To put it mildly, Adobe makes a lot of content-creation software—and it even comes in easy, medium, and hard flavors, just like videogames do. So for everyone out there who wishes for a single freakin’ app to take care of biz, Adobe’s answer is Project Rome. This beta cloud-based service launches today, providing an all-in-one content creation and publishing platform that runs from any browser or as an Adobe Air application for Mac and Windows (this version can be used offline). Impressively, it’s free to U.S.-based users while it’s in beta, an offer that Adobe’s making because they’re still taking feature requests and want to tune the service based on the feedback they get. When it launches “for real,” it’ll be “an affordable, paid subscription service for individuals and institutions,” according to Adobe. Hopefully it’ll get a better name, too.
So to the meat and potatoes of it—how “all in one” are we talking here? In the web-based presentation we saw last week, Adobe reps used it to quickly create websites, greeting cards, flyers, animations, and more in what looked like a pretty intuitive, user-friendly interface that we’d describe as InDesign+ for, uh, newbies. Toolbars and menus changed on the fly, adapting intelligently to whether the demo-er was editing text, building animations, editing photos or videos, and so on.
From within the layout of any given piece you’re creating, Rome also provides 126 fonts stored in the cloud, lets you insert/scale/edit vector art, work within master layers, set timelines for animations, and so on. You can also use its integrated Google media search to harvest videos and images for use in your creations (assuming they’re not copyrighted, etc), and you can place interactive Google maps within creations as well.
Intriguingly, the Project Rome service is intertwined with the cloud. Fonts and templates can be tapped from the service itself, and users can share and use files from Google apps or acrobat.com, while links to works made in Rome can be published to Twitter, Facebook, and Google Buzz.
There’s also a big education focus with Project Rome, and Adobe’s very keen to attract teachers who are interested in building highly interactive lessons. We checked out a tour of the solar system that would’ve guaranteed we were wide-eyed in science class—it looked more like using NASA’s rad iPad app than taking a science class ever has. Teachers will be able to upload and download these lessons, allowing the best and most interesting to be shared between schools in what could possibly be a very helpful resource.
You can’t beat the price, at least while it’s in beta, and frankly, the idea of one app that does at least the highlights of what Adobe’s Creative Suite does is massively interesting. We’ll be checking it out, and we’d love to hear your reactions in the comments below.