December 23, 2006

Flash runs inside Photoshop CS3!

Psst… Wanna watch "PhotoshopTV" clips inside Photoshop itself?  How about making a script that can access the network, upload/download data*, and control Photoshop?

Sorry if I’m a bit worked up, but I love reporting that the Photoshop CS3 beta supports running Flash SWF files as script interfaces. Whereas in CS2 scripts can feature fairly simple UIs (e.g. the Image Processor), in CS3 they’ll be able to take advantage of all the richness of Flash and Flex.  To see it in action, download this sample** (with MXML source), unzip it, and put the contents into "Adobe Photoshop CS3/Presets/Scripts."  You’ll be able to use it to run other scripts and even watch streaming video.  For immediate gratification, here are a couple of screenshots.

So, why do I think this is a big deal?  For starters, we have to make developing for Photoshop radically easier and faster.  If you want to make a new component for Yahoo Widgets (neĆ© Konfabulator), you simply run a script in Photoshop; compare that to the task of building a Photoshop plug-in.  Photoshop will grow inexorably larger and more powerful, and to keep it usable we need to make it trivial to tune the app to particular needs/tastes.  That means easy extensibility & customization (up-level what you need, get rid of what you don’t).  It’s here that Flash & Flex can play a great role, enabling fast, rich, lightweight, cross-platform development.

Supporting SWFs in scripts is just one step, but it’s a big one.  Displaying a video stream might seem odd, but I’ve got some big designs on ways we can connect people through the apps, make learning immediate, and more.  Embedding the Flash Player across the Adobe product line gives us a way to enable rich widgets that run across applications & platforms.  Exciting times ahead.

* With your permission, of course.
** Note that there’s a bug with display of dynamic data on Intel Macs

Posted by John Nack at 5:16 PM on December 23, 2006
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