One of the constant challenges I hear from independent retailers (in particular) is the tight rope walk between time-sensitive website updates and not-so-time-attentive website designers. Merchants need to swap out images and text on their sites continually, which isn’t exactly lucrative work for most tech folks.
Which is why my heart leapt with glee upon learning about Adobe’s latest venture—Muse. It marries the ease of InDesign with HTML-5, providing a possible solution for current Creative Suite users.
Muse makes it possible to design an entire website as if it was for print while the application translates the site into HTML code in the background. Finished pages can be uploaded to your webhost server through a simple FTP transfer program like Fetch (for those of us on Macs, think: drag and drop). The program is offered exclusively through Adobe’s new Creative Cloud service—no disks. You download it on up to two computers, then use it as long as you continue paying the subscription. All future version upgrades are included and automatic.
(They also offer Adobe web hosting, but I’d pass on that…would be much, much better to host on your own with Google Analytics in the background to track traffic.)
As a stand-alone purchase, Muse costs $25/month without an annual contract; $15/month with. There’s a free 30 day trial if you want to give it a spin.
Muse is also included with Creative Cloud CS subscriptions.
Which brings me to Part II of this post—upgrading the CS apps you currently own. Adobe launched CS6 last week, in two formats:
Purchase a traditional CS upgrade for your full current Collection
(disks or download)
You buy it, you own it, just like before. Upgrades from earlier versions are priced on a sliding scale, depending on how old your current version is. (My CS4 Design Premium upgrades at a whopping $949…from there, CS5 and CS5.5 upgrade at $749 and $375, respectively). If you want a new version down the road, you’ll need to buy a new upgrade at that time.
Subscriptions through Creative Cloud (individual apps or full CS family)
Choose either month-to-month or a discounted annual contract. You download the CS programs on up to two computers (Mac and/or PC). As new versions launch, your copies upgrade automatically–you’ll always be using the most current software, as long as you continue to subscribe. If your credit card expires or declines, Adobe notifies you, then grants a five day grace period before they remotely “turn off” the apps on your computer.
If you opt for individual apps, you can cherry pick (and pay) for only those you actually need. individual app subscriptions are priced a la carte.
If you opt for the full CS family, you’ll have access to every single CS program on earth, plus a handful of additional services (including Muse). While that’s overkill for most of us, it’s less expensive than subscribing to programs individually if you use more than two CS apps.
Full CS Creative Cloud subscriptions cost $600/year (there’s a special running for current CS users that cuts the annual price to $360 for the first year).
To recap, Creative Cloud offers:
• Full CS subscriptions (all programs)
• Individual CS app subscriptions
• A few stand-alone subscriptions, one of which is Muse
As for “to Cloud, or not to Cloud,” that’s going to come down to pricing for most folks. For me, there’s a real appeal to dodging the $949 upgrade…especially since I tend to upgrade every other year. Now that Adobe is spitting out new versions like sunflower seed shells, the dollars are adding up fast. Cutting that back to $360 the first year, then $600 the second comes out better price-wise, plus it includes unlimited updates and a few nice extras.
No matter what, I’m giving Muse a spin, since my beloved GoLive won’t run on Mac’s Lion operating system. If it’s half as cool as it sounds, I just might be able to start unlearning the reams of HTML code that have been cluttering my brain for years.
Or not. My inner geek actually likes the stuff.
Links to learn more:
Macworld’s overview of Adobe CS Creative Cloud
The full CS Creative Cloud Subscription plan
Creative Cloud FAQ
Scroll to bottom of page, then clink the link under “Still have questions?”
Individual app subscription plans and pricing
Individual app subscriptions FAQ
Click the Subscriptions link to reach that portion of the page
Introduction to Muse
BE SURE TO WATCH THE VIDEOS linked at the bottom of each description paragraph.
Loads of great info
Muse tutorial and videos
I’m glad to see Lynda.com on the list; it’s a fabulous on demand, subscription-based service.