CS4 painpoints

Macromedia joined Adobe in December 2005. Creative Suite 3 picked low-hanging fruit: the most important stuff which could be developed, tested, and released by Spring 2007.

Now Creative Suite 4 tackles some of the harder problems — significant workflow efficiency gets a major investment, Photoshop innovates like crazy, Dreamweaver’s “Related Files” and “Code Navigator” and “Live View” change everything. And then, there’s Flash. And wait, Alan will get angry at me if I don’t mention Fireworks. And…. ;-)

CS4 is the first full development cycle available from the Adobe/Macromedia merging. It’s a great release. Economical. And fun too. I think it’ll make a big splash.

But some things are going to hurt. Here’s where I suspect the biggest painpoints will be:

  1. Global pricing. Why is it cheaper to fly to buy it? I don’t know, but I’ve pressed a lot on this too. My best guess is that pricing decisions are decentralized to different legal regions, so it’s hard for anyone to take ownership for an answer. This was already an issue after announcement, and will continue to be an issue after delivery. I’m sorry, I don’t have a good answer here.
  2. Installers. They’re big. They’re objectionable. And then there’s the Updater. I know that there’s been a large amount of improvement done here, but more is needed. We saw “global pricing” as a big issue after launch, but I think installer complaints will get bigger after delivery. I hope the whole installation/update experience will go well for you personally, but I have to apologize in advance if they don’t. We need to do better at taking the pain out of keeping current.
  3. Trial availability. The big shipping versions get released first. Then the full set of languages and trial versions and other derivatives enter the production pipeline. The FAQ says that CS4 trials are expected online in mid-November. I know it’s maddening to see new software available, and not be able to try it — I expect the pain to be intense. Adobe provides the varied creative tools for everyone in the world, and it takes us a few weeks to crank everything through the pipeline. It’ll hurt, I’m sorry, but the trials will be up in about 30 days, and then this problem will go away.

    (And please don’t be tempted by blackmarket software, ’cause you don’t know where it’s been. Malware scammers will definitely find this gap attractive.)

Anyway, CS4 is great. The people who put it together are amazing, and this time they had the extra months to do some really fun things, some really deep things. I think CS4 will be remembered as a landmark release.

But the above are some areas where we risk not meeting customer expectations. It’s not through unawareness, and internally we’re already trying to do better. We just didn’t get far enough soon enough to ease the above painpoints this time. I can only hope my apology helps take the sting out a bit.

Hope you love the rest of the stuff, though. ;-)