Adobe's big happy family

GCN Insider | Trends and technologies that affect the way government does IT

Last year, when Adobe Systems Inc. (www.adobe.com) of San Jose, Calif., purchased Macromedia Inc., many graphic artists and Web designers feared their software choices would diminish. But Adobe has, to date, been fairly quiet on the issue. Certainly some tough choices will have to be made. Our own racing card reads like this: Macromedia Freehand vs. Adobe Illustrator (drawing programs), Macromedia DreamWeaver vs. Adobe GoLive (Web design) and Macromedia Fireworks vs. Adobe Photoshop (image manipulation). (We're picking the Illustrator-DreamWeaver-Photoshop trifecta.)

When we recently had the chance to speak with Ben Forta, Adobe senior technical evangelist, we asked about product consolidation. Which products would live? The answer: All of them, for now anyway. 'At this point, there has been no decision to kill any product because there is a competing product within the deck,' Forta said. 'As long as a product has a loyal customer base, then there is no reason to kill it off.' The design teams for each product will remain independent, though the company is looking to unify user interfaces where feasible and propagate some of the best features of each program across product lines.

So we probed further about integration. If Adobe could get Photoshop to be smoothly integrated with DreamWeaver, for instance, life would be easier all around. Adobe is indeed looking into such synergies, Forta said. 'In the short term, we're working very hard on making sure the products talk with one another,' he said. The next generation of Flash will work more easily with Illustrator and Photoshop, for instance. The company is also looking into developing product suites that draw from both sets of products, Forta said.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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