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Adobe and Macromedia

The InDesign/Acrobat PDF platform has now matured into a robust authoring system that is capable of providing a much more compelling experience than a Web site. Even the folks at Macromedia saw that the future of the Internet could be one where Flash lives in harmony inside downloadable PDF magazines—magazines that are interactive and contain Flash advertising and e-commerce. Plus, these magazines can be printed in high quality.

In 2005, Adobe bought Macromedia and, using the Adobe brand name, began bundling its print products with Flash as part of the Adobe Creative Suite Premium, which allows you to create rich-media PDF documents with embedded Flash files that work! Imagine, InDesign and Flash in the same family of products. Armies of Adobe and former Macromedia salespeople are now singing the praises of Flash inside rich-media PDF.

The merger has had a dramatic effect on the multimedia industry. The Flash developers who despised PDF and Acrobat have been forced to take another look at rich-media PDF possibilities, because they know Adobe now controls both the PDF and SWF specifications. Press releases promote that the two formats now work together in harmony to provide the best experience possible—inside and outside a Web browser. The former Macromedia engineers have even rewritten Adobe Acrobat 8 with a new look and have enhanced the capabilities of Flash playback inside PDF.

Adobe sees the browser as limiting because it was designed for text documents; the browser "chrome" (the tools at the top of the browser) is always in the way, and you have to be online. The Web document is not something portable enough to read at your summer cottage by the lake, for example. Adobe has created Digital Editions, an application (based on Flash, XHTML, and PDF) that will operate outside of the browser to read eBooks and more.

Try to think outside the box and outside the browser; the implications and possibilities are immense. Is this an effort to provide users with the best possible experience or an attempt to retire the browser to which we've grown addicted? It's probably somewhere in the middle. As a producer of interactive media, I welcome any technology that frees us from the constraints of a browser and the embedded media object patents that make the HTML Web-viewing experience unpleasant. The main purpose of this book is to introduce you to these new possiblities and workflows.

  • Adobe sees the browser as limiting because it was designed for text documents; the browser "chrome" is always in the way, and you have to be online.
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