For a long time, I was using Quark XPress to create traditional publications. Eventually, InDesign won out. But with the waning value of Adobe’s Creative Suite, I went looking for an alternative to InDesign. While not a total replacement, I find that Apple’s Pages is pretty good for a lot of desktop publishing tasks. I started using the software when it was packaged as iWork. Today, the software is available on the Mac App Store. It’s also available for free with a new Mac. Pages is more like a replacement for Microsoft Word, but I’ve also used Pages to create books.
For interactive ebooks, there’s also iBooks Author, but I think Apple should just merge Pages and iBooks Author into one amazing app. Making iPad exclusive publications is not something that I recommend, which is why I don’t consider iBooks Author as a reasonable alternative to InDesign. Allowing Pages to create interactive epub documents, would extremely diminish the value of InDesign.
With Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign out of the way, there’s not much left of value to the Creative Suite. I never really liked Dreamweaver. Content Management Systems like WordPress or Drupal have replaced the need for WYSIWYG editors like Dreamweaver anyway. These days, I’m mostly using TextWrangler or Xcode for web and app development. Both are freely available on the Mac App Store.
That just leaves Adobe Flash. But unfortunately, there hasn’t been much improvement with Flash – not since the era of Macromedia. Mobile apps and mobile browsers are slowly killing Flash. HTML5 is all the rage these days, but it’s still a bit of a fragmented mess. A quick trip through html5test.com or caniuse.com shows the differences between the browsers. Unfortunately, with so many people still using older web browser or older mobile devices, it’s tough to create a seamless experience across all the different screen sizes, operating systems and devices.
I really liked Flash. Just as I was starting to truly understand ActionScript, the downward spiral of Flash had begun. With the high expense of Adobe’s software, and the emergence of mobile devices without Flash support, I was scrambling for a replacement. I even considered Adobe Edge Animate, but I prefer Hype. It’s powerful and it’s a Mac exclusive.
With the big apps out of the way, I don’t see much value to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. I didn’t use Lightroom, so finding an alternative isn’t a problem. I used iPhoto to organize my pictures, but I’m happy with the new Photos app. It’s part of OS X Yosemite, which is also available on the Mac App Store. It’s a shame about the removal of iPhoto and Aperture from the Mac App Store. That seems to have annoyed lots of photographers out there. But when faced with Lightroom’s monthly/annual subscription fee, choosing Apple’s new Photos app is a no brainer for me.