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. 😉

7 Responses to CS4 painpoints

  1. John Dowdell says:

    While researching the above links, I ran across this excellent Kottke roundup of reaction to the Adobe/Macromedia news, from back in April 2005.

  2. Philip Colmer says:

    It is good to see Adobe acknowledging that having varying prices is painful for the purchaser.
    What is equally painful is the restriction on support if you buy from the “wrong” country. For example, if I buy a US copy, I will *not* get support from Adobe UK. The trouble with this approach is that I work for a global company and we’ve centralised software purchases in our US head office. So guess where we get our Adobe software from?
    It needs fixing.

  3. creacog says:

    Pain-point 4 : Product availability to TLP AOO licensees… [jd sez: Post was about the most common painpoints I could anticipate. I can’t even guess what “TLP AOO” might intend to mean.]
    Looks like we may have to wait up-to the end of November to receive the SW we have effectively already paid for. Key advantage old the old DEVNET subscription from which i migrated was that serial numbers and SW downloads were available from shipping Day 1.
    For the CS3 release we could bridge that gap by using the trial versions, but not this time due to pain-point 3 above.

  4. creacog says:

    [jd sez: I’m publishing this, even though it drags the main subject off-topic, but anyone with a site-license should talk with their sales contact, and not put unknown acronyms into random weblogs.]
    Just to clarify what i meant by TLP AOO : ‘Transaction Licensing Program’ and ‘Adobe Open Options 4.5’
    in my case a 24 month upgrade plan.

  5. Lindsey Thomas Martin says:

    With ref. to pricing of CS3 in Europe, you might want to read this article of 7.v.2007 at CreativePro. Though not myself subject to European prices and generally sympathetic to the difficulties of companies doing business in many different regions, I didn’t find the responses of Adobe’s rep. as reported in the article very convincing. (It appears that the paper by Danielle Libine mentioned in the article is no longer available via the web but, if you would like to read it, I have a copy in PDF and would be happy to send it to you.)
    A rough comparison of prices. Design Premium CS3.3 ME, which adds sophisticated support for RTL languages, can be purchased from WinSoft for 2,609 euros (it appears that customers get a free up-grade to Design Premium ME CS4 when it is available). Design Premium CS4 is selling from Adobe’s website in France for 2,630 euros (about US$3,328 at today’s exchange rate). Price from US store is US$1,799.

  6. I watched the demo videos on the Adobe website last night and was interested in their comment about useing the Safari HTML engine to drive the page previews and organize coding in a web doc.
    I have been working with Dreamweaver for a long, long time and I ALWAYS have to preview the pages in IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari to get make sure the page is proper in all browser types. Then there is the endless tweaking to get IE to look like Safari, and on and on and on.
    I was curious what you think about this and whether CS4/Dreamweaver creates code that is more consistent across all browser types; especially using stuff like multiple style sheets, Javascript, etc.
    [jd sez: DW CS4 is the fastest way I know of to cut those costs of cross-browser testing, but the browsers will always vary, particularly around the edges.]
    Any thoughts or comments.
    My cost to upgrade right now is close to $500 and I want to make sure I do the right thing.
    thanks – jb

  7. Sue W says:

    So far, I haven’t been able to upgrade to CS4 coming from a DevNet studio licensed version. Adobe customer service gave me a replacement serial number but the installer wouldn’t recognize it. I hope Adobe is going to find a way for owners of legimate, licensed Macromedia products to upgrade. You’d think they could make a way to recognize the devnet serial numbers. I haven’t had the opportunity to spend time on hold to pursue the problem.
    [jd sez: If you type in a direct number and it doesn’t “take”, make sure that spaces, hyphens, capitals, and O/0 issues are correct.]