Application updates are an almost daily ritual for me. I have a huge number of apps for my smartphone, tablet, and Desktop and it’s rare that either the operating system or an app doesn’t have an update waiting to be installed. At Adobe we are passionate about creating high quality products, so updates are key to delivering on that quality and delighting users. I mention this because updaters are troublesome. For developers, it is time away from the next major release and it can be very difficult to diagnose problems found or deal with older code. For users it seems like yet another update, often with little or no information on what the update is for. Finally, spare a thought for the IT departments, they are not dealing with a single update on a single computer but potentially thousands or tens of thousands of computers requiring that update.
One thing that various teams in Adobe are working on is getting updates out faster but also doing a better job of describing what the update does or why you should install it. There are constraints here because the longer we spend writing up the release notes the longer it can take to actually get the release out, plus we also need to do proper testing to ensure that fixing one problem or bug for example does not cause another bug elsewhere. One of the reasons I am excited by Creative Cloud is that users will see continuous updates going forward. Not just bug fixes but new features. Accounting rules for the recent Creative Suite releases meant Adobe was not able to add new features to a major product after the release as the revenue from the sale was taken up front, like most software companies. With Creative Cloud the revenue is coming on a monthly basis and we are allowed to add new features and change the product or even, as recently witnessed, increase the offering to add more products, such as Photoshop Lightroom 4, which is a new addition to Creative Cloud. As for the IT departments, there is a tool to help them with Creative Suite installation including updates, called Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition (AAMEE). It’s free and you can download all the AAMEE versions here.
Talking of updates, one of the major under the hood changes we made with Adobe Configurator 3 was to enable the application to be updated. It uses the same Adobe Application Manager as other Creative Suite/Creative Cloud products and we are looking forward to releasing the first update next month. It will have several bug fixes but also several great new features that we think users are going to love. All of the new features we will add came directly from user requests and will provide new levels of customization for Configurator created panels in Photoshop and InDesign. There will be more information about the Configurator 3.1 update soon but in the mean time, why not download Configurator 3 from Adobe Labs if you haven’t already. That way you will automatically be notified when the new update is available. The new Adobe Exchange which will soon be available on Adobe Labs and is currently available via a prerelease program, will allow producers to update their products and automatically notify users that updates are available. This is far better than the current situation where if you download a plug-in or extension for Creative Suite, the developer has to implement their own updater or the user has to find out that an update for their product is available.
Overall, updates are important and nine times out of ten they are very useful. I expect updates will only increase in frequency and importance in this cloud connected world. While it may seem like a pain at times, updates serve a purpose.