The all-new Community Help experience for Creative Suite 6

The Adobe Community Help experience with Creative Suite 6 has changed — it’s now more customized and smarter — connecting users with the most relevant content from Adobe and experts around the world.

Here are my top three reasons on why I think the new Adobe Community Help experience is more enriching than ever before.

Enhanced topic-browsing experience

 When you access Help from your product using F1 (on Windows) or the Help menu, a topic browsing page opens in your default web browser. The web page combines community contributions and Adobe content. For example, when you launch Photoshop Help, you are taken to the Photoshop topic browsing page, which looks like this:

What I really like about topic-browsing is that you browse through carefully chosen topic categories rather than structured books. In a book structure, I’d often get lost figuring out where a topic is, and would  browse through multi-layered TOCs to get to a topic. Not anymore! I can now get to my information in a glance. For example, if I need information about a lighting filter in Photoshop, I just click the “Filter and Effect” topic category, and select the article that I want to view.

  

To see more articles related to a particular topic, just click the More link. Additionally, Adobe continually curates and adds to the collections, so you will always find the latest and greatest articles. And the content that is displayed is curated across CS5, CS5.5, and CS6 releases.

 Your online Help experience is browser-based, so you can use your browser’s native functionality to search, bookmark, comment, or rate content.

Effective online-offline Help experience 

The Adobe Help manager is an AIR-based content installation utility that downloads offline help content and notifies you when new updates are available. The Help Manager will download HTML or PDF reference that can be viewed offline, either via your web browser or via Adobe Acrobat Reader (or similar PDF viewing software). 

You can access CS6 Help offline as a downloadable PDF and view the ActionScript Reference content offline via your web browser. If no new content is available, the application will shut down until the next time you select Help. For more information about using offline Help, see Five FAQs about offline Help for CS6.

Handy-dandy CS6 Help hub

Users can access online Help for all Creative Suite products from a single CS6 Help hub page. This page is your one-stop-shop for all self-help and tutorials for CS6. You can simply bookmark this page instead of a dozen or more individual product Help pages.

For more details on Adobe Community Help, see this article. And we’d be very interested to know your thoughts on the new Community Help experience for CS6!

Connecting Content and Community in the Cloud : Want to know More?

…about Adobe’s vision for Community Help in the coming years?

…about what Help will mean and look like when we move from the desktop to the tablet to the cloud?

…about a shared social learning experience that can blur the boundaries between “inspiration & instruction” and “content & community”?

If you answered Yes to even one of the questions above, make sure that you book your seat at the Social Studies: Connecting Content and Community in the Cloud session at Adobe MAX 2011.

In this session, Luanne Seymour, Senior Instructional Designer at Adobe, and Jaydeep Dutta, Experience Design Manager at Adobe, take you through a fascinating journey of exploring three trends that are currently sweeping the digital world: tablets moving from content consumption to creation, increasingly pervasive social features, and everything shifting to the cloud. Learn more about how UX Design and Content & Community come together to take advantage of these three trends and envision a compelling Community Help experience for designers and developers.

For more information on the session, see http://bit.ly/p871i3.

Flash Builder Tips & Tricks

The Flash Builder 4.5 release introduced many new features including several coding productivity features. And to help you be more productive with Flash Builder, we put together a Flash Builder Tips & Tricks article on Adobe Dev Center that contains several simple and effective tips and timesaving shortcuts.

Do check out the article, and please let us know if there are any other tips that you find useful and we may not have covered!

Getting Started with Preview Releases of Flex SDK “Hero”, Flash Builder “Burrito”, and Flash Catalyst “Panini”

Straight off the press! – you can now download the public preview releases of the next versions of the Flex SDK, Flash Builder, and Flash Catalyst on Adobe Labs.

 The Flexteam Blog post describes the releases in good detail. But, here’s a quick list of links to various learning resources to help you get started:

 Intro articles written by the product managers 

 Samples, tutorials, and videos  

 Updated product documentation

 In the next few posts, I’ll be deep-diving into the features and their associated documentation. Until then, download the preview releases of all three products from Adobe Labs and get started!

Survey on ColdFusion

The ColdFusion team has put together a survey that gives you an opportunity to provide your feedback on ColdFusion 9. The survey also lets you indicate you wish list for the next version of ColdFusion.

So, don’t wait any longer, just visit the URL below, and provide your feedback. The entire survey should take not more than a couple of minutes.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ColdFusionServer

Security update: Hotfixes available for ColdFusion

The title pretty much says it all. See the security bulletin for details. 

Feedback and Rating via Adobe Community Help Client

Earlier, when you wanted to add comments to a Help topic or rate it, you needed to go to Help on the web. With the Community Help Client (CHC), you can comment on, rate, and contribute to Help content and Adobe online resources like Developer Center articles – all from within the CHC.

To provide feedback and rating through the CHC, search for the Help topic or Adobe online resource that you want to comment on, and click Feedback & Rating in the bottom left-corner of the CHC. The Feedback & Rating tab opens to let you post your feedback.

You, of course, need a valid Adobe ID to provide any feedback and rating. If you do not have an Adobe ID as yet, you can get one in a couple of minutes by registering yourself at: https://www.adobe.com/membership

What I really like about providing feedback through the CHC is that you can categorize your feedback in the form of a tip, correction, or suggest a link to a relevant online resource. Once you post your feedback, the feedback appears with the relevant icon denoting the feedback type.

Also, don’t miss the Have a question? link – this link takes you right to the Adobe Forums (http://forums.adobe.com/index.jspa), where you can discuss your questions with other Adobe users.

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So, the next time you want to provide feedback on a Help topic, do try it out through the CHC!

Your feedback on ColdFusion Builder!

The ColdFusion Builder product team is running a survey to gather feedback on the newly-released ColdFusion Builder. The team is also using this survey to help gather ideas for the next version of ColdFusion Builder.

 

So, what are you’ll waiting for? Just click this link to take the survey. The survey should not take more than a few minutes of your time.

 

Thanks, in advance, for participating in this survey!

Adobe Community Help Client – don’t forget to use CTRL+F

The updated version of the Adobe Community Help Client (CHC) offers a basic yet very useful feature – the CTRL+F shortcut key to locate a word or phrase on a page displayed in the CHC.

Like CTRL+F would work in a web browser, in the CHC, too, you just need to press CTRL+F, type the word or phrase, and press ENTER. The CHC automatically searches and highlights the word or phrase that you are looking for.

 

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So, while you would use the many search refinements to reach to the right Help resource, don’t forget that CTRL+F works, too!

 

Adobe Community Help Client – New and Enhanced Search Refinements!

I’m very excited to blog about the updated version of the Adobe Community Help Client (CHC) that is now available for download. The enhancements in this version of the CHC are search-centric and provide very effective search refinements.

The CHC is an AIR application, so you get any new content updates and feature enhancements without reinstalling the CHC. When you open the CHC, you’ll be prompted to download an updated version of the AIR application that has these search refinements. 

We now have two broad search categories – Online Help and Local Help

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As the names suggest, these categories let you search across multiple online resources or within Help packages downloaded to your computer. Within each of these categories, you can further refine your search results to specific resources.

When you select online help, you can refine your search results by using these filter options:

 
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  • Adobe.com – Searches all Adobe online resources including Help pages, Developer Center articles, and knowledgebase articles.
     
  • All – A comprehensive search that includes all the resources available on adobe.com as well as the most relevant content contributed by experts from the Adobe community.

  • Adobe reference only – Searches all the online Adobe Help pages for the selected product. For example, if you select ColdFusion Builder as the product, you can search across ColdFusion and ColdFusion Builder documentation available on the web.

  • You can also narrow your search down to specific Help resources for the product. For example, if you select ColdFusion Builder as the product, you can search across ColdFusion 9 documentation or within the Installing ColdFusion Builder or Using ColdFusion Builder documentation.


 

 
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Our research suggests that online Adobe Help resources are searched the most, so you have a handy Adobe reference only check box right at the top of the search tab. When you select this check box, the Local Help option is automatically disabled allowing you to search only across online Adobe Help resources.

When you are offline, you can use the Local Help option to search within the Help packages downloaded to your desktop.

Searching for information is now easier and faster than ever before! Do send in your feedback, and let us know how effective you find the new search refinements.