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June 24, 2009

Heads up: Acrobat.com webinar

Meet Erik Larson the visionary leader behind Acrobat.com. Erik will share how Acrobat.com provides a fundamentally different and better way to work through stories and real-world examples. Come hear about the future of Acrobat.com and the vision behind the product. This will be an interactive session; Bring your questions and thoughts.

Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 12-1pm PDT
Meeting URL: http://my.adobe.acrobat.com/comseminars
No registration is required. Just click on the URL above or enter it into your browser.

Make sure to also read my articles about Acrobat.com:

CSInsider | Design - Live Preflight in InDesign CS4

In this sixth episode of CSInsider|Design, I show the new Live Preflight feature in Adobe InDesign CS4. The term Preflight originates from the pre-flight checklists used by pilots prior to take off. In a publishing workflow, preflight is the process of checking a document for integrity and completeness, before it can move on in the workflow. In the past we would preflight our InDesign documents before packaging them for hand off; or we would preflight PDFs before they would go to press, to make sure that all fonts are there, that images are the correct resolution, etc...
In InDesign CS4, preflight has become an integral part of document creation. Awesomeness!


June 11, 2009

CSInsider | Design - Placing multiple images in InDesign CS4

In this fifth episode of CSInsider|Design, I show how easy it has become to place multiple images in an InDesign document by using the place gun and the new Smart Guides. One of the cool "hidden" features is that you can also use the place gun to lay out multiple images in a grid in a single operation. Furthermore, you can then leverage the metadata (the data about the data, such as a description) added in Adobe Bridge to automatically create styled captions for the placed images.


June 3, 2009

Welcome to Adobe BrowserLab

It was just a week ago when I blogged about Acrobat.com Presentations, an online service for creating presentations. And today, I am here to introduce a new online service named Adobe BrowserLab, which truly is a designer’s dream come true. At the various MAX 2008 events there was a lot of buzz about a project code named Meer Meer (article published last November), and here it is.

Adobe BrowserLab

Adobe BrowserLab is an online hosted service that lets you test the pages of your web site across a variety of web browsers and operating systems. The service works by taking screen shots of your web pages in different browsers, and then displaying them in the BrowserLab application window. This is awesome, because this means that you don’t have to create the various set-ups locally to test your pages!

You can use BrowserLab as a standalone service, or integrated with Dreamweaver CS4. The standalone service lets you test pages that you've posted to a server within the context of a web browser. If you use BrowserLab as an integrated service with Dreamweaver, you can test your pages from within Dreamweaver without publishing your pages to a server.

Note: as I am writing this, Scott Fegette (Adobe Product Manager) wrote on his Twitter stream that "Wow- the response to BrowserLab has been incredible! We've reached our initial capacity limit already- amazing", and "Apologies if you didn't get into BrowserLab in this first round of the limited free preview- we'll be adding more folks soon, keep posted!" - Which basically means that if you cannot access the service now, be patient, as we are adding resources.

BrowserLab creates previews for the following browsers:

  • Firefox 2.0 - Windows XP
  • Firefox 3.0 - Windows XP
  • Internet Explorer 6.0 - Windows XP
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 - Windows XP
  • Safari 3.0 - Macintosh OS X
  • Firefox 2.0 - Macintosh OS X
  • Firefox 3.0 - Macintosh OS X

Adobe BrowserLab side by side comparison of browser rendition
BrowserLab lets you compare how your pages look in various browsers or operating systems.

Adobe BrowserLab allows you to see your pages in various modalities
You can even choose to see your page rendered in various browsers side by side, or onion skin (which overlaps both previews, and helps see differences faster).

If you want to use BrowserLab from within Dreamweaver, you'll need the following:

  • Adobe Dreamweaver CS4
  • Adobe Extension Manager 2.1
  • 2 MXP files specific to BrowserLab

  1. Install Dreamweaver CS4
  2. Download and install Extension Manager 2.0 if your copy of Dreamweaver does not have Extension Manager installed. You can download Extension Manager 2.0 from the Adobe Exchange
  3. If you already have Extension Manager 2.0, or if you've just completed installing it, install the Extension Manager CS4 2.1 Patch from the Adobe Exchange.
  4. Download and install the 2 BrowserLab MXP extension files here.

The Adobe BrowserLab extension for Dreamweaver CS4 lets you preview local web content from within Dreamweaver, without requiring you to post it to a publicly-accessible server first. The extension gives you the option of previewing files from your local Dreamweaver site, or from a remote or testing server.

More about BrowserLab right here: Adobe BrowserLab Help.

About Hyperlinks in SWFs exported from InDesign

This post is basically about the combination of two new features in Adobe InDesign CS4, and something of which I was not aware of:

Redesigned Hyperlinks panel – You can now use the redesigned Hyperlinks panel to create hyperlinks that navigate to external URLs, link to specific files, launch an e-mail client, or jump to a page or section of a page within the same or even a different document. Users can now also verify hyperlinks directly in InDesign CS4 with no need to export the document to a PDF or SWF file for testing.

Export to Flash (SWF) – You can create dynamic content without having to work in the authoring environment of Adobe Flash by simply exporting SWF files directly from within InDesign, complete with page transitions, interactive buttons, rollovers, and hyperlinks.

I have been exporting SWFs from InDesign, complete with all those cool features mentioned above, including hyperlinks since CS4 came out. But, guess what, I had never actually clicked on one of those hyperlinks I created, until Gerard told me that they had to think of a workaround, because those hyperlinks, according to him, did not work in the exported SWF file. So I checked, and guess what, my hyperlinks did not work either. So I had to agree with Gerard that this must have been a bug and that we’d patiently have to wait for a fix.

I was so wrong… And thanks to Michael Ninness (Adobe InDesign Product Manager) for clearing this up.

Basically, when testing the SWFs on my machine, I was being blocked by a Flash security setting (which is really important to protect my machine from harmful files). The fact is that hyperlinks in the SWF work fine when the SWF exported from InDesign is deployed to a web server. But because I was trying to access the hyperlinks in the SWF while it was running from my local machine it simply did not work, and others may have gotten a Flash Player security warning dialog.
To check hyperlinks in your SWF locally simply click the "Settings" button in that dialog which will take you to a web page on Adobe.com where you can add your computer (or a specific folder) as a trusted location. Once you've done that, the hyperlinks in your local SWFs will run fine.
If you don’t get the warning message (which was my case) simply open the contextual menu [ctrl+click] and choose Settings… and click on the “advanced” button.

Adobe Flash Player Settings

You’ll be taken to a page on Adobe.com called “Flash Player Help”. In the left menu choose “Settings Manager” and choose “Global Security Settings panel” to add your hard disk or a specific folder which you authorize to run your Flash files (a good idea would be to set up a specific folder authorized to run your SWFs for testing purposes).

Global Security Settings panel

But again, to clarify, your users will not see this issue if accessing the SWF when it is deployed to a web server.