Adobe embraces “freemium” and Cloud with Edge Tools

Creative software vendor experiments with new technologies and sales models with its popular products

Adobe is in the midst of embracing the Cloud, and it is doing so through its Creative Cloud initiative.

For Adobe platform evangelists, Ryan Stewart, Creative Cloud brings together “a bunch of tools that people are willing to pay for,” notably Adobe Edge Tools.

“These tools are optimised for developing creative mobile ready web content and apps,” he said.

“They appeal to people who are focused on a specific task, and improves productivity without hiding the underlying web technologies.”

Adobe Edge Animate 1.0, which contains a lot of the same features as Flash, allows for creation of interactive and animated web content.

HTML, CSS and JavaScript coding is covered by Adobe Edge Code, and users can get started with free web fonts with Adobe Edge Web Fonts.

“On the mobile side, there is Adobe Edge Inspect that allows users to preview their work on mobile devices,” Stewart said.

“Adobe PhoneGap Build also packages mobile apps in the Cloud.”

Go with the Reflow

A big addition by Adobe to the Creative Cloud is Edge Reflow, which Adobe HTML design senior product manager, Jacob Surber, said will enable designers to put together “responsive websites.”

“Edge Reflow is positioned as a design tool that fosters design within the constraints of the web,” he said.

The program works by resizing the content of a website based on the resolution of the screen to retain usability, no matter the size of the screen.

So while icons and text may seem misplaced on some sites if they are not viewed on a PC, and instead on a smartphone or tablet, Edge Reflow is designed to eliminate that hassle.

“You can resize the display area of your project and the content adjusts depending on the resolution or percentage width you select,” Surber said.

“You can also see how your content will change based on the device, with navigation bars automatically moved to fit the screen.”

Surber says Edge Web Fonts is baked into the product and CSS, “the design language of the web,” can be easily exposed to see the inner workings of the web site.

“We endeavoured to ma make CSS a communication mechanism in Edge Reflow, where it can be easily inspected, copied and pasted,” he said.

Free for all

In an interesting move by Adobe, Stewart confirms all the Edge Tools are free and only require a Creative Cloud membership.

“We’re going with a ‘freemium’ model, where you start off for free,” he said.

“As the needs increase, you will have to subscribe to Creative Cloud.”

Despite adopting a free use model, Stewart says that Adobe is still “packing as much value in Creative Cloud as possible” to encourage people to upgrade to the paid version of the service.

“The free price point is tough to beat and you’re not buying into an Adobe framework,” he said

Edge Web Fonts is free service that works without signing up, but the others require a Creative Cloud membership.

All of the Edge Tools are available now, with the exception being Edge Reflow.

Surber says the public preview of Edge Reflow “will be launched in the next couple of months.”

As such, no pricing and bundling options for Edge Freeflow are currently available.

However, Surber confirms that once it will be deployed into the Creative Cloud, it will be “globally and simultaneously.”

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