This week's "3 Things" focuses on online services currently provided, FREE, from Adobe. As internet-based technology has matured, the advent of "cloud computing" has taken the world by storm. Google's services like Docs and Gmail are good examples, as is Apple's Mobile Me service. I use a service from 37Signals called Basecamp which brings powerful project management and collaboration to my fingertips whether I'm at my desk, at someone else's computer, or even on my iPhone.
But more than just the hosting of data, online services also bring new capabilities - and Adobe is beginning to do that with services that appeal to creatives. Adobe launched Acrobat.com a while back, but I wanted to list three services that are all in public beta form and as such, are currently available free.
1. Adobe BrowserLab. As a web designer, one of the challenges you face is ensuring that your site design looks great across multiple browsers. Especially with CSS, you often have to employ countless hacks or code work arounds to achieve a similar experience whether your site is being viewed with Safari, Firefox, Explorer, on Mac or Windows -- it seems as if the variables never end. Many professional web design studios have various computers set up so that a designer can actually view a site design on different systems and on different browsers. But most designers don't have the budget to upgrade their own computers let alone set aside cash for purchasing computers just to view websites. Adobe BrowserLab is a web-based service that allows you to preview what a website looks like on a variety of different operating systems and browsers. You can use it to see any site and it's totally cool and easy to use. Check it out here.
2. Adobe InContext Editing (ICE). Another thing that web designers struggle with is making updates to websites. Sure, you want your content to be fresh and relevant, but it's also a pain to have to go through the updating on your computer and then updating the files on your web server. This is especially true of clients who are always requesting small type changes and the like. Wouldn't it be easier if you could tell your client to just do those type changes themselves? Adobe InContext Editing (ICE for short) is a service that allows you to enable an HTML web page to be updated from any web browser. That means a client could log into their own site and make their own text changes. It means you can update your own website in seconds instead of minutes or hours. And the best part is that you can control what can or what can't be changed. Get the details here.
3. Adobe Story. If you're in the film industry (or want to be), you know that getting the script right before you start shooting can not only save time, it can save money. Like any project, if you start out with a great script, you only stand to benefit from it later. In fact, there are plenty of things that you might think of when writing a script that you either forget or miss later in the workflow -- especially if you're writing a script with others, or if you're getting lots of feedback on your script as work on it. To better manage the entire scripting process, Adobe has created a new service called Adobe Story -- it's an online service that assists you in writing a film script. Find out more here.