Thoughts on Adobe Creative Cloud 2014…

adobe_creative_cloud_feature

It has been a few weeks since the release of Creative Cloud 2014, and have had a chance to fully integrate the various apps into my daily workflow. As with any new tools, it takes a bit to get used to the changes and to discover how the new features work.

icon-48.fp-5541debeb12c469a693561461388d45aLet’s start with the big guy, Photoshop. Now not really a new feature for Creative Cloud 2014 release, but the Generator functionality that was added after the initial Creative Cloud release is still my feature (hey, my review, my rules). As a prototyper, I often get my visual assets is various states of development. Being able to quickly generate the assets I need, in the formats I need is great time saver.

I also love seeing how the team has integrated the TypeKit service into Photoshop as well. Now I can open my designer’s PSDs and be able to access the typography they have chosen. I may have good collection of fonts on my machine, but it no match to my designer’s collection.

The last feature that I have found useful in my workflow is the improvement to Layer Comps. Developing mobile user interfaces means handling a variety of screens sizes and orientations. While not perfect for this, we are finding that we can use this to better group the user interfaces together.

icon-48.fp-289fc33f826f0284f3ac2ed0a7c722fbMy Illustrator skills are not nearly as strong as they should be. So having the new ability to help me close my paths has been great. I always had trouble keeping my work “on pixel”, often I would find once my work was rasterized, there was more anti-aliasing than I expected. Illustrator can now also snap the anchor points to pixel, grid or point. Also, they have done some nice work on working with anchor points. I think I can really start to use Illustrator as my drawing tool, rather than just working with designs given to me by my visual designers. Since I am also starting to use more and more SVGs in both my web and mobile development, I am sure I will be seeing that pen tool more and more.

icon-48.fp-ab5d905480c4975a4711aed4fe027db6Speaking of web development, Dreamweaver got a few nice touches as well. I must confess, most of my day to day web development is done using Brackets. But there are times when I need to open a competed web page to work with. In those cases I often do launch Dreamweaver. I was pleased to see some of the new inspectors, the element quick view has been useful when working on a complex DOM, and attempting to see the structure. I also like the live view property inspector that has been added. It is nice to be able to poke around and see what is being applied to an element. That is one thing that interrupts my workflow with Brackets, is pulling up the Chrome Inspector and losing the live refresh link with the page.

I also do a fair amount of teaching new developers web technologies, and it nice to see that the CSS that Dreamweaver is producing is clean, and the new visual editing tools can really assist your development workflow.

icon-48.fp-7aee161e34391878452392f6f08b7725I wrote about some of the new improvements to Flash in a previous post. In short, Flash is returning to its roots as a premiere animation solution. We can now publish to HTML5 via the create.js library or through WebGL. In fact, the team brought back the motion editor that has removed in Flash Professional CC. Another nice addition to Flash is the ability to export SVGs.

icon-48.fp-e2933b90285ca810d1d6c2eac1e9534eThe last tool that I have been experimenting with is Adobe Muse. We are always looking for ways to shorten our prototyping cycle. Although are some interesting tools in the prototyping space, due to various reason we are not allowed to use them. So I decided to take another look at Adobe Muse in this release to see it might assist us. There were several under the hood changes that really made a difference, the two most noticeable is the fact it has been completely rebuilt with 64-bit support. The sluggishness that existed in previous versions is now a distant memory. The app also now supports HiDPI screens (and if you like a dark UI). Doubt I will use Muse as part of my production workflow, but I think we can leverage its easy to use features to quickly mockup and prototype with.

I am really enjoying the improvements to my workflow by using the 2014 release of Creative Cloud. Let me know what features are helping your workflow.

 

AppaloozaLA!

AppaloozaLA

I had to miss speaking at the one in San Francisco, but I am back in the saddle to speak at the Los Angeles stop! This is going to be a great event filled with some incredible speakers. Personally, I will be presenting on using PhoneGap Build to quickly build native mobile applications.

The event will be on Saturday, November 15, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (PST) at the Art Institute of CA-Los Angeles.

For more information, visit the EventBrite page. Hope to see you there!

 

jQuery 2.0 Development Cookbook

jQuery 2.0 Development Cookbook The problem with frameworks that have been around for sometime, is you have to be careful of the solutions that might exist for a particular problem you might be having. jQuery is certainly one of those frameworks that has a long legacy. The jQuery 2.0 Development Cookbook aims to solve some of these issue by collection a nice set of solutions to many standard problems using the newer 2.x branch of jQuery.

Leon Revill takes the reader from some of the more basic solutions, such as standard DOM manipulations, through more and more advanced solutions. The later chapters of the book being to touch on the basics of both jQuery UI and jQuery Mobile.

One issue I did have with the book is the author did spend a modest amount of time covering some server side portions. I appreciated the effort to introduce the reader to some more topics, but wish the he had just pointed the solution. I also would have like to have seen more advanced recipes that really show the capabilities of using jQuery

Overall, found the book useful as a traditional reference for working with jQuery 2. New developer to the jQuery framework will find this reference useful, and intermediate developer might pick up a trick or two as well.

(Disclaimer: The publisher supplied a copy for review)

The Future of Flash…

FlashAppIconWith the release of Flash Professional CC 2014, the program has in many ways returned to its roots as a premiere animation and asset development tool. Let me take you back many years ago, the web was just text and mostly static images. But designers wanted to create a more expressive experience, from this Flash (then FutureSplash) was born.

For a long time, Flash served as the main solution to overcome the short comings of the web and the user experiences that so many of us wanted to create. Now the web platform has finally matured to the point where we can now create these experiences without Flash acting as a bridge for our visions. There is no doubt that the rich engaging things will use and build would not be possible without the content created by Flash.

But what about today? Most of the mobile devices sitting on my desk do not run Flash content in their browsers. But I still want to create engaging web content  that works on my mobile devices, as well as my desktop.

Some of the improvements for this release of Flash Professional CC 2014 is the abilities to publish your animation content into a variety of formats that are very mobile and standards friendly.

So now if I want to take my animation that I developed with all of the incredible animation tools with Flash Pro to play as a canvas based animation, it is not a problem. I can leverage the createjs framework (written by the incredible team a gskinner.com). If want to just use Flash to create a sprite sheet for use in another animation framework, I can just as easily publish that as well.

FlashWebGL

Last but not least, if I want to have my animation leverage the power of WebGL, the latest release has an experimental version of publishing to that format as well.

If you are looking for a tool to help you animate something for web, I would take a fresh look at Flash. There are some great tutorial on these new features on the revised adobe.com site.

PhoneGap Day(s) and a Call for Speakers

phonegapThe PhoneGap team just announced the dates for PhoneGap Day(s). This year PhoneGap Day will be held in San Francisco on October 24th and Berlin on September 26th. As before, there will be full day workshops on the day before. For more information, visit the web page: http://pgday.phonegap.com/

I attended last year’s PhoneGap day in Portland, and can easily say it was a great event. I am looking forward to attending it again.

In addition, the call for speakers is open as well. I am working up a few topics that I plan to submit. What is nice is these talks are short and sweet (about 20 minutes), so it is perfect for . Hope to see you there!

Cordova 3.5.0 Now on PhoneGap Build

PhoneGap Build has added support for Cordova 3.5.0.

I will be updating ConfiGAP shortly to support this, but in the meantime, you can edit your  config.xml with <preference name=”phonegap-version” value=”3.5.0″ />.

If you want to know what’s in 3.5, you can read more about it at: