Adobe Software Push in High Gear

Adobe Systems shows no signs of slowing down following last year’s blockbuster acquisition of Macromedia.

Adobe , announced today it’s acquired the FileLine Digital Rights Management (DRM) division of Navisware. With the acquisition, Adobe said it will be able to provide new capabilities to its Adobe LiveCycle Policy Server to persistently protect business-critical documents in PDF, Microsoft Office and CAD formats, independent of how they are stored or delivered inside and outside the firewall. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Navisware, based in Raleigh, N.C., developed FileLine to provide DRM capabilities for a variety of document types critical to the engineering design process. By integrating these capabilities into its LiveCycle Policy Server, Adobe said it will help organizations apply policies directly to documents such as financial, government, or engineering documents containing intellectual property, better controlling how, when, and by whom the documents can be used.

Separately, San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe also announced a public beta of Lightroom, an all-digital imaging solution designed to give professional photographers a complete photography workflow. The software will be on display this week at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, which starts Tuesday. The beta version is for Macintosh, although Adobe said it also plans a Windows version.

Sporting what’s described as a “radical new user interface,” Lightroom allows photographers to rapidly scroll through hundreds of images. A Quick One-to-One Zoom feature allows instant magnification of the finer points within the image.

Lightroom is one of many beta or test programs Adobe plans to make available under a new Adobe Labs test site. Earlier this month, an update to Flash Pro 8, software for building mobile applications with Flash Lite 2 software, was made available at the Adobe Labs Web site. Alpha versions of Adobe’s Flex product line and Flash Player 8.5 have also been posted.

Before Adobe Labs, both Adobe and Macromedia had traditional beta programs where their pre-release software was only available to a select group of testers. “We find with the wider availability, you get the advantage of a broader net of people really passionate about the product,” Sara Spalding, developer relations manager for Adobe, told “We’re also finding there’s more variety in the feedback, and it’s a more collaborative process to finding out what works and what doesn’t.”

Spalding noted a separate Adobe Labs site was necessary so as not to confuse the majority of customers only interested in finished, commercially available products.

“We want to open our development processes earlier, and also have a place to release software and tools that are useful,” said Spalding. While many of the Adobe Labs products will eventually be finished and released commercially, Spalding noted that some may not be, either because of negative feedback or because they are simply better suited to remain at the Labs Web site.

For a small number of products, where Adobe plans more frequent releases in development, Spalding said it will continue a more traditional private and limited beta testing program.

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