If we choose to forget the outrageous sticker price of Adobe’s creative suite apps, nobody can deny that they make some of the most awesome tools in the digital world. All their tools are built and distributed targeting hardcore professionals who happen to be the experts in their digital domain. Think you can buy InDesign and start working on the campus magazine ASAP? Absolutely not. Hours of learning, if not professional training will be necessary.
Taking into account the hardships of newbies, casual users and non professionals, Adobe has recently launched a publishing tool that spans across platforms – both desktop and web. Project ROME is largely focused towards point and click publishing and after the break we’ll take a look at this great app.
Adobe defines Project ROME as “an all-in-one content creation and publishing application that lets virtually anyone at home, work or school inject the power of graphics, photos, text, video, audio, animation and interactivity into everyday projects”. You might think that the definition is so sweeping, covering a lot of verticals, but Project Rome as an app does a lot of these things. Consider this to be a cross between Adobe InDesign and Microsoft PowerPoint in the cloud with a whole lot of interactive features thrown in. Let’s unravel the entire set of features later in this review.
Project ROME is available both as a web app and as a desktop app running atop the Adobe AIR platform. Project ROME is available as a free preview for a limited time. Project ROME’s final availability, pricing, and feature set are still under review and once available, it will be offered as a paid subscription.
How it Works
Project ROME is simply the most universal publishing software on the market, packed with printing, imaging, animation and web design solutions in one powerful app. Using the ROME app, you start drawing your design and end up creating an impressive online presentation – without having to change software. Projects created can be saved in a wide variety of popular formats including PDF, SWF (Flash), JPEG, HTML or SVG (Vector Graphic) formats.
As usual you can upload images and videos directly from your computer or from Acrobat.com using your Adobe ID.
Project ROME on the Desktop
Project ROME is available for download for Windows and Mac desktops. You will need Adobe AIR installed and if you have not already, there is a link in the Downloads page for you. Once you agree to the license agreement you can download the app. Considering the features that has been promised, the app has a relatively small footprint and installed without any issues.
Did I mention that Project ROME has a clutter free user interface and is so simple to use? Well, I do now. There are no toolbars and rows & columns of icons similar to Photoshop, Flash or other Desktop Adobe apps. Instead we have all the features tucked away in five different and neatly labeled sections. Among the five sections, three are for managing the your Adobe account, uploading files and getting files.
Creating a Presentation
When all the creative tools are packed in just two sections, you can understand how easy it would be to use the app. Without menus and toolbars, the interface is fluid, intuitive and so easy to navigate.
You can kickstart the creative process by selecting the appropriate category your work is going to be. You can choose from a well compiled list of categories that include everything from business, cards, brochures to websites. Once you select a category, there a number of ready made templates available at your disposal. Using the templates gets you started immediately and you do not have to stare at a blank canvas sitting around thinking where to begin!
When you start editing the template, you will get to see the menus and a toolbar. Still they are simple to understand and there are not so many of them, reducing the learning curve. Since I chose a brochure, I got a view pane displaying the sheets (front & back). Below it is the elements pane which helps you pick and edit out the logo, text, images etc. You can either use this or just double click on the template on display to start editing.
All the settings needed to make the brochure print ready are available under the setup menu. Right from the units and size to the playback options, everything can be controlled from here.
If you are satisfied with the presentation, you can start importing the same as a PDF specifying details like DPI or save it in the Template Exchange if you have an Adobe Id. based on what type of category you are working on, the output options vary.
Project ROME on the Web
Project ROME as a web app has the same functionality of its desktop counterpart and is not limited by the constraints of a browser. It was real fun for me to start a project on the AIR app on my desktop and pick where I left it on the web app. Except for the fact that I was distracted by the email and Google Reader tabs that I have kept open in the browser, the experience was smooth and flawless.
From printed materials and presentations to digital documents and websites, you can go from start to finish within the simple, creative Project ROME environment. The experience is phenomenal and so intuitive. However the one thing that bugs me is the pricing. Project ROME is available as a free preview and Adobe says the pricing is currently under review.
We all know how exorbitantly priced Adobe creative suites and individual apps are. So it is only natural for anyone to be a but apprehensive to start using the app and getting hooked to an app that could burn a hole in the pocket. While Project ROME tries to do be the Jack of all trades, that multiplicity is what makes the app well worth the hassle of tyring it in the first place.
Share Your Thoughts!
What do you think of Project ROME? Is it alright for Adobe to fix the price much later? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section. Thanks!