Monday, June 13, 2011

#ALGORITHMS: "Cloud Computing Melding With Popular Apps - Smarter Strategies"

Adobe Eazel turns a touch-screen tablet into a finger-painting app that communicates wirelessly with its desktop Photoshop program (Source: Adobe)

Mainstream software vendors are using the cloud-computing model to extend the capabilities of traditional desktop programs. Microsoft and Apple are not the only mega-corporations committing to cloud computing. The writing on the wall has also been perceived by Adobe Systems—maker of Photoshop, Flash, Acrobat and more than 100 other popular programs—which is quickly integrating cloud-based services.

Adobe's most basic cloud-based service is SendNow—the enterprise version of consumer-grade services like DropBox and YouSendIt. With SendNow, enterprise users can share text, audio and video files by uploading them to Adobe's cloud, from which recipients can download them after receiving an email notification. Later this year Adobe is slated to allow enterprises to brand their SendNow file transfers with their logo, turning the cloud-based service into a powerful tool for distributing brochures and other large files to thousands of clients simultaneously. An app is also in the works.
Apps for both Android and iOS are already available for two other Adobe cloud-based services called Life Cycle and Connect. The Life Cycle app includes cloud-based task approval, on-site data capture, on-demand content and other business-to-business services. And Adobe's Connect app allows mobile users to participate in Web conferences with equal status to desktop Connect users.

Adobe is also seeking to extend cloudlike services to the millions of professionals and consumers using its wide array of desktop applications by creating an array of apps with add-on capabilities.

Adobe already uses a cloud-based service to protect its software from illegal distribution whereby its applications check with the cloud to see if other users are running the app with the same serial number. Now verified desktop applications can use this service to connect with its array of apps.
Foremost among these is Photoshop—the industry-standard image creation and modification application—for which Adobe has created a half dozen apps to extend its capabilities. For instance, its Nav app turns a wireless touch-screen device, running iOS or Android, into a control surface for Photoshop, allowing app users to select specific tools and switch between open images by merely tapping their preview icon on an Android or iOS touch screen.

The process works with a setup procedure whereby the IP address of the desktop computer—already validated by the cloud as the only running copy—is then distributed to the touch-screen app. Thereafter, communication between the app and Photoshop passes directly over wireless WiFi.

Other Photoshop-extending services include the Eazel app, which turns an Android or iOS touch screen into a tablet input device for Photoshop, so that your finger becomes a paintbrush. Similarly, the Color Lava app lets users create themed color swatches. And the Viewer app extends Adobe's page-layout program, InDesign, with the ability to provide real-time previews of its open documents.
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