Dr. Woohoo & the future of the Suite platform

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.

0 thoughts on “Dr. Woohoo & the future of the Suite platform

  1. I’m sorry. But, if past and current use of Flash in UI is of any indication of the kind of user experience to expect from this effort, I’d say no thanks.
    [That’s useful and important background to have for this discussion. A number of the SWF panels that have shipped in the past have had some rough edges, things that cast doubt on the suitability of the whole format. That’s really unfortunate, as it’s a commentary on those specific implementations, not on the format. (People can be sloppy in making SWFs, just as they can in making apps using C++ or HTML or anything else. They can also be careful and consistent.) –J.]
    All formerly Macromedia applications that use Flash in its UI have had horrid UX on Mac and continue to do so. The non-native “feel” isn’t the only issue (for example the way fonts are rendered) either.
    [You may be pleased to know that Adobe is putting a lot of effort into bringing its type technology to the Flash Platform (Flash Player, AIR, embedded SWFs, etc.). –J.]

  2. In concept I love the scriptability across products and platforms and think it could really benefit users and developers. But in reality the UI issues Jim mentioned are also a concern to me. Flash hardly ever seems to respect the scroll wheel (at least on a Mac). Inconsistent UI with the rest of the platform is also disappointing. For instance menus often open with a scrollbar that forces me to scroll to see just a few items. On the Mac I am used to a menu filling the screen if needed so I can see and choose my options with less scrolling. That is just one example of how Flash controls often don’t respond in exactly the same manner as the OS and therefore don’t “feel” quite right.
    So of course this is an awesome thing from a development standpoint, from a user standpoint I sincerely hope issues such as these get worked out. If it could feel like a truly native part of the app I am all for it. But if it feels like a Flash part of the app, then I feel the user experience is diminished. As someone who currently writes JavaScripts for InDesign, I also hope that native OS dialogs, etc. will not be deprecated over in favor of moving towards Flash based interfaces. I don’t mind the option, as long as I am not forced into it.
    [I haven’t heard discussion of deprecating anything. In other cases, where nothing exists now (e.g. there’s no supported way to create non-modal/panel-based UI for Photoshop), we should focus on a mechanism that helps you as a developer leverage your skills and code across tools. SWF offers a lot of advantages in that regard. –J.]
    Maybe current examples included with CS3 are not good ones, but for instance at least one of Firework’s Flash based panels does not quite work right. Maybe that’s the developer’s fault, but since it’s included by Adobe with Fireworks it sends a signal that these types of interfaces are flaky.
    [A number of folks in Adobe’s design group are working on UI components & specs that should help drive good practices here. They’d agree with all the points you’re making, and I’ll make sure they see these comments & use them as ammo when pushing for spit and polish. –J.]

  3. I think you have to think more in terms of Bridge. I know that Bridge is not regarded as the most stable app, and its use is marred by the mere existence of Lightroom, but it is utterly extensible.
    Here’s a proof of concept that adds geotagging of photos to Bridge, using a Google Maps interface:

  4. My experience with Flash/Air is that it has a non-native-feel and behaviour.
    Flash is a system within a system.
    Please John, don’t let Photoshop run inside a window on Macs like some screenshots of a future version floating around indicated.
    [I wouldn’t draw *any* conclusions from info people disregarding confidentiality agreements, purporting to represent unfinished/unannounced software. I’ll have more info to share about our thoughts on future Photoshop UI soon. –J.]
    I think Finder-Integration and the perfect use of System-Level-Native-Code will show a responsive and intuitive app. Even if that would mean more work.

  5. Oh hell, this sounds really horrible. Now you’re going to use Flash for a consistent codebase? What about your customers? They are screaming and begging, just for a little more native feel on their respective platforms (be it a Mac or Windows PC).
    And please, finally give us a consistent UI between the apps in the suite.
    It seems all Adobe is capable of doing nowadays is making it’s own life easier instead of making their customers lifes easier and give them what they really want. Thankfully some apps in the CS get some competition, good enough to be prefered by more and more designstudents at my university.

  6. wow… this is so far away from the reality of day to day use of the cs apps that i really can’t believe my eyes…
    using words like “empowering” or “richness” or “facilitating” would have made this piece a perfect ballmer/gates statement.
    [So now you’re slagging me for *not* saying things you would have found annoying? Hilarious. –J.]
    how about real new features?
    [Please point out the part where I said that this is the one and only thing we’d be doing, ever. –J.]
    why build (with a lot of time and effort i assume) the pretty good interface for after effects and then build something else in photoshop and the other cs3 apps?
    [Two reasons: The video apps started with a different code base, and they have different UI needs (e.g. everything revolving around a single open project). On the first note, we’ll continue to work to unify things. We’re moving in the right direction. –J.]
    why not use the UI toolbox (on the mac at least) and just build a few specific buttons?
    as jin kin said, the user experience isn’t going to get better at all. The only thing i see here is a pretty desperate marketing effort to get people to talk about flash again and to have what they call a “business advantage” that looks good to bean counters on paper.
    [Did you notice that the three examples I provided of what could be enabled via Flash panels (greater configurability, color harmony creation/sharing, and integrated help) have all received very warm responses in this blog? (Sorry, I know that doesn’t fit with your narrative.) –J.]
    the only thing adobe is in desperate need of is for it’s customers to jump ship. then maybe the company will have the motivation again to build excellent products that people buy because they like and not because they are forced to.
    look at what nearly vanishing has done to apple in the last decade.
    oh, and what happened to that photoshop family bubble logo? see?

  7. Using Flash/Flex/AIR to extend & transform the Creative Suite is NOT “up my alley” — and is very unlikely to be welcomed by most serious and PROFESSIONAL users.
    It seems that these crazy ideas are coming from a bunch of thoroughly immature Marketing people who have absolutely no idea how to actually use Photoshop.
    If you fill Photoshop, and the other [b]Adobe[/b} programs, with any more horrible Macromedia-based content (such as this insane proposal to impose Flash on top of the dreadful GUI that you foisted on us in CS3) — a lot of the people who always have bought every single Adobe Upgrade the moment that it shipped, are simply going to “sit-out” CS4.
    Put this sort of junk into a “Creative Suites Elements” if you must — but please don’t wreck Adobe’s superb Professional-level programs with this inanity.

  8. Wow – unbelievable. So, for the people who work all day in a Corporate design group will have “sort-of” functionality like the failure of Bridge home to be accessible through the firewall? All that “content” and “richness” is just a blank box for us at my Day Job.
    [We should figure out what in your configuration is preventing connectivity. In any case, connectivity is only part of the story–a very important one, but by no means the only one. –J.]
    I love the Adobe Creative Suite and have used it for years, but this absolutely does NOT sound like a positive. It sounds like the UI delay of Kuler’s palette, more UI inconsistency like the afore-mentioned scroll wheel problem and non-adherence to OS conventions (Mac or Windows). All that sort of stuff is just a distraction and another level of mental adjustment that keeps the action of working and creating from being as smooth as possible. Consistency with the OS of choice (palette controls, dialog boxes, window controls), with other members of the Creative Suite (scroll wheel works in palettes on PS and ID but NOT in IL?? WTF)
    [The scroll wheel thing in AI is a legacy issue and isn’t related to Flash. I absolutely agree that we need to sort those things out, and you see us working on that process with the new UI introduced in CS3. No one said it would be an easy, fast, overnight process, but it *is* happening. SWF panels are just one part of the story. –J.]
    and improvements to the general UX like fixing the freaking installers, starting from scratch with Adobe Updater and doing something about the performance and the wacked out interface of Acrobat would be a great place to start IMO.
    Please don’t start filling up the apps with this sort of internet enabled “richness” unless it can be completely hidden and is without any sort of performance hit if you decide not to use AND the above issues have some solution.
    [Those are all perfectly fair requirements. –J.]

  9. I think what Adobe needs is some serious competitor doing everything right were to get Adobe back down to earth and giving customers what they really want (native code and a UI that feels natural on the respective system).
    I’m thinking of a situation like Quark XPress vs. inDesign. When Quark lost touch with its customers and their needs, inDesign seemed like a „glass of iced water in hell“ to many of us.
    Now I want a Photoshop/Illustrator alternative to shake some sanity into Adobe.

  10. / *
    there are a lot of valid points made here about UI consistency, usability issues and feeling like a native app, all of which are taken into account and being addressed. emulating the look, feel and functionality of non-SWF panels is not an impossible goal to achieve.
    i would simply suggest giving this feature time to breath and grow into its own, keeping in mind that using any SWF panel is optional. will it be ‘perfect’ coming out of the gate… we’ll get as close as we realistically can. but from my personal perspective as an avid end-user, the inclusion of SWF panels and the ability for 3rd parties to develop them addresses a larger issue: there will be great enhancements to new releases, but we won’t always get everything we want due to priorities (business, legal, technical, you name it) and resource allocation that are simply beyond our control. with adobe opening up the back door a little further, they are allowing third parties to create tools that enhance the app(s) further then they possibly could during the current dev cycle, with the ability of maintaining consistent functionality, look and feel across all platforms and app(s).
    realistically, in the end we will end up with a spectrum of SWF panels developed by adobe and 3rd parties, with some of them really just missing the mark, LOL. however, i can see the potential and am willing to dedicate this piece of my life in hopes of either developing, helping others develop or simply using a new tool that streamlines our creative workflow, pushes our creativity a step further and inspires us a little bit more than yesterday.
    * /

  11. Thank you, John.
    I am feeling much better now.
    Seriously, tho’ – I get concerned that the apps will be “wrecked” when I hear of stuff like this (I know I am not alone).
    [Those are concerns I share. We’re not going to let Photoshop become a junk drawer of blinking, blooping crap. It’s disappointing when people jump to that conclusion. –J.]
    I like cool, crazy stuff and want you all to enjoy your jobs, too. But this is serious software that people depend on to put food on the table. They aren’t broken and very little is troublesome – so be careful. Users first, right?
    [Absolutely. The essence of what I’m proposing is to make it possible to make Photoshop (and the other Suite apps) “Everything you want, nothing you don’t.”
    Users should be able to get the tools they need, whether or not those tools come from Adobe. (*Believe me*, I wish we could do everything, and no one is more frustrated than I am when we can’t.) The more efficient we can make Creative Suite development, the more developers will deliver great tools for users. Everyone wins. As I said up above, it’s a very simple idea. –J.]

  12. I really like the idea of extensibility in the platform. Being able to use the richness of Flex, Flash and AIR to build new functionality is a great idea. This will make life in the design enterprise a lot easier by allowing us to build automations that Adobe didn’t necessarily think of in product design. I suspect many creative professionals will readily embrace this.

  13. Ann is right (as usually), this is not for professionals but for Elements versions.
    How many years have we asked for simple things like a decent way to deal with spot channels and a properly working channels panel?
    [What, specifically, would you like to see changed there? (It’s not that I’m unaware of issues/requests. I just want to hear yours.) –J.]
    What do we get, more UI degeneration with every version. You’re not moving into the right direction!
    First make things simpler and more customizable and only OFFER new ideas and features for those who want them.
    [Did I not *JUST SAY* that the point here is to increase customizability? I don’t believe that one size fits all, to say the least, and therefore we’ve been working to make things more modular, flexible, and configurable. –J.]
    I wish there was more competition so we could just boycott you for all that ignorance. You’re like the Quark people when they had no competition, I’ll call you Quadobe.
    “Nobody says it would be an easy process…” You act as if it was our task to produce it, apparently your forgot that we buy it. How about giving us what we ask for?
    [My point is simply that modifying the behavior of a dozen-plus mature applications isn’t an overnight endeavor. (If it were, people would object to the shock.) If you want to emphasize the negative, pointing out things that haven’t yet been done, you’re welcome to do so, and you’ll never run out of fodder. Meanwhile we’ll keep moving things forward, showing the results by degree. –J.]
    This is not a playground for you to experiment, it is a great suite that becomes a pain in the ass to use.

  14. Will flashpanels in the CS-apps be as demanding hogs as Flash on a Mac in general is?
    I turned off flash in the browser and hope not be be annoyed by contstantly running fans because Adobe got wet dreams about using Flash for everything right now.

  15. The marketing team has taken over Adobe. The Suite concept was the first intimation forcing timed releases across the board without regard to utility or value. Photoshop needs to have the engineers in charge for a version or two to tighten it up and deal with nagging problems and functional changes which would make the program better for actual professional users not flashier to satisfy the illusions of marketing hype. I can see it now, Photoshop Vista, “Better Imaging Through Bloatware™”.

  16. >My point is simply that modifying the behavior of a dozen-plus mature applications isn’t an overnight endeavor. >
    I would prefer that you didn’t attempt any more of your “modifications” — the ones that you made to the GUI in CS3 were all excruciating!
    What do we need to have fixed?
    Well the same “To-do List” hasn’t changed much since v.7 — as you would see if you took the trouble to read the “Feature Requests” Forum.
    First, put the palettes back to the way that they were in CS2.
    Then perhaps you would address the multitude of other requests concerning such basics as multiple path- and channel-deletion, and a split History palette and that’s just for starters ….

  17. regarding your comments on my comment:
    well as an after effects user i wish i could have more than one project open at one time on one machine (not importing projects into the open one). so much for that.
    interface wise i was talking about the new stuff introduced in AE7 with the big yellow border around palettes you move around and the hghlighted drop zones that show you the four borders or the tab area you can drop stuff into.
    of course you know the history of these things better than me but from an outsiders perspective it looks like you dropped almost everything from the interface of version 6 and before.
    regarding the UI examples:
    well the implementation of color harmony into illustrator is one of the worst interfaces i’ve ever seen (and of a feature i’ve actually looked forward to using too).
    i wouldn’t write that if i didn’t care you know. and i’m sorry if i come across a bit too harsh maybe. but i just can’t shake the feeling that something is very wrong inside your company and things like that are the symptoms.
    tell me with a straight face that someone actually said “hey the kuler integration in illustrator is really great”.
    [I wasn’t talking about CS3. –J.]
    the biggest advantage of using adobe apps for me has always been that you can bend then into anything you want. take 100 different people and you can observe 100 different ways to use photoshop.
    point is that this only works with relatively generic tools.
    a screwdriver you can use for what it was made for. you can however also open a can with it if you have to, use it as a lever and so on…
    when the focus of making a tool in the best possible way however is lost and the tools are remade to do anything, simply because the toolmaker doesn’t know anymore who his clients are, then things get messy.
    believe me i care. i don’t sit here writing this in my spare time and a foreign language just for fun.
    if you really want to change things for the better:
    -kill bridge. shift manpower to better things.
    -kill version cue. shift manpower to better things.
    -shift the majority of your manpower to photoshop, illustrator, indesign, after effects, dreamweaver (and flash if you really must).
    -take a look at the long gone Apple Media Tool UI wise and take some clues there for creating a killer interface for all apps that generate interactive content (flash, your dvd authoring solution and such).
    -do more things like the new ability to share color swatches through different applications and do them more nicely/obvious (hey, it only took you eleven or so versions to get there).
    -remove that fill and stroke element in illustrator that’s supposed to look like foreground/background color in photoshop. go back to the way you did this in illustrator 5 or something evolved from that.
    -go through ALL dialogue boxes, preference windows and such and make them resizable or at least make them bigger. i think you can safely remove Macintosh Plus screen compatibility by now.
    in this thread at least it seems i’m kinda missing the “very warm responses”.
    [I wasn’t talking about this thread; please see the links above. –J.]
    i’m sure you and your colleagues are hard workers and i respect that. for everything we ask you have to take appart a hundred things we don’t even think about or see. again: i respect that a lot.
    it’s just that in recent years your company comes across as this faceless swamp thing that just does what it wants without any regard to how people work. and denial doesnt make things better either.

  18. Sounds like alot of perceived pessimism about the future. But you knew that since you’re on the pulse of the PS community.
    For me it would be great if the palettes in all apps look the same (Q: Why does inDesign not have borders on it’s toolbar buttons? Why the mustard-yellow borders in After Effects? A: because someone on those teams likes it that way). So will the new panels all be stylized and dark gray like LR and PSexpress and AdobeShare? Will it feel like MySpace or PhotoShop? As a user, surely you understand the concerns for science-fiction getting out of control.
    Greg Wostrel: I like cool, crazy stuff and want you all to enjoy your jobs, too. But this is serious software that people depend on to put food on the table. They aren’t broken and very little is troublesome – so be careful. Users first, right?
    Quite right.
    But wait! You’ve heard us say this before, so go and do it, and be open to changes in the Public Beta.
    (those pesky customers!)

  19. Ann, what exactly is crazy or fearful of allowing future versions of PS to be more open to third party enhancements? We are all familiar with app bloat but such extensibility and customization is what should appeal to “serious and PROFESSIONAL users”.
    Flash/Flex are developers’ tools. If you had a poor experience with SWF in the past, blame the developer/artist/programmer, not the technology foundation.
    It is beyond reason why Ann is so cranky and insulting.

  20. Have you ever used Fireworks with SWF panels?
    They’re a nice idea, but if you use more than one they’re slow, kludgey, don’t fit in main UI of the app, and do nasty things like steal focus so keyboard shortcuts don’t work and are generally a poor hack job that looks ugly and acts ugly.
    Please don’t do this.
    [Again, it’s important not to let previous implementations decide your whole outlook. You can’t visit a badly designed Web page and conclude that HTML sucks. You *can* conclude that doing something well usually takes time, effort, and discipline. –J.]

  21. p.s. The way you could write extensions and panels for Dreamweaver in Javascript which matched the native UI is much better than any Flash panel I’ve seen.
    (And I love Flash, I use it almost daily, but right tool for the job, and all that)
    [Photoshop, Bridge, and other Adobe apps can be extended through ScriptUI, a system that lets you build UI elements via JavaScript (well, technically ExtendScript, but it’s all essentially the same thing). That’s how we do things like the Image Processor script. It’s great for some things & not for others. The Flash Player offers a more complete, more flexible environment for creating controls & displaying content. Diff’rent strokes… –J.]

  22. Okay, I will just ask again.
    The Flashplugin on OS X is actually one of the worst pieces of software out there.
    I suppose a similar player/enginge/codebase will be needed for those flashpalettes. Will it be completely rewritten or be such a horrible mass the browser plugin currently is.
    Another question:
    Will you ever, ever, ever consider using a native OS X UI or OS X Features? You know, Spotlightplugins and a really, really good Quicklook-Plugin. Apples inline-search etc?
    The Adobe apps feel so alien on my Mac, as well as Windows.

  23. I make some ExtendScripts. I would like to see more hooks into Photoshop, though. Preferably, I’d be able to do anything with scripting that I can do manually. Also I’d like to be able to record everything that a Photoshop user does, even brush strokes. Scripts should be able to listen for just about any user action, too.
    I’m not as concerned about the UI tools until scripting is more capable.
    I recently got a painting program for my Nintendo DS called “Colors!” that records brush strokes, so you can play back a painting to see how it was done. You can even export these strokes to a Java Applet to draw the picture out at a larger size. It would be neat if I could make a script to do something similar with Photoshop.

  24. david;
    / *
    the ScriptingListener.plugin will allow you to listen to a large portion of what’s going on behind the scenes and , as i’m sure you know, is easy to repurpose the code it generates for your own scripts. in relation to listening for brush strokes, i have a similar desire to do so, and although it is not included in the PS DOM and it’s one of those items the ScriptingListener can not listen for, i found a nice work around. you can do so by drawing paths via your code and applying a stroke to the paths using any of the existing tools that you normally would manually stroke a path with, including brushes.
    in this example, i used an AIR app that contains sprites that are moving around semi-autonomously. for each sprite/brush stroke, its speed is defined by the audio amplitude of a musical instrument and the direction is influenced by trying to avoid obstacles that i’m dropping in its way. their positions are recording and when i’m finished, i click on a button and it automatically begins to paint over a series of frames in photoshop using the path technique. that might be a bit extreme, but it’s a good example of how we could integrate some of flash’s strengths – namely it’s ability to handle motion and interactivity.
    here’s another example of dynamically drawing paths, with the objective of isolating the paths to only the areas of the sequence of images where there is motion so that i could apply an effect to only that area.
    if you’re looking for a more practical example of streamlining workflows, for this project i needed to download ~16,000 images and import/position/scale/mask them in AI in order to create ~1,000 different posters. the text was added and formatted dynamically for the titles.
    * /

  25. The Adobe Fireworks User Group, Fire On The Bay Is holding a Special Event on May 27 at the San Francisco offices. Check out http://www.fireonthebay.org/ for more details and to RSVP. Great Demos and Great way to meet the team behind some of these amazing products. I know there will be some demoing of the flash panels in fireworks, have you tried the kuler one? its very handy.

  26. Sorry, this is the completely wrong focus for improving the CS range.
    Adobe have lost a lot of ground with the actual functionality and flow of the features, slowly slipping with each release. (I’ve been with PS since v2). Illustrator is just as bad now.
    That’s where the focus needs to be, not in how it looks.
    [Where did I say that the work we’re undertaking has anything to do with how the application looks? –J.]
    For many professional users, they couldn’t care less what it looks like, it’s the actual functionality and flow that’s important.
    If you want I can take the time to go through several places where the old UI logic and behaviour has either been lost or not adhered to in new features.
    There are also countless examples of UI inadaquacies beyond the tool bar.
    [Please supply examples. Otherwise there’s nothing I can do to understand the nature of your complaint or to offer any remedy. –J.]
    This creates speed bumps. There is no point in painting flames down the size of a car that needs a rebuild.
    I will happily put my time into discussing these matters via email if your interested.
    Or I can just list them here ad infinitum/nauseum.
    [I’d much prefer specifics to hearing just that everything sucks. –J.]

  27. I have quite a list!
    I’m happy to spend a few hours putting them across via email if that’s easier. Or we can take them one by one here.
    Starter for 10. The new maximised screen mode on Mac CS3. Now, I can’t see what this offers, except the same as the next mode, without the p’pan beyond bounds’ capability. So it’s an extra hoop jump.
    Added to which, in CS2 you could hold 2 docs in 2 different screen modes, which you can’t in CS3, which means you have to continually loop all the modes to see something side by side.
    I might really be missing something here though.
    A suggestion would be to lose the new mode, make ‘pan beyond bounds’ available in all modes, not just the last 2.
    And if you can, stop the image bouncing up and down everytime I hide reveal/toolbar. If i panned the document off the screen for a reason, I dont want it centred back again to enable me to see a palette (ie for adjusting an adjustment layer)
    Lots and lots and lots of stuff like that.

  28. Users can make the same feature requests for years and be ignored. It’s hard to argue on market share but that’s not a true reflection of promise or best features.
    The Flash panel for color harmony is pretty weak compared to the products that have been released over the years, though sharing is cool.
    [I assume you’re referring to the very limited, experimental version shipping in AICS3. –J.]
    Inside the bureaucracy it might be hard to accept, but something is not so good somewhere. It’s hard to see how user visits, beta testers, and plain common sense don’t make things better.
    Making web apps may be fine for expansion into new markets but not for the core apps, which should keep building on the strengths of the 2 main OSs.
    In any case, adding Dr. Woohoo is a good move to help build more bridges needed between apps that need it.

  29. Does ANY of you Adobe people ever go to the feature requests forum? There are so many useful requests and you keep ignoring them and come up with more UI destruction instead.
    [“More UI destruction”… Thanks, again, for judging without seeing. –J.]
    Why do you do this, we keep telling you that we don’t want it but you just don’t listen, what’s wrong with you?

  30. Wow… I’m shocked at the negative reaction. Especially compared to the overwhelming positive reaction seen at FITC Toronto and among the Flash community in general.
    To all the people complaining, did anyone take a look links provided to see what Dr. Woohoo has done with Flash and AIR applicaitons together with Illustrator and Photoshop?
    On one side one of the more simple examples that Dr. Woohoo demoed at FITC is browsing Flickr images inside of the SWF pallet inside of Illustrator and then when the user selects an image the main colours from that image are then used to popular a Swatch pallet. A more complex example, was Dr. Woohoo creating randomized artwork via an AIR application controlling Photoshop. Something for more professional users, is that a Flash/AIR application can be custom built to do repetative tasks. Sort of like the Photoshop Actions panel but with it being more custimizable, portable in sharing SWF files and working across the CS suite.
    It’s unfortunate that some of the badly designed Flash websites out that have tainted some people’s view of Flash. Meanwhile others seem to have the misconception that Flash will be taking over CS software, rather than an SWF working inside of a panel that is then able to control CS applications, or possibly an AIR application (which can have any UI including the native UI if the developer chooses) that can manipulate and pass information and assets between CS programs. I imagine designers and developers from the web world who are more familar with Flash (and likely have access to a Flash developer to build some custom applicaitons for them) are the ones to see the great posibiltiies available with this move that Adobe is doing.
    This is great news for users wishing to extend CS tools for artistic reasons as Dr. Woohoo has shown with his incredible videos and artwork. Plus this is also great news in to increasing productivity with Flash applications that automate custom workflows between CS products.

  31. I would prefer Adobe fix all the outdated junk already cluttering up Photoshop, like improving the filters. For example, Radial Blur still has the same crappy imprecise controls as it did 10 years ago. What if I want to precisely locate a radial blur? Fat chance! Give us real tools that we can use, & not a bunch of flashy nonsense. If Adobe keeps ruining Photoshop, it will be time for Apple to show they can do better. Time for a Photoshop Killer, Mr. Jobs.
    [You know, the timing here is funny: Just yesterday we got back a survey of 4,824 Photoshop and Suite customers across North America, Europe and Japan. On a scale of 1-7 (7 being best), what percentage do you think rated Photoshop a 6 or a 7? Answer: 89%. 10% rated PS a 4 or a 5.
    Being perfectionists, we of course say, “What’s up with that other 1%?? What have we done wrong?” And of course we should be doing just that, always seeking to make the product better. But let’s also be honest and say that a great many customers are very happy. (This isn’t marketing hype or spin or whatever you want to call it: I’m simply passing along what people are telling us.)
    Are there some archaic parts of Photoshop? You bet. (You’re preaching to the choir.) We can’t change everything at once, but we *can* make the app far more flexible–more open to developers and customers themselves tweaking the experience to suit their particular needs. And that, at the end of the day, is exactly what I’m talking about in the post above. –J.]

  32. Matthew Fabb is mostly right.
    I notice from his link he refers to himself as a developer. Looks like Designers like me, even those of us who are comfortable with actionscript, are suspicious, while developers are enthusiastic. So maybe John’s PS guys should come up with some looks (and feels) for us more visual types who aren’t as good with the ‘proposal’ type thinking. If that’s not good for confidentiality, then well have to be suspicious until it actually IS look-at-able.

  33. Judging without seeing perhaps, but as others have raised here, there is a whole slew of Feature Requests and fixes that seemingly get ignored, so the general feeling is that this could be a distraction of resources.
    The problem is that there are so many examples of 1/2 though implementations in the apps and broken flows that the thought of something else being added before these are fixed is quite alarming.
    Forget the stuff that makes marketing/PR and blogs sing…concentrate on the dull stuff that needs doing now.
    [Believe it or not, that’s what can be enabled by what I’m describing. Example: Why is the only non-dialog-based color picker in Photoshop the same size it was in version 1.0–the tiny little color ramp on the Color panel? What if Adobe or any other developer (e.g. Drew) could drop in other interesting color pickers that wouldn’t require a trip through a dialog? Is that not exactly the kind of unglamorous but important tweak you have in mind? (Whether you care about this particular example depends on how you work, whether you do a lot of painting/color sampling, etc. It’s just one example, and the overall point remains.) –J.]

  34. >What if Adobe or any other developer (e.g. Drew) could drop in other interesting color pickers that wouldn’t require a trip through a dialog? >
    The Color Picker, which is available with a simple click on the fore- or back-ground color box, is all that is needed.
    Making it possible to keep that dialog permanently open, if the user so desires, would be a useful addition — then you could get rid of the useless “Color Palette” entirely.
    I can’t see any reason for creating any other “interesting color pickers”.
    [Kuler is already easily accessible if you need it.]

  35. The last thing we need is a profusion of “interesting color pickers”. Adobe should update it’s color model and have non modal info, pickers, and tools available in a manner similar to Discreet/Autodesk (even in the lower end Combustion).
    A new unified color model could be standard in every app, instead a profusion of conflicting Flash palettes competing for mind share. Not that Flash palettes are bad, but is it possible to get things like Magic Bullet Looks in a Flash palette. Even Photoshop people might want to look at that interface.
    Better color controls would be great even if it meant that Photoshop had to edit nondestructively. That and borrowing things from After Effects make sense, even if just the filter model at first. I’m sure their are many examples of possible cross-pollination between apps.

  36. Right, Anne, and because YOU don’t see the need for an improved colour picker that’s the end of the discussion?
    I keep forgetting that you’re the only professional out there using Photoshop – the rest of us are hacks and part timers who contribute nothing.
    Still double profiling your prints in order to “fix” your colour managed workflow?
    Why is it that people take the attitude of “well, I don’t want it, no one should want it”?

  37. Although I am not a huge fan of Flash, the non-modal panel extensibilty sounds promising. Combined with further improvements to scripting this could be quite useful. Scripting seems to have not kept up with the improvements in Photoshop (e.g. how do you figure out if there are multiple layers selected as allowed in CS2 and higher)?
    I think little details like scroll wheel functionality will play a large role in how this Flash idea will be accepted.

  38. “What percentage do you think rated Photoshop a 6 or a 7?” How about asking us how we rate the CS3 Gui compared to 7 and CS2? Go to the feature requests and solve the main problems, THEN think about “interesting color pickers”.
    [I’ll share more details about interface plans soon. In the meantime, thanks again for presuming that we’re doing nothing (nothing, I tell you!) to address the fundamentals of Photoshop. It’s such a drag to have my villainous mustache-twirling interrupted… –J.]

  39. Here is some tips i think a lot of user will agree on:
    – More UI consistency and OS integration.
    – Refresh all the old filters, dialogs, and panels.
    [Sorry, but those are unhelpfully broad (and thus unactionable) suggestions. Do you really care about us improving Plastic Wrap or Sumi-e or Solarize? No? Then please tell me what you actually care about instead of saying “boil the ocean.” –J.]
    – Mac only:
    Please take a look at these apps for UI inspiration.
    Pixelmator (Photoshop)
    Apple Aperture (Photoshop)
    VectorDesigner (Illustrator)
    Coda (Dreamweaver)
    CSSEdit (Dreamweaver)
    – Why not read the request forum once a while, and actually listening to the users. In the recent CS versions it feels you’re just ignoring the user requests.
    [I don’t know what to tell you. Photoshop isn’t perfect; Adobe isn’t perfect; I’m not perfect. But on the whole, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this thread, customers are telling us they’re pretty happy–more so than they were in CS2. We’re not putting words in anyone’s mouth.
    We didn’t just shovel in a bunch of blinky new stuff in CS3: we went back and made a bunch of tweaks to things like Brightness/Contrast (now using a better algorithm without removing the old one), the way cloning and healing interact with adjustment layers (much more control), the way selections are feathered and modified (now in a 1-stop interactive dialog), the way you can select parts of the image (Quick Select), the way filters work (now optionally staying re-editable), the way raw files are processed (more control, Smart Object conversion) and more. Some of these things make it into a feature list; most don’t. You will always be able to find examples of things that we haven’t yet done, but saying that we’re “just ignoring the user requests” is inaccurate. –J.]
    – Maybe a little bit more creative app icons the next time?
    – Mac only: It’s 2008 and Adobe apps is still not using Cocoa, 64-bit on any app, or even planning on doing it in CS4.
    [Two questions: 1. Which company is shipping the first mainstream 64-bit Mac app? Five letters, starts with “A”, isn’t Apple… 2. Besides the recently imposed 64-bit differentiator, what functional benefits does converting from Carbon to Cocoa provide? Please inform the Final Cut, Finder, and iTunes teams of your findings. –J.]
    – You should have an official request voting system, like this one: http://suggestions.yahoo.com/?prop=Pipes
    – I’m no expert, but using the graphics card to take some of the load off the processor seems like a really good idea. Core Image, OpenGL…
    [Have you been reading anything on this blog besides this one post? And by the way, saying “use Core Image” isn’t helpful, as that’s a particular implementation possibility that has pros and cons (as they all do). It’s much more helpful to speak in terms of problems you want solved (e.g. make image display, filters, etc. faster and smoother in Photoshop) and let us figure out the best way to get there. –J.]
    – Fireworks should really have it’s own file formats, it annoying that it’s using .png.
    [I don’t know why you say so, but it doesn’t really matter to me as that’s far off topic from Photoshop. –J.]
    – Adobe could learn a lot from Indie developers, especially the ones developing for Mac.
    – I must say that after working a lot in Coda, starting Dreamweaver just feels like bloatware deluxe. Keywords: OS integration, startup time, UI.
    On the SWF panels discussion:
    I think it’s a great idea, but it has to be executed well. Before CS4 gets out we’ll get the final version of Flash 10 that will help alot on UI and speed. But it’s still up to you to do it right, don’t do to the world what Microsoft did with Windows Vista. Please!
    All this doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate all the hard work you guys are doing, it just feels like your heading in a slightly wrong direction.

  40. >Why is it that people take the attitude of “well, I don’t want it, no one should want it”?
    You are missing the point:
    Some of us would just like to be assured that our repeated Requests for the much needed improvement of EXISTING Features (and these same requests have repeatedly been made over numerous Photoshop “cycles” by many different users) will actually be addressed this time — BEFORE you allow yourselves the luxury of adding frivolous flashy frilly bits which may make you whoop with joy at your own cleverness but probably won’t be particularly useful to too many of your customers on a day to day basis.
    [My colleagues frequently bemoan the constant whooping. –J.]
    In other words, please get the Basics right first this time; and concentrate on maintaining stability (with no snafus like the Print debacle of CS3!) — before you entertain yourselves playing with bells and whistles.
    Seems a simple-enough request?

  41. Honestly, Anne, you’re one of very few “professionals” I know who has constant trouble with printing. I’ve tried to help you before here on John’s blog but you pretty much refuse to take any advice.
    In the last twelve months I’ve printed hundreds of images for major exhibitions and awards for many of the country’s top photographers and a number from overseas as well. No problems.
    There’s no doubt there were and are things that needed attention, but 10.0.1 addressed most of those and Dave P. has posted some time back to indicate that work continues to improve printing.
    So, in what way is Adobe ignoring printing given that it is already quite functional and effective and they are continue to work on it having already provided a dot release to address some known issues?
    The fact that you are having problems when most users are not says clearly to me that you have an issue with either your workflow or your setup. Fix that and you’ll fix your problems, but until you’re prepared to listen to what others have to say and suggest I doubt you’ll get anywhere which is unfortuante.

  42. >”We didn’t just shovel in a bunch of blinky new stuff in CS3: we went back and made a bunch of tweaks to things like Brightness/Contrast (now using a better algorithm without removing the old one), the way cloning and healing interact with adjustment layers (much more control), the way selections are feathered and modified (now in a 1-stop interactive dialog), the way you can select parts of the image (Quick Select), the way filters work (now optionally staying re-editable), the way raw files are processed (more control, Smart Object conversion) and more. Some of these things make it into a feature list; most don’t. You will always be able to find examples of things that we haven’t yet done, but saying that we’re “just ignoring the user requests” is inaccurate. –J.”

  43. “What if Adobe or any other developer…”
    This is not the time to start opening up the app again to 3rd party development, which gets dropped 3-4 versions down the line. We’ve been through that with filters etc…often frivilous.
    You need to add the work, not just leave the door open for developers to come and go as they please.
    A much better use of resources would be to look at the UI complaints, and the workflow complaints, even those raised on your very own forums. Develop a proper feedback interface with your customer base, not a one person blog, an ignored feature request archive, a support forum without official Adobe presence, a beta test with feedback actually dismissed.
    Actually issue point releases.
    Of course, it might not make pretty PR, but then someone might have to think about market saturation…and to be honest the profile of Adobe in the UK looks after itself.
    So, there is no answer as to why the display modes for 2 docs cant be held in different states in 2 docs?
    Why is it when i create a layer with a selection active, it creates a layer mask, but when i create a group of layers it doesn’t?
    Why are the filters 13 years old? You can fill pages with the problems these have. Why can’t we turn off the abonimable filter gallery?
    Why cant i position the centre for a radial blur on the image, perhaps using guides? (so i can retain the point in the workflow…live filters dont cut it)
    Why does lens flare still have a preview bug?
    Why does export for paths randomly drop .ai extension for the past 5 versions?
    Why does the crop tool try to autofill a nearest number when the dimensions are left blank?
    Why does the warp tool lack all the features that its sister application AI have?
    Why cant we make paths into guides and vice versa?
    Why is there no scissors or boolean tools on paths?
    Why does CM setting default to strip profiles?( as far as i remember)
    Why on earth did Adobe make the airbrush a subset feature of the brush tool requiring more brush shapes to be saved?
    Why can you select a brush on the flyout menu, but not the opacity? Why can you invoke and use it without the keyboard, but not close it without it?
    Why did the link icon column on the palette have to go, what exactly did it interfere with on the new group feature?
    Why does the new 3d lack the ability to alter lighting, and why was it even added?
    Why does exposure in HDR work differently when open as compared to when saving?
    Why do you think people are not hooping and hollaring with the general UI/capability thinking so far published?
    As someone has said, it seems the original development ethos of old at Adobe on PS has gone or dropped behind the line. If you had some competition, this blog would be totally different.

  44. Thank you, couldn’t had said it better myself!
    By the way, i just found Adobe on getsatisfaction.com/adobe
    It’s very good platform to communicate with users.

  45. I’m looking forward to the integration of SWF. As developer for productive workflows in our lab, I do a lot of ExtendScript programming. But I hate to code ScriptUI. So if the integration works properly I will be happy to give the gui-part of my work to a flash developer :), and put my focus to the funtionallity.
    The vision of communication with our (photographer)-customers in their professional environment (photoshop, bridge) is very promising.
    Markus Selbach

  46. So help us all if Adobe starts throwing Flash UI crap all over Photoshop. The Flash Player for Mac is absolutely despicable, so if you put that junk in front of professionals prepare to reap the whirlwind Adobe!
    [You aren’t familiar with what I have in mind. Of course, that’s never stopped people from commenting here. –J.]

  47. Wow I can’t read any more negative comments! What the heck is the matter with these people?! Complaining about how the tool gets harder and harder to use?!! Are you kidding me? Maybe its because you are getting more and more carpel tunnel in your wrist? Because CS2 was by far one of the biggest enhancements in usability with the new layers palette alone. Look at CS4 and truly tell me its totally backwards… seriously? The rotating and zooming is going to feel so naturally now, and the masks panel and adjustment panel, its all better. Why do you distrust Adobe so much? The company who gave you the tools you needed to eat that food on that plate that you are whining about so much? Everytime you open Photoshop it must be such a drag… “Oh no I have to use Photoshop again, I’m so unfamiliar with it and its so hard to use”. I don’t think so. Something tells me that if your anything like the thousands of other users out there, you open it up and zip around like a crazy person, with the efficiency of an ant army. Get it straight. I’m not sure where you whiners come from but around here I never hear “Well I think I am just gonna make this in GIMP/CorelDraw/etc because I just work better in that program.”

  48. Dear Kenmore, you do a nice job of making a range that I’m able to reliably cook my food with every day. I’m very happy that you have come in to my home, found your place in the kitchen and have focused in on doing what you do best. Thank you so much for leaving the rest of the kitchen (and the house for that matter) alone and trusting the look, flow, feel and overall functionality of the place to those that know best, i.e., not you Kenmore, because as we established, you are the cooking expert! Thank you Kenmore for understanding that it would not make people very happy if your ranges were invited into our homes only to start trying to tell us that the structure and layout of the entire house wasn’t right for cooking tasks. Some ranges might think that the counters were in the wrong place, the sink by the wrong wall, the fridge in the wrong corner, the lights too dim, and the windows on the wrong side. The great news is that you don’t have to worry about any of this because we found the best minds in the world for figuring out all of that other stuff, so you can stick to doing what it is you’re good at! Thanks again Kenmore for not overstepping your welcome and trying to “fix” something that you have never been good at in the first place!
    Dear Adobe, you do a decent job of offering image processing technology (once upon a time you did a great job, but that’s another story for another day). I’m very happy that you have been installed on my system and that you have found your place in the pipeline and have focused in on doing what you do best. Thank you so much for leaving the rest of the system alone and trusting the look, flow, feel and overall functionality of the system to those that know best, i.e., not you Adobe, because as we established, you are the image processing expert! Thank you Adobe for understanding that it would not make people very happy if your software were installed onto our systems only to start trying to reinvent the look, feel, flow, and overall usability of our system, a system that has been honed by absolute experts to be consistent and reliable across a multitude of applications and not just your image processing capablities. So thanks again Adobe for not barging onto our systems and trying to disrupt and undo the refined user experience so carefully designed and crafted by our Operating System gurus, something that you have never been good at anyways, hence clearing the path for you to focus on what you do best, help users to process images!

  49. On one side one of the more simple examples that Dr. Woohoo demoed at FITC is browsing Flickr images inside of the SWF pallet inside of Illustrator and then when the user selects an image the main colours from that image are then used to popular a Swatch pallet.

    Are you kidding me? Are we on candid camera or something? Please tell me you aren’t serious.

  50. God I hate Adobe. Get your Flash player off my MAC!!!!! It’s no wonder they don’t want your junk on their iphones!

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