John Nack: A Grand Unified Suite for Adobe?


1 of 5 stars
What’s this?

The blogger and Principal Product Manager for Adobe Photoshop discusses the possibility of a document-centric approach to computing, in which software applications are oriented around the data, rather than vice versa (which is the paradigm we have now). Rather than opening up a document in say Illustrator and then opening a second one in Photoshop, this approach would allow a single document to possess qualities of both applications, and to trigger the appropriate functionality at the right time within a ‘grand unified’ program. Just goes to show that if you listen hard enough, you can often hear faint whispers of the ideas underlying Apple’s aborted OpenDoc framework among the tech faithful.

  1. This was part of Tufte’s lecture when I went to see him last year. He said the user shouldn’t even know what an application is and the OS should be document centric. Actually, he said the user shouldn’t even know what an OS is. I agree!

  2. Sounds like the old Corel to me! One app combining pixel and vector and not doing either of them extremely well. (Sorry Corel fans). Or Quark wanting to suddenly do HTML as well. Yeah that woked out well…

  3. Adobe was predicting this kind of approach to their programming in the 90s–files with all the necessary editing tools attached. Great idea, but don’t hold your breath.

  4. The problem with the unified-application approach is that you need some way within the application to switch the available toolsets to something that looks like what you need to be doing, and you need to switch large portions of the UI to support those tools. The more complicated your different “modes” are the more different your toolsets are likely to become. Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign are all very complicated (I’d say overly complicated). Pretty soon, your single application begins to look a lot like an operating system running a bunch of specialized applications inside it.

    Better to open up the file formats and make working in different applications and switching between them easier. But then that wouldn’t be good for Adobe’s business.

    Oh, and bring back cyberdog!

Thank you! Your remarks have been sent to Khoi.