Last month Sys-Con Media posted an interesting interview (brace yourself before clicking – ads on that page tend to get in your face) with Adobe General Manager David Mendels. One of the first points David makes addresses a question about “hiccups” during the Adobe acquisition of Macromedia. He does a great job of dismissing the suggestion, mentioning that any hiccups are “internal”. I have no doubt this may be the case from a Flash or Flex perspective however I think that a few Macromedia products and groups actually have stumbled under Adobe’s guidance.

While eLearning wasn’t exactly a primary focus at Macromedia they did have a few of the leading tools for developing learning content (Captivate, Authorware, Director…), people (Tom King) and even an “enterprise solution” (Breeze). Add Flash and Dreamweaver to the mix and they had a reasonable offering for the broad spectrum that is “eLearning”. While some of the tools are becoming long in the tooth and had languished, (to a degree), with small dev teams and little marketing there was also strong community involvement from MM folks. In many cases this was the product developers themselves out in forums and on mailing lists supporting users. Unfortunately, it would seem that has changed under Adobe’s watch. The fact that Adobe recently felt the need to release a set of FAQ documents stating a degree of commitment to the continued development of these tools really makes it apparent. What can be said about the state of your community relations if one the most frequently asked questions about a product is ‘what’s going on’ ?

To be fair to David the interview was focused on his Enterprise and Developer group and most specifically Flex and large scale application development. However, it is worth pointing out that as these large business applications are built, as rich and collaborative as they are, the organizations that own them will be looking for ways to get employees up to speed on ways to use them effectively. This will become even more true as tools like Apollo come about and even further change the way people do their jobs.

As a developer I find it kind of ironic that I’m thinking about this so much. While the development I do is training related, I really consider myself more of a developer who happens to develop training rather than a trainer who develops. Because of that however, I tend to subscribe to mailing lists and read forums / newsgroups where some of the true eLearning thinkers are and from my perspective a good number are becoming increasingly frustrated with Adobe’s apparent neglect of the tools and communities they use.

Now, the good thing about hiccups is that there are a number of simple “cures“…

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