Monday, January 19, 2009

An open letter to Adobe

I am a long time Flash User, in fact I started using flash and writing ActionScript when I was 16. So needless to say I have quite a few years under my belt with it. With each upgrade to the Flash IDE, I have generally been impressed, there have always been a few strange things, but I have to say that for the first time ever, I am ashamed to see the horrible product that is CS4. But what I am even more disgusted by, is Adobe's refusal to admit that there may be something wrong. They only continue to tout the new features, which have no doubt are impressive, but the little things that we use most have been destroyed. I have commented on it in various places, and each time Adobe has removed my comments (generally without notice, until on one of them I called them out on it, so they sent me an email, telling me that I should contact Customer Support for issues regarding [insert completely unrelated, and long list]. I have found tons and tons of places online, where customers are complaining about some of the horrible changes that Adobe has made to CS4. And yet, we still have not been able to get a constructive answer from anyone. I've posted, and emailed, but nothing. I've asked Richard Galvan ( Product Manager for Flash) on his blog and no response. So I tried asking Jay Armstrong on his blog (Flash documentation guy), and once again no response. I've posted on Lee Brimlow's site, and nothing (a co-worker emailed him, which was ignored as well). I've also submitted more bugs and complaints to adobe's Wish form ( that it nearly makes my head spin. So what are some of the complaints that I (and many many others have)? Here is an abbreviated list.

1.) the introduction of the browser being forced into our work flow sucks. I used to be able to glance, code, glance,code etc and I was very efficient with that. Now, it's code, alt-tab, hunt, alt-tab, code.

2.) The interface on the web API (no offense) is very hard to use in comparison to the previous help panel interface.

3.) Every time I press F1 from flash, it opens a new instance of my browser. Why can't it even use the same one? Or even open a new tab? A complete new instance of the browser. It's NUTS!

4.) Shortcuts are horribly handi-capped. For instance ctrl+a generally means select all in Windows speak. However, you are only allowed to have it assigned to select all when you are on the stage, or select all in a code window. It is no-longer intelligent enough to tell the difference. The same thing with ctrl+g. On the stage, it means "group", in a code window, it meant "go to line".

5.) Awesome features that were added to CS3 that I use more times in a single day, no-longer work either. In CS3, there was a great new feature added, that allowed us to press ctrl+enter and test a movie when we are writing a class file. This no longer works, we either have to switch to the fla, or use the mouse and select it from the drop-down list.

6.) Classes that used to compile fine now will not compile in CS4. Presumably because they are dependent on assets from the library of the FLA.

Adobe, please engage the community in a discussion about this. Don't let CS4 gain the reputation that Vista gained (even though vista did not deserve it, I hate to say Flash CS4 really does.) Don't let flash CS4 mark the decline of Adobe's dedication to making great software. Feel free to contact me, I am more than happy to discuss this, to show you how horribly broken some of the most basic and crucial features of our work-flows have been obliterated. Adobe, we have spoken, and now we must listen for a response from you. Please do not disappoint. -- Josh


wvxvw said...

Find your local copy of help here: Common Files\Adobe\Help\en_US\Flash
there's a file that specifies base URL for every help chapter: helpmapBaseUrl.txt.
In this form:
You can edit it or simply rename to something like: helpmapBaseUrl.BAK
The same is true for this.
For AS3
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Help\en_US\AS3LCR\Flash_10.0
For AS2
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Help\en_US\AS2LCR\Flash_10.0
And for this:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Help\en_US.

And start using normal IDE for coding :P

CaptainCode said...

wvxvw, I think you mis-understood what my complaint is. It's not that the help content is online vs. locally, but the fact that it is not integrated into the API. unfortunately, the method that you suggest only changes the support files to open your locally stored copy in a browser. I want the help panel returned to within the IDE itself. Not in a browser.

Pedro said...

couldn't agree more!