Adobe Edge Animate CC and the Creative Cloud - dummies

Adobe Edge Animate CC and the Creative Cloud

By Michael Rohde

Adobe has embraced the cloud in a big way. Over the past few years, the term “cloud” has become a popular buzzword among the digerati (the tech gurus and their disciples) to mean all the documents, software, apps, pictures, and such that are stored online — which you can access through the Internet. When someone says, “it’s in the cloud,” the translation is, “it’s available online.”

Adobe’s answer to the cloud comes in the form of a feature called the Creative Cloud — an online location where you can find the latest versions of the vast majority of Adobe creative software titles. No longer do you need to wait for new features to sprout and full-version cycles to run their course before you can receive software updates.

By placing everything in the cloud, Adobe can update your software as needed — that’s one of the main benefits of paying a subscription. The software in the Creative Cloud includes Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, and much more. Brand new titles, as of 2013, include the Edge suite of tools.

The Edge suite of tools includes Edge Animate, Code, Inspect, Web Fonts, Typekit, PhoneGap Build, and an upcoming title currently called Reflow. Each of these tools serves a unique purpose, and they all tie in nicely together:

  • Edge Code is all about coding the web. Currently in preview, you can use Code to preview CSS, edit code and integrate other code for design work. Code is based on an understanding of how HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript work together and continually evolve. Adobe states that, “if you have the skills to use Edge Code, you also have the skills to customize the editor and contribute new features.”

  • Edge Inspect is all about previewing the creative content that you create. Adobe knows that just because you might create your content on a desktop, that doesn’t mean your audience will view it on a desktop monitor.

    Rather, your audience may view your content on a tablet, or a phone, or any other number of devices. Inspect allows you to wirelessly pair several different types of devices to the machine where you create the content. When you do this, you can then view the changes you make update instantly as you work.

  • Edge Web Fonts is all about free web fonts. This large collection of fonts was gathered from sources such as Adobe, Google, and independent designers. Web Fonts is already available for use with Edge Code — and will eventually become a part of Edge Reflow as well. The fonts are served by Typekit, which leads us to . . .

  • Typekit is all about commercial fonts. Launched in September 2009 by Small Batch, Inc. (the folks behind Google Analytics), it was acquired by Adobe in October 2011. You can find over 700 fonts in Typekit and can search for them by classification, properties, or recommended use.

    Adobe makes it very easy to add these fonts into your websites by copying and pasting a couple of lines of code into the head tag of your HTML.

  • PhoneGap Build is all about mobile. You can use PhoneGap Build to create mobile apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With this tool, you build your app in the cloud, and Adobe keeps you current with the latest SDK (software development kit). Probably the most impressive feature to PhoneGap Build is that you can create iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, webOS, and Symbian technologies, all from this one tool.

  • Reflow is all about responsive web design, an upcoming trend in web design that content developers are paying attention to. A responsive web design allows you to design once and have your creation look great no matter the screen size your audience is using.

You can access all these tools and more through a subscription to the Creative Cloud. If you’re unsure about spending money on cloud services, Adobe offers a free 30-day trial. This trial period gives you access to limited services and 2GB of storage. You can use the storage to save your projects.

If your trial expires and you have projects saved in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about losing your work. When you decide to start a paid subscription using the same account as the free trial, then your work is ready and waiting for you to return.

Following this same line of thought, if you allow your paid subscription to run out, Adobe saves your projects in the cloud for a determined length of time. This allows you to renew your subscription later, and your work is still there; provided that you don’t wait too long.