Give more power to your workflows: Adobe Bridge integrates CEP

Guest post by Siddharth Singh, Software Engineer, Adobe

Adobe Bridge offers many powerful features to effectively manage your digital assets and is used in many ways by the creatives. For smooth interoperability with the Creative Cloud applications, Bridge has become an essential part of the established workflows for the Creative community. Scripting in Bridge using ExtendScript enables users to customize Adobe Bridge as per their specific requirements. Whether it’s bulk metadata updating or image processing, Bridge has been used to perfect many different types of automated workflows.

With CEP integrated into Adobe Bridge CC 2018 (October 2017 release | 8.0), workflow automation has just got easier. With the arsenal of web technologies at your disposal, designing complex and beautiful extensions is a breeze. If you are a web developer or have a basic knowledge of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, you’re all set to extend Bridge functionalities as per your requirements now!

So, what’s workflow automation?

In case you are wondering about the need for scripting or workflow automation, think of a scenario where you have to convert your latest photoshoot’s RAW photos to JPEGs, add watermark, tag keywords, add copyright in the metadata, and then upload the photos to a cloud-based web service for your client. This is a workflow! Now, if you have to do all these tasks every time you do a shoot, wouldn’t it be convenient to have an automated solution – you just select the files and the solution does all the steps of your workflow efficiently. That’s where CEP and Bridge scripting can do wonders.

What is CEP?

CEP or Common Extensibility Platform (formerly known as CSXS – Creative Suite Extensible Services) is a shared technology, which provides a rich platform to create and run HTML5-based extensions across Adobe Creative Cloud products. The extensions created using the CEP framework extend the functionality of the host application, using HTML5, JavaScript, ExtendScript, and CSS. With CEP in Bridge, developers having knowledge of web technologies like HTML5, CSS and JQuery can extend the functionality of Bridge and automate complex workflows easily. Just for the geeks, CEP makes use of Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) to render HTML, giving you the full power of a browser behind your panels.

With CEP, you can easily design your complex user interfaces for panels or dialogs using CSS and jQuery, just like any website. Moreover, Node.js\NPM support in CEP brings in the whole node ecosystem and tons of third-party packages to meet every requirement. In combination with these technologies, you can also use ExtendScript as before to automate Adobe applications-related workflows along with CEP. Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries, built using this technology, lets you communicate with other Creative Cloud apps, such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

Working with CEP and ExtendScript

ExtendScript was designed by Adobe to add more capabilities to JavaScript with a purpose to extend the functionality of Adobe applications. CEP and ExtendScript play well together and complement each other. While CEP provides the power of web technologies inside the Bridge panels, ExtendScript provides the automation capabilities needed to support your workflows.

And, you can sell your add-ons!

If you have designed a cool extension for Adobe Bridge that can help others as well, you have got a marketplace to sell your creation! Adobe Exchange portal is the marketplace for CEP-based extensions and now supports Adobe Bridge. To monetize your extension, all you have to do is to create and upload your extension on the Adobe Exchange portal.

What all can you do using CEP?

If you use Bridge to manage your processed creations, how about creating CEP extensions to share your content on Facebook, Flicker, Behance etc. directly from a Bridge panel? If you wish to share your creations locally in the form of an image gallery, Bridge and CEP are the tools to use. You can also store your assets in the cloud, like Adobe Creative Cloud Assets website, Google Drive, or similar web-based storage solutions from the Bridge panel using CEP. If you still use emails or shared drives to get peer feedback for your creations, how about creating a real-time asset review panel for it using web sockets? With the power of ExtendScript and features like XMP SDK and Vulcan APIs, it is easy to operate on the metadata of your files and communicate with other Creative Cloud applications. These are just a few ideas, the possibilities are endless with Bridge-CEP integration.

What all do you need?

If you have the latest version of Adobe Bridge CC and a text editor, you are good to go! There is plenty of documentation for CEP to help create and monetize your extensions. The best place to start is Adobe CEP GitHub page, which includes lots of CEP-related documentation and samples.

Bridge documentation is available here along with some samples to get you started. You can download the latest Bridge CC 2018 SDK from here. So, just expand your creative wings and start creating powerful extensions to enhance your workflows!

We’d love to hear your thoughts and answer your questions; please post them in the comments section of this blog.