Last night, I sat through part of Adobe’s CS3 launch and must admit that I came away intrigued. Products from the Macromedia stable have been very much brought under the Adobe umbrella and progressed to boot. One of these that attracts my interest in Dreamweaver and Adobe is promoting its AJAX capabilities (using the Spry library), its browser compatibility checking facility and integration with Photoshop, among other things. Dreamweaver’s CSS support also gets taken forward. In addition, Dreamweaver can now integrate with Adobe Bridge and Adobe Device Central. The latter allows you to preview how your site might look on a plethora of WAP-enabled mobile phones while the latter, unless I have been missing something, seems to have become a media manager supporting all of CS3 and not just Photoshop.
Speaking of Photoshop, this now gets such new features as smart filters, I think of these as adjustment layers for things like sharpening, monochrome conversion and much more. Raw image processing now has a non-destructive element and Photoshop Lightroom is being touted as a companion for the main Photoshop. Speaking of new additions to the Photoshop family, there is a new Extended edition for those working with digital imaging with a 3D aspect and this is targeted at scientists, engineers, medical professionals and others. It seems that data analysis and interpretation is becoming part of the Photoshop remit now as well.
Dreamweaver and Photoshop are the components of the suite in which I have most interest but I also note that Contribute now has blogging capabilities; it would be interesting to see how these work, especially given Word 2007’s support for blogging tools like WordPress and Blogger. Another member of note is Version Cue, adding version control to the mix and making CS3 more like a group of platforms than collections of applications.
Unsurprisingly, the changes are rung out for the rest of the suite with integration being a major theme and this very much encompasses Flash too. The sight of an image selection being copied straight into Dreamweaver was wondrous in its own way and rendering of Photoshop files into 3D images was also something to behold. The latter was used to demonstrate the optimisations that have been added for the Mac platform, a major selling point apparently.
I suppose that the outstanding question is this: do I buy into all of this? It’s a good question because the computer enthusiast seems to be getting something of a sidelining lately. And that seems to the impression left by Windows Vista in its giving the appearance that Microsoft is trying to be system administrator to the world. There is no doubt but CS3 is very grown up now and centred around work flows and processes. These have always been professional tools and the present level of sophistication and pricing* very much reflects this. That said, enthusiasts like me have been known to use them too, at least for learning purposes. The latter point may yet cause me to get my hands on Photoshop CS3 with its powerful tools for digital imaging but Dreamweaver is another story. It doesn’t fit what how I work now so this is an upgrade that I may give a miss, as impressive as it looks. For a learning experience, I might download a demo but that would a separate matter from updating my web presence. This time next month may tell a tale…
*Pricing remains the bugbear for the U.K. market that it always has been. At the present exchange rates, we should be getting a much better deal on Adobe products that we do. For instance, Amazon.com has the Web Premium CS3 suite from Macromedia Studio 8 priced at $493.99 while it is £513.99 on Amazon.co.uk. Using the exchange rate current as I write this, £1 buying $1.96605, the U.K. price is a whopping $1010.53 in U.S. terms. To me, this looks like price gouging and Microsoft has been slated for this too. I wonder what will be said to Adobe on this one.