Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe Creative Cloud: A Creative Advantage

Adobe Creative Cloud for teams standardizes a studio’s design workflow.

AppzStudio

AppStudioz is an innovative web and mobile application development company that specializes in developing applications for various platforms and devices including iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows, and Facebook. In just three years, the company has developed apps for diverse industry segments including healthcare, consumer and retail, gaming, augmented reality, and wearable computing.

Although the dynamics of such a nascent industry keep evolving, core app design remains at the heart of what AppStudioz does to deliver its services across the world. The company needed a platform that would enhance the creative ability of its design team and one that was easily scalable and agile. A cloud-based solution emerged as a default answer.

“When we started our cloud discussions, we did a lot of research and held extensive sessions with designers,” says Preeti Singh, vice president of technology at AppStudioz. “After careful deliberations, top management, designers, and the IT team collectively and unanimously decided to adopt Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.”

For AppStudioz, adopting Adobe solutions was a natural choice primarily because the platform is an industry standard and the firm was already using Adobe tools extensively—specifically Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Additionally, a majority of its clients based in the United States and the United Kingdom had already adopted Adobe Creative Cloud; using Adobe Creative Cloud for teams helps standardize the process for the company and its clients.

Broadening designer expertise
The migration to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams took two weeks and was completed without any work disruption. The Adobe team helped AppStudioz train designers and programmers on Creative Cloud tools. “The ease of use of all the components of Adobe Creative Cloud for teams allowed us to quickly train our team on these tools to deliver great results for clients,” says Singh.

AppStudioz works extensively in the area of scalable graphics and Adobe Creative Cloud tools, specifically Adobe Photoshop CC, come in very handy. Photoshop CC makes it easy for AppStudioz’s designers to customize vectors at any point in the design stage. For instance, previously, if there was a figure with four sharp edges and designers wanted to make those edges rounded, they had to remake the entire figure. With Photoshop CC, designers can bring in alterations at any stage. “Such innovative features have given our designers the power to create newer designs with ease and efficiency,” says Singh.

The design team at AppStudioz is a mix of graphic designers, illustrators, and user interface designers, all using different Creative Cloud tools. “Adobe Creative Cloud tools integrate flawlessly with each other, which lets our designers concentrate on the creative challenges before them and not get bogged down in the technology,” says Singh.

With Creative Cloud, AppStudioz designers can start creating images in Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC and later open them in Adobe Dreamweaver CC or Flash Professional CC. Further, the team can switch back-and-forth between the tools and experiment with designs to get different results. “The integration among the tools in Creative Cloud has gone a long way in making our workflows smoother,” says Singh.

Adobe Creative Cloud for teams enables the AppStudioz design teams to work and collaborate from anywhere in the world. Additionally, it has helped the firm’s designers to explore new approaches for designing and developing content delivered across various channels and devices. Migrating to Adobe Creative Cloud gives the creative team the flexibility to work effectively at any location and experiment with the latest tools to deliver content across platforms and devices with ease.

Raising productivity while lowering total cost of ownership
The streamlined administration in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams has greatly helped AppStudioz to eliminate time-consuming manual processes such as installing packaged software and maintaining version consistency. It has also helped raise productivity across the company by simplifying software administration with license management, automated tracking, and version upgrades.

For AppStudioz, Creative Cloud for teams membership has significantly reduced the total cost of ownership for Adobe solutions by creating a standardized model for purchasing and deploying the most current versions of Adobe Creative Cloud tools. “The predictable, easily managed membership model in Creative Cloud for teams eliminates having to deal with lump-sum software purchases,” says Singh. In addition, Adobe Creative Cloud helps support AppStudioz’s rapid growth and streamlines management of creative tools for designers.

“Our firm is continually growing and changing,” says Singh. “Adobe Creative Cloud for teams is helping us manage this growth and scale up rapidly by giving ready access to the latest creative tools to our designers.”

Read the AppStudioz case study.

7:10 AM Permalink

Are Mobile Web Apps Slow?

A recent blog post from Drew Crawford has generated many comments and tweets about the relative performance of web and native apps. Drew’s well-written post is notable for its thorough documentation.

So should we all pack our mobile web app work and go native? Well, no.

Though the article singles out JavaScript, it really dives into the trade-offs between garbage-collected languages – JavaScript, Java – with lower-level alternatives that require the developer to manage memory. For those applications that are extremely sensitive to the kind of unpredictable interruptions caused by garbage collection, Drew argues that they will always lag behind native implementations (or, rather, behind native implementations that manage their memory properly).

First, the performance of JavaScript needs to be put in perspective:  it is only a subset of the performance profile of most web apps. HTML, CSS, SVG and the network also consume CPU/GPU cycles. For some web apps, the layout and rendering of HTML/CSS/SVG consume the majority of CPU cycles (it is even possible to write a game without any JavaScript code albeit a limited one.) Not only does it mean garbage collection only affects a fraction of an application’s overall execution budget, but a large part of the platform can be optimized and improved for all apps. So JavaScript is only one portion of mobile web apps’s code and its strengths and shortcomings alike only affect that portion.

Web Platform

Figure 1: A web application’s CPU budget

One may argue that this does not matter: why would anyone ever want to use a language that is slower than native? Wouldn’t you always want the faster option?

As Drew’s article points out, productivity is also important to developers. Drew uses the example of hashmaps: while managed languages usually build those in, native apps either rely on harder-to-use versions or roll out their own. Thus a big motivation for using a language such as JavaScript is its ease of use and dynamic nature. While not perfect it remains a language that is more accessible to more people than native code. It also is the same language across many platforms and devices, while native code is inherently platform-specific. Trading off some performance (for a fraction of the application, as explained above) for broader reach is appealing for many applications.

In addition, a core motivation for using JavaScript is that it is part of the wider web platform and lets us leverage a very powerful native component: the browser engine. I think of JavaScript as the puppet master of the browser engine: a little bit of code can exercise a variety of powerful native features from CSS layout and restyling to hardware- accelerated animations.

Granted, there exist native libraries that provide similar graphical, animated or layout features to what browser engines offer (and more). However, no solution that I know of has the the flexibility and ubiquitous reach that the web platform brings to the table.

Finally, a web app is not just client code. At the very heart of the web is the concept of distribution, of content as well as code. A web app can leverage the web and distribute its computing needs. The collaborative 3D authoring application Lagoa is a shining example of that possibility, as it distributes computation-intensive work to the cloud, operations that even the most powerful client code could not handle as well. Web apps, by nature, have access to the flexibility of this powerful architecture.

Web apps are way past the hype phase and climbing up the slope of enlightenment. Articles grounded in hard data like Drew’s are certainly useful. But we need to be mindful about decisions we make and consider a web application’s overall context before making the jump to native, and forego the many benefits of the web architecture.

In some cases (e.g., highly computationally intensive game), native code may indeed be the appropriate answer. But in most cases, web apps demonstrate the way of the future, even though the ‘puppet master’ code will run slower than its native counterpart. Remember that this relative slowness is a trade-off for other important benefits, such as higher productivity and unparalleled reach.

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