We want to make Photoshop and the whole Creative Suite much more flexible, extensible, and connected. Therefore, we’re looking at letting upcoming versions of Photoshop and–as far as I know–all Creative Suite applications be extended via SWF panels (palettes) created in Adobe Flash or Flex.
Of course, this can’t come as a surprise. I mean, how brain-dead would Adobe have to be not to do this? The appeal of extending one’s app with lightweight, cross-platform, network-aware widgets is so obvious that we were busy building support in my first app some eight years ago–and we had to build our own Flash Player clone to do it! The CS3 versions of Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Bridge, and Soundbooth can already be extended in this way, and Photoshop and other apps can run SWFs in a scripting dialog.
Our task now is to implement support in as consistent a way as possible across the Suite. Today, developing for, say, the Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign trio would mean writing six chunks of platform-specific C code, delivering three different user experiences. In the near future, by contrast, you should be able to write one chunk of code that extends each app with consistent, non-modal (panel-based) functionality. Want to add peer-to-peer notes, Adobe kuler integration, video tutorials, and more to the Suite in one shot? We aim to make it easy.
I believe the results will be transformative. When I talk about the need to make Photoshop radically more configurable–letting it be "everything you need, nothing you don’t," person by person, moment by moment–I’m placing a lot of hope in easy panel configurability that can reshape workspaces and workflows.
We’ve hired a great developer named Drew Trujillo–better known as Dr. Woohoo–to help prime the pump. In addition to After Effects<->Flash integration tools, he’s mashed up Illustrator with Flickr, and now he’s busily crafting fun new projects that we look forward to showing off a bit further down the line. In the meantime Matthew Fabb briefly covers a sneak peek (showing Adobe AIR driving Photoshop) that Drew gave at the FITC show in Toronto.
If using Flash/Flex/AIR to extend & transform the Creative Suite is up your alley, drop me a line. Seriously, we should talk. I think you’ll like what’s cooking.