Help Improve Adobe CS4 Products

Recently I upgraded my Adobe Suite to CS4 and upon launching one of the application this dialog box appears…

I have been using Adobe products for many years. From my early days in design I was using Photoshop and Illustrator, and also using Macromedia’s web design products like Flash, Dreamweaver and Fireworks which were then acquired by Adobe in 2005.

In recent years I have found the the quality of the Adobe products, particularly their web development applications, Flash, Dreamweaver and Fireworks, has been slowly getting worse.

I can’t put my finger on exactly when things started to go downhill but I have a feeling it was around them time they introduced a JavaScript API into their products. The benefit of the API is that it allows users to create add-ons for Adobe applications that can automate common tasks or create new edit panels etc, enhancing the application’s functionality and streamlining workflow. A nice idea.

Now, the JavaScript API may not be to blame at all, but how many times do so see a little ‘x’ in your web browser indicating that there is a JavaScript error on the page? And how many times has your browser hung or crashed due to a timeout error caused by a JavaScript? I can’t help thinking that the JavaScript API may be the reason the my Adobe applications seem to be less stable and crash more often than they used to. I might be wrong, this is just how it feels as a long-time user of the products.

So, back to the dialog box…

Does this mean that Adobe have now finally recognised that the stability and quality of their products needs to be addressed?

Is spying on our attempts to use their software (with permission, obviously) an indication how desperate they are to act on their users’ feedback to improve the robustness of their faltering web suite? If this is what it takes to gather enough useful data for them to be able to get things back on track then count me in.

Of course it could be that they only want to study user behaviour so they can improve the UI of their products but I seriously hope that one of Adobe’s main objects is to use the data to gather more accurate details about crashes and errors so they can focus on making their applications rock solid and stable.

In the meantime, I know there are now many other high quality affordable or open source web development applications available that I could turn to, but I don’t want to. I like using Dreamweaver. I like using Flash. I like using Fireworks.

I really hope that any data Adobe manages to collect through this program helps them resolve the issues with their products. If they are able to figure out why Fireworks crashes on me incessantly throughout the day I will be much happier (and much more productive).

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Ben Huson