Over the past few years I’ve been trying to figure out WTF happened to Adobe. Their software used to be top-notch: feature-rich, stable, with a nice learning curve – you can get started with Photoshop very quickly, and learn as much as you want as fast as you can, and whatever you want to create, some genius at Adobe has already thought of that and put that feature in there, maybe buried three levels deep in menus or panels and various controls. But, it’s in there. I guess that part is still present (the learning curve part).
I have some issues with the following:
Their new SaaS (Software as a Service) model SUCKS – you have to pay monthly so that if you maybe need to use one of their applications, you can do so with (not too much) hassle. Unless you change computers or swap a hard drive or motherboard – then there are many hoops to jump through to get the licensing bullshit resolved so you can get back to work. The SaaS model isn’t COMPLETELY bogus, though, for people who can’t swallow the huge up-front cost of their applications, which is HORRIBLY out-of-line with most other commercial applications these days, but hey, they pretty much have a monopoly on these kinds of apps, so why not take their user base, their bread-and-butter, to the cleaners? Alternatives are coming up. And they have the potential to take away a lot of money from Adobe, and in the process show users how powerful MODERN applications can be and how well they can perform.
The lack of coherency in the application installation and where files are crammed into every dark corner of your filesystem is super annoying. In 2014, the age of drag-and-drop installation of applications with ONE file (on OS X anyway), Adobe still has an installer application. But not only does it have an installer application – this installer application spawns several separate installer applications that supposedly get the task done. And when this convoluted installation process is finished, you’ve got “Adobe” folders everywhere, and sometimes they have apps in them, and sometimes the apps are just floating there next to it, or the apps have their own individual folders. There. Is. No. Consistency. Period.
Don’t get me started about the update ‘system.’ It’s not so much a system as it is a series of annoying apps and control panels – why is Flash in OS X’s System Preferences? For example, Flash tries to keep itself updated, but the process of this goes like this: 1) you stumble across something in your browser that requires Flash, 2) the Flash process starts and in doing so checks to see if there are any updates, 3) if there’s an update, an external application automatically launches asking you if you want to update Flash – for security and stability improvements, which sound like a good thing, so 4) you click the button to start the installation, but instead of running the installation right there, it opens a web page in the browser you just left to interact with the installer, then 5) you need to download the ‘real’ installer application, which, on OS X is a .dmg disk image file, so you need to hunt that down, open (mount) that, then double-click the ‘real’ installer inside there. Ok, so maybe we’re getting somewhere now. But wait, no!!! Now, 6) the installer tells you that you need to close your web browsers (and kindly lists the browsers that need to close and offers to close them for you), but didn’t the first installer take me to a web page, which, if a browser wasn’t running already, launched your browser so it could open that page? Will the madness ever end??? Hyperbole much? Maybe. But this level of annoyance is just unacceptable in 2014. Maybe the process is smoother on Windows, and if that’s the case, Adobe ought to realize how much of its user base uses Macs, and remember which platform allowed them to thrive in the first place (the first Adobe apps were Mac-only or Mac-first).
So… That’s just Flash…
There’s also the main “watcher” app that indicates its presence in the OS X menu bar. At one point this thing was supposedly updated, with a new icon and new interface if you decided to open it, and there was an option to NOT automatically launch this menu item on login, supposedly. So, I thought I set that preference (to not auto-launch), but then the OLD icon showed back up to take the place of the newer one. And when I interact with the resurrected old icon, the new icon ALSO shows up in my menu bar, until I quit that one anyway. WTF IS GOING ON???
Their UI trend is terrible, especially in dialog windows in apps like Illustrator and Dreamweaver (which I only very rarely use these days – I’ve moved on to more robust IDEs and text editors). It’s becoming a hideous abomination of design. They don’t match any native OS dialogs (in either Windows or OS X), the buttons are janky (to use a technical term), the outlines around all UI elements just clutter things up. Shouldn’t a company who develops design software care at least a little about the visual design of their own applications?
I guess all of this is a product of farming development to developers overseas where labor is cheaper, but just like junky stuff from Indonesia, you totally get what you pay for (what Adobe pays for development, not us as customers – we still get F’d up the A on the price of their software). It also seems like none of their separate product divisions communicate with each other to have SOME kind of consistency, SOME coherence. It’s annoying to say the least.
So, basically, Adobe are (is a) jerk(s). And they don’t care. Because they have a monopoly. And it SUCKS. I don’t have many more viable options now, so I guess I’ll just bend over and say:
“Thank you sir, may I have another!”