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Adobe Muse – Adobe’s HTML5 New Kid On The Block

The web is changing faster than ever and even for the most accomplished web developer developing CSS rules and learning all of the new HTML5 tricks of the trade can be daunting. Fast moving standards and and a mindfield of browser differences can slow the design, development, and release cycle. With the news that Adobe has decided to stop developing Flash Player for mobile devices, Adobe has announced a new focus on two areas: Digital Media and Digital Marketing. Digital Media is all about enabling the creation and monetization of the world’s content. Adobe has been the leader in the digital content createion for some time now with leading applications such as Dreamweaver and Flash, but the new demands of a standards based world of complexity and pressure for faster publishing timelinds leads to new software applications that will fill the gap. One of these applcations –Adobe Muse, has been recently released as a beta for download from http://labs.adobe.com

Adobe Muse

The goal of Adobe Muse is to eliminate the coding requirements for users whose web sites don’t need a lot of dynamic content and would like to layout and generate the code for their site with one software tool. With the assistance of the cross-platform AIR technology, Adobe Muse is a pretty fast and easy download. One of the advantages of the Adobe Integrated Run-time is that Adobe can push out updates and bug fixes fast. Once you have downloaded Muse, installed, and launched it, you will see a familiar workspace if you have already been using the Creative Suite software.

Within the Adobe Muse interface that’s very similar to Abobe’s Flash Catalyst, designers can quickly and easily create websites as a series of documents which generate the necessary HTML code for them to be published. Page elements such as navigation bars, light-boxes, and pull-down menus, (which can be complicated to build with Javascript) are included as a series of widgets that can be added to the web page with a simple drag and drop. Anything that is selectable can be added to a page using the Insert HTML object. For basic interactive content and navigation, Muse has a few widgets based on Spry and jQuery, but this area of Muse seems to be highly limited. We must give it the benefit of the doubt considering that the downloadable version is still in beta.

Adobe Muse Widgets

The designer can use a “master page” design to put together a main page design layout, with headers, footers, and other common page design elements. This makes it easy to keep your designs uniform across sites and there is also direct support for Photoshop files. In this early beta version there seems to be an initiative for full support for integration between Muse and other Adobe Creative Suite software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Adobe is hopeful that these features will attract designers who may have been reluctant to make the jump into the world of web publishing with software such as Adobe Dreamweaver. However, if you want to add basic HTML, it’s pretty easy as long as it is self contained within the body tags. But, … the base idea of Adobe Muse is to deliver web design without the code.

If you are a designer that wants to create a basic static site, such as a photographers gallery or a small business site, which doesn’t have to be updated or changed very often, Muse might be a good choice for you. However, with the lack of a way in which to connect it to a content management system, it’s not much use to anyone who needs a dynamic, interactive website, with features such as a blog. And although Muse is being developed with the designers in mind, it’s doubtful that it will assist any print designer with moving towards a successful web design career. At the end of the day, there is much more behind the scenes of a web site that meets the eye.

Muse is scheduled for commercial release in the first quarter of 2012. It will be available via subscription only at $15 per month or $180 per year. A month-to-month subscription is $20. The move to offer Muse as a subscription only is based on the idea that Adobe can make improvements to the software in a manner that is more responsive to user needs, browser and device compatibility issues, and design trends. The subscription based software as a service has also been extended to the entire Adobe Creative Suite of software with the release of CS5.5!

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Posted in: Adobe Muse, HTML5

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