29 June 2005

Adobe & MacroMedia

For heavy-duty webmasters, two of the most important names in software are Adobe and Macromedia. Adobe's main offering for the web is the Acrobat PDF reader, a freely downloadable program that reads files created in the PDF format the same way: as a virtual page (HTML, in contrast, not only has lines that break differently depending on the pixel-size of the browser window, but appears differently depending on the flavor and configuration of the web browser). In addition to PDF writers and readers, Adobe supplies FrameMaker, an XML authoring software, and GoLive, a CSS authoring tool.

While Adobe offers several graphical softwares, Macromedia is a little more focused on web animations and web authoring. Many people may be familiar with DreamWeaver, a pretty big package for creating web pages and populating them with JavaScripts, etc.

In mid-April Adobe acquired Macromedia, as part of a strategy to compete more effectively against Microsoft. Christopher MacKay pointed out some obvious (and still unresolved) questions arising from the merger:

What will be most interesting—as it always is in such cases — will be what survives and what doesn't.
  • Dreamweaver vs. GoLive (DW, I think)



  • Flash vs. SVG (expect to see SVG support tossed on the heap next to LiveMotion)

  • ImageReady vs. Fireworks (hard to say, I haven't used Fireworks)

  • Freehand vs. Illustrator (those who like Freehand like it a lot, and it's survived being moved from Aldus to Altsys to Macromedia. I suspect they'll integrate the Flash-friendly elements into Illustrator and retire it.)

  • FlashPaper vs. PDF (neither will perish)

  • InDesign vs. Quark (oh wait, that's a different acquisition...)

He also points out that Macromedia has sold Fontographer to FontLab, eliminating intra-firm competition between Fontographer and Postscript.

At the heart of this is Adobe's impending battle with Microsoft (c|net; hattip to Ryan). MS has launched Acrylic and Metro; the latter is intended to compete directly with Adobe's PDF standard. Acrylic, incidentally, is based on the software of HK-based Creature House, a company that Engulf&Devour MS acquired. In typical MS fashion, the new software loses functionality (the Acrylic will not run on the Mac, while Expressions did).

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