Adobe Opens Public Beta for Its Upcoming CS3 Tools
CreativeCOW presents Adobe Opens Public Beta for Its Upcoming CS3 Tools -- Adobe Audition, Soundbooth Review


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Adobe has always been a company to break the rules, working to reinvent previous conventions and thereby establishing new rules and practices that are today the standards by which nearly every computer (and most every other software publisher) functions. Well, they're at it again. Only this time it's not only about the mechanics behind the tools but also about the way that they deal with the users of their tools.

In a time when many companies grow increasingly secretive, Adobe has been clearly carving out a new strategy -- a strategy that is pleasantly surprising many. Recently, Adobe put its new tools into public beta, with users helping to both define and refine tools like Lightroom (now part of the Photoshop family), Soundbooth (a new audio sweetening and soundtrack creation tool), and even the venerable Photoshop itself. But it isn't stopping there and now Adobe has announced that they are placing their dynamic media tool suites into public beta. Yes, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Encore and others are now at the Adobe Labs site.


PUBLIC BETA: A Step Many Users Have Been Clamoring For
Over the years, I can't count the number of times that I have heard of or seen beta programs made up of a select handful of people -- literally, a handful. It's actually a fairly common practice and in this industry major tools are often tested by such a small group that it's no wonder that when the tools are released, they are so buggy that they immediately set the userbase clamoring for fixes -- users who often wait for months for these fixes. Some, uninstall the software and go back to the previous version. I have personally left beta programs with some manufacturers who didn't want to hear what was wrong with their product. Forget the criticism, they wanted to hear the nice things. Thankfully, most of these companies and products are gone at this point in the market's maturing.

Now, in a move to give a wide range of users a chance to subject the tool to as wide a range of usage and demand, as possible, Adobe has announced that they are placing their CS3 toolset into open beta. "Bravo!" says Boomer.

Adobe got more than Flash and Dreamweaver when they acquired Macromedia. One of the biggest things that came with the package was the Macromedia Labs site, a site with a long history of open beta programs. So now Adobe has drawn on that open beta mindset and has opted to give users a few months (I'm guessing) to bang on some of their favorite software tools.


BOTH PC VERSIONS & MAC, TOO?
Yes, a visit to the Adobe Labs site will show just how wide Adobe's new thinking has become. There are experimental programs you likely haven't heard of, alongside other tools you will immediately recognize. But of immediate interest to most COW members will be open beta rounds with tools like After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop and some of the other tools that many here use day-in and day-out. I can't find the figure right now as I write this but I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Photoshop CS3 beta has been downloaded over 300,000 times. That's a LOT of beta testers hammering on the program. That many hammers are bound to squash bugs hiding in the code.


EVEN THE MAC VERSION OF PREMIERE PRO?
Yes, the Intel Macintosh version of Premiere Pro is in open beta. Sorry, there are no plans for a PowerPC version. Premiere Pro is just too demanding an application to bring its feature-set to the PowerPC architecture. In a talk with Adobe's Giles Baker, he remarked that Adobe had always intented to bring Premiere Pro to the Mac, but "...we moved up the timeframe when we saw how powerful the new Intel Macs running the latest Mac OSX had become."


WHY IS ALL OF THIS SO IMPORTANT?
It marks a change in the dynamics of this industry and I believe, for one, that users are no longer going to tolerate the kinds of "not quite ready for primetime" shipping schedules that have been a long-storied part of this industry. Even Adobe has made their share of mistakes over the years but programs like the Adobe Labs marks a changing of the guard and I couldn't be happier about the idea of seeing more and more tools refined and tested using open beta programs.

For more information and to download the available tools, please visit the Adobe Labs site.

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