fast.
    As for DRM, if it stays in place, people will circumvent it. The stronger it gets, the better the cracking will be. If it reaches a point where the DRM is utterly unbreakable…people will scan in books and distribute the scanned copies. DRM isn’t the answer. Unfortunately, the fact that there are other eBook formats out there means that Adobe can’t force the publishers to stop using DRM…
    Good luck!

  3. Matt Kirke says:

    Can you advise me please?
    Where can I get the e-books created? I have several pdfs that I would like to turn into ebooks similar to those on http://www.bayleys.co.nz any help is appreciated.
    Matt