PhotoShop on the web!

October 23, 2007 at 10:31 am | Posted in Online services, Software, Web Apps | 1 Comment

A decade ago, I developed and managed server based applications using thin client technology. Users just needed a small “client” application. When they connected to the server, all the other apps were provided for them there. This was a great solution for dial-up as only the keyboard clicks and screens had to be sent back and forth down the pipe. Even a slow 28.8kb connection was enough. Some businesses still use this technology as it allows centralized management of data for backup, indexing, version control and distribution, plus centralized management of software updates and security. But it requires a very robust server infrastructure to manage multiple concurrent usage of resource hungry applications. And simple stuff like printing and user management become more complex. To say nothing of licensing.

At the time, Microsoft went a little strange and played pussyfoot with us around licensing for Win2K. We were advised by MS’s senior technology man to rebuild our applications with other MS technology. It was an appalling underestimation of what we were doing and the cost impact to our company. Basically telling us we had to rebuild our core business from scratch. They did not want to license application serving.

Other companies used the technology to allow users to “test drive” applications without install. You could play with the full suite of Corel applications online that way, for example, including Corel Draw.

But along came broadband and the much more attractive per user costs of web apps.
With a team of developers and 1,600 page spec, we migrated to web apps, served on the much more reliable (and cheaper) Linux platform where there would be no MS politics.

Many companies are following a similar web migration gradually. A shift is underway, away from expensive licensing, retail boxes, and installs.  Webmail is a big example. The operating system becomes less and less important – just choose your favorite browser. Do your work with applications online in a browser and save locally – or to another online storage service that is fully backed up and can be accessed from any computer, anywhere.

Google has been developing a suite of Office applications for the web I talked about earlier. And now to the news of this post – Adobe has announced its going to be migrating PhotoShop and Illustrator to the web. They have already launched a web version of Premiere, the video editing program.

As the article linked above mentions, the whole model of long, expensive software agreements goes out the window. Instead, you get free with advertising or low cost subscription models. Thats a big change from laying out $1,000 for a copy of the mother of graphics editing.

If they can move PhotoShop to the web, the days of the computer as we know it are about to end. Bandwidth and being connected will be more important than hardware and operating system. A palm computer with a projector and virtual keyboard can become a professional photo editing suite….

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  1. […] – part 2 March 28, 2008 at 8:32 am | In Design, Online services, Web Apps | Back in October, I wrote a post about the development of web apps and Adobe’s plans to put PhotoShop on the web. Well, now […]

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