Now that Photoshop CS4 is shipping, let’s talk extensibility.
- By and large, your existing plug-ins should work just fine with CS4. Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes reports that when it comes to PS on the Mac and PS on Windows running in 32-bit mode, "Our in-house testing proved early on that with very rare exceptions, ‘if it worked in CS3, it works in CS4.’" Developers like onOne and Digital Anarchy have already issued statements of CS4 compatibility, and I expect more to follow.
- If you’re running Photoshop in 64-bit mode on Windows (Vista 64 or XP64), you’ll need updated, 64-bit-native versions of your plug-ins. (The 64-bit version of Photoshop can’t host 32-bit processes, and vice versa.) We’ve been providing documentation to plug-in vendors for many months, and the 64-bit-savvy CS4 SDK is publicly available for download. I expect vendors to be trying to gauge the level of interest in 64-bit versions of their tools, so if you’re in that camp, you might want to give them some friendly encouragement.
- Photoshop on Windows consists of two binaries (one 32-bit, one 64-bit) which can be installed in parallel as completely separate applications. This means you can use the 32-bit version to run older plug-ins while waiting for them to go 64-bit-native.
- Support for running SWFs as panels represents a development renaissance for Photoshop & the Creative Suite. It’s never been possible to create panels for Photoshop in the past*, and developing for other apps meant learning different APIs and writing different code for each. Now you can create cross-platform, cross-application, non-modal, vector-based, network-aware extensions using Flash or Flex. This is going to kick serious ass, and the Photoshop Developer Center now features the Photoshop Panel Developer’s Guide. Look for more examples and documentation soon.
If you’re a developer and have questions, feel free to drop Bryan a line so that he can point you in the right direction.
*Unless you were a really clever developer like the guys at Nik Software–and they’re the first to say “Oh yeah, that was awful”; now it’s possible in an easy, reliable way.