Adobe takes on the Internet

In a move to aggressively enter the graphical segment of Internet development, 2D desktop imaging giant Adobe Systems has introduced several new Net-oriented graphical products and announced partnerships with Sun, Microsoft and AT&T.

Adobe has announced that JavaSoft, an operating company of Sun, will license and distribute Adobe's new 2D imaging model, called Bravo, with the Java platform. Bravo is an API (application programming interface) which is based on Adobe's PostScript imaging model, and will allow developers to create platform-independent applications with images, line-art and text in order to deliver high-resolution graphics over the World Wide Web and intranets. Bravo is being integrated with the Java platform now and will be available to developers by August, according to Adobe.

"We built our reputation on the desktop and we are moving it on to the Web-top with our partnership with JavaSoft," said Adobe president Charles Geschke in San Francisco yesterday. "What Java has done for programming on the Internet, Bravo will do for graphics on the Internet."

"This partnership is great news for Sun customers that we can now extend Java to the 2D desktop. Where Java goes, Bravo will go," says Sun executive Ed Zander.

Adobe has also announced a collaboration with Microsoft to develop a universal font format that will combine TrueType and Type 1 technologies into a new standard called OpenType which will appear in the Windows operating system and Adobe's line of imaging products. It will also be freely licensed to other vendors.

In conjunction with the Bravo imaging framework, Adobe has announced its move into the interactive authoring tools arena with Vertigo. The authoring tool, which will be built on Bravo and will share a common architecture with Adobe's line of authoring products such as Photoshop and Illustrator, is aimed at developers who want to produce video and audio applications for the Web and CD-ROMs. The Vertigo player will work as a plug-in for Netscape Navigator 2.0 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0, enabling users to view interactive applications created with Vertigo authoring tools. Adobe hasn't specified when Vertigo will be available to users and developers.

Among the suite of Internet-targeted products announced yesterday is a new authoring tool, Web Presenter, which will allow developers to create and publish content on the Web or an intranet as Portable Document Files (PDF). The drag-and-drop interface will allow users to create Web documents with graphics, links and video without knowing HTML. The product will not be released until 1997, but a beta version is now available for download from the Adobe site at

The product will be integrated with a future release of Adobe Acrobat code-named Amber which will allow Web Presenter documents to be viewed, and manipulated, on the Web as Portable Document Files (PDF). Amber will allow forms created for the Web in PDF to be completed in much the same way as HTML forms now are, and will enable developers to create multilingual forms including pages in Japanese, Arabic, French, German and Spanish which can be viewed without the use of special character software.

Web Presenter combined with Amber Acrobat will eliminate the barrier of language from the Web, says Geschke, since developers will be able to create pages in any language they choose in PDF, while users will be able to view them using the free Amber Acrobat viewer plug-in for Navigator 2.0 or Internet Explorer 3.0.

Amber Acrobat is currently available for download in a beta release from the company's Web site, but Adobe will not specify its final release date.

Adobe has also announced version 2.0 of Adobe PageMill, Web publishing software for Windows 95, Windows NT and Macintosh which will be available in July. The new HTML authoring software will permit use of WYSIWYG tables and inline multimedia data types. PageMill 2.0 also works with Java, VRML, PDF and Shockwave applications. A forthcoming version will interoperate with Microsoft's ActiveX as part of an effort to incorporate ActiveX into Adobe's entire line of authoring products, says company representatives.

In addition to these products, Adobe has announced an intranet-based print manager called PrintMill which will reside on a dedicated server and allow users to print to any printer on a network from their desktop browsers.

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