Third party developers will be able to build mobile applications that tap into the features of Adobe's Creative Cloud thanks to a new SDK the company is releasing as part of a major update to the suite of graphic design products.
The company is also releasing two pieces of hardware to work with Creative Cloud mobile apps.
"We will be releasing that Creative SDK to third party developers so they can actually include [Adobe] technology in their own mobile apps, so that they can connect into the Creative Cloud," Adobe APAC evangelist, Paul Burnett, said.
The vendor is yet to make available details about the SDK's licence and pricing.
The update to the Creative Cloud applications, which was made available to customers this morning, represents the "biggest release" since the vendor started phasing out boxed versions of its software in favour of a subscription model. It's an "absolutely huge release," Burnett said.
"Across the Creative Cloud desktop applications, 14 of those have had major updates in this release," he added. The exceptions were Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Lightroom, which recently received separate major updates.
A particular focus of the update is mobile, with the vendor adding a number of iPad apps to the suite. These include Line, for heavily vector-based architectural drawing, and Sketch for freeform drawing. Another mobile app is Photoshop Mix. Initially available on the iPad, the application allows processor-intensive tasks such as content-aware fill to be performed by offloading them to the cloud.
"What you're able to do in Photoshop Mix is if there is a process that you want to do that's too powerful for the iPad, it takes the file, sends it to the cloud , processes on the cloud and sends you back the results," Burnett said.
Burnett said this was an example of functionality that could be incorporated into a third-party tool via the new SDK. The SDK includes features such as access to files stored in the Creative Cloud and various manipulations of PSD files as well as image editing effects.
"The initial release of the SDK is going to be to a private beta and then later we will make it available to anyone," Burnett said.
"The more services we can give people in the Creative Cloud and the more services that our partners can provide for our customers in the Creative Cloud, obviously the more attractive it is. It's a subscription model and our promise to customers has been that we will continue to add value to it, and we've been consistently doing that, releasing new versions, new solutions, new apps. "
Coinciding with the Creative Cloud update Adobe is making its first foray into hardware, releasing a pen – dubbed Adobe Ink – and a ruler – called Adobe Slide – designed to work with tablet apps. The SDK will mean that third-party developers will also be able to design apps to work with the new hardware.
Details of the Australian availability of Ink and Slide are yet to be released, but they should reach the country this year.
'Huge efforts' to prevent another outage
Burnett said the vendor had made "huge efforts" to prevent another Creative Cloud outage of the sort that caused chaos in May. "We stuffed up," Burnett said. "It wasn't a security issue, it wasn't any sort of hacking or anything like that – we were doing a normal update and it was a human error which we missed on the way."
"Are we making damn sure that that doesn't happen again? Yeah," he said. "And we have been working like crazy on that. We've put a whole new team on [dedicated] to ensuring that that sort of thing doesn't happen again." Burnett said the vendor has also been examining ways of improving its response and reducing the impact of problems if they do occur.