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Why I haven't joined Adobe Creative Cloud

Posted on by Clive Walker in Web Development Freelancing

I wrote this post a while back. The content can still be relevant but the information I've linked to may not be available.

Adobe have moved from a boxed product model for their Creative Suite software to a cloud-based service called Creative Cloud and, over the last few months or so, I’ve been thinking whether I should join. On the face of it, Creative Cloud looks pretty good. You get access to the full suite of Adobe products including, for example, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator and InDesign, which is a lot of software for the monthly price of £46.88 (in the UK). And you get software updates as soon as they are published. However, for my specific requirements, it doesn’t feel right for me. So, at the moment, I’ve decided not to join and here’s why.

My usage

I’m a Windows-based freelance web designer/developer in the UK. My work covers a range of activities from back end database work to front end development to design. However, if I had to choose, I’d probably say that my main role is front end developer. At the moment, I have the boxed product Creative Suite 6 (CS6) and I use Dreamweaver a lot (sorry guys, I like its all-in-one development environment), Fireworks a lot, and Photoshop sometimes, but not extensively. Very, very occasionally, I need InDesign or Illustrator to open a file.

So, my usage equates to 2.5 Adobe applications. However, Fireworks is not being developed further so, although it’s part of Creative Cloud, it seems a dead application in Adobe’s eyes. This means my usage of Creative Cloud, assuming no change in usage, would be 1.5 applications. Somehow, £47/month seems more difficult to justify. Of course, I could sign-up for a single application license for £17.58/month (mainly for my Dreamweaver usage) and stick with Photoshop and Fireworks CS6. However, that doesn’t seem great either, especially when the Dreamweaver-related tools like Edge Reflow aren’t included in the single application license (as far as I know, please correct me if I have this wrong).

Costs and the monthly thing

Of course, I can afford the monthly costs if I choose to but it’s an additional business cost of £562/year and my usage makes it less effective for me. Don’t get me wrong, I used to upgrade Creative Suite every 18 months but, and here’s the thing, that was my choice. I could do it when I wanted. I’m struggling to feel totally comfortable with a monthly commitment. There’s a change of mindset required and I haven’t got my head around it yet.

NB: The equivalent price of Creative Cloud in the USA is $49.99/month. Seems cheaper than the UK price to me but different taxes (VAT) will be reflected in the UK price (I assume).

How will I cope without Creative Cloud?

Well, eventually, my CS6 products may have problems and I will have to re-evaluate my options at that time. In the meantime, I am losing out on new Dreamweaver features like the improved CSS editing tools. So…. I’ve been assessing alternative software like Sublime Text (which I already use) and Brackets editor (open source), both of which I like, and various preprocessing tools, for example PrePros. It’s been great to try these and I’m using them more and more.

Looking ahead, I’m looking forward to trying out Underdog as a Fireworks replacement and UI design tool and Macaw as a web design/prototyping tool. So, I think the future of smaller independent software tools is looking good.

In conclusion

I haven’t ruled out joining Creative Cloud if it becomes more attractive, either in terms of my usage or features or price. However, at present, it’s a No for me.

I’d love to get other feedback on this, why you have or haven’t joined Creative Cloud. Leave a comment below if you want to tell me.

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  • 12 Nov 2013 00:23:49

    Thinking of signing up for the @adobe Creative Cloud? Some of these horror stories might change your mind.

    Remember to change your passwords and check your bank account for the next several month to make sure the hackers that got all that sensitive data from Adobe don’t access your accounts.

    New Adobe Survey. If you are not happy with CC being the only choice, let them know.

  • 12 Nov 2013 08:27:20

    @Tom: Thanks for your comments. I’ve left it in but the survey you mention is now closed BTW.

  • 12 Nov 2013 20:24:53

    I too have been looking at Creative Cloud, but just don’t see the costs working out. I use Photoshop a lot for taking .psd files from designers and turning them in to HTML, but I don’t really use any of their other products. I wouldn’t mind trying Fireworks or the most recent version of Dreamweaver (the last I used properly was 8-10 years ago). But the monthly price is just too high.

    I can understand if you’re a designer who uses Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign the cost probably makes sense, especially if you’re dealing with agencies a lot and need to make sure you have the latest software. But as a developer, I’m better off with a single product and buying it outright at the moment, especially as I don’t need to keep up with every single update.

  • 12 Nov 2013 20:49:37

    @Paul: I think Adobe need to be more flexible on pricing. I might be tempted if they had a two-app deal nearer the single app price. I’m also rather wary that paying for the whole suite will lock me into their system … and subsequent prices rises!

  • 05 Oct 2014 14:55:10

    Hi Clive,

    Really interesting reading why you have not jumped in with Adobe CC. I’m of a similar opinion.

    I started with Macromedia Dreamweaver 1.2 in 1998 (if my 52 year old memory serves me correctly), and I am currently using CS6.

    I haven’t jumped on to the CC bandwagon as I prefer having total control, more so when I am paying for the pleasure, and also can not justify laying out £48.00 a month, every month.

    Where I think a lot of people have taken to CC is they have always got the latest features, but I’ve also heard stories that there are many features within the CC versions not available that people have used a lot.

    Using DW since 1998 I never use the inbuilt FTP. I prefer using FileZilla which has always been rock solid in use. I always found DW’s inbuilt FTP a bit ‘clunky’.

    I’m a big fan of Fireworks, always have been and use it every day, but why Adobe have stopped producing it I will never know.

    I signed up for a trial of CC just after it came out and didn’t take to it at all. First impressions count & you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

    As I do a lot of hand coding I have been using Notepad++ for a good number of years. But having a read around your site I have just downloaded Brackets this afternoon and will be having a play with this later.

    I don’t like all eggs in one basket, Adobe CC doesn’t do it for me at all, but should I end up being forced away from my CS6 suite, I shall look at Adobe alternatives.

    I always wait before jumping into new faddy kinds of stuff, new releases of OS software, (I’m a Windows 7 bloke and sticking with it) as there are always teething issues. My time is better spent working and not dealing with issues that are costing me time, money and frustration.

    That’s my take on matters regarding Adobe CC.

    Regards from sunny Bolton

  • 06 Oct 2014 08:39:37

    @Billy: Thanks for your comments. I think we agree on this one!

  • 28 Nov 2014 12:42:05

    Hello Clive,

    As requested: here’s some more feedback.

    I agree with your views, I too have not made the change to Adobe CC. Simply put: they take away your choice about when you can afford/wish to upgrade, moreover it costs more outside the USA.
    Sometimes way more.

    I’ve added my vote to the petition, which is still growing.

    I found you when searching for a solution in Perch. Thanks for posting your solutions.
    I struggle with some things. When Dreamweaver started changing some of my markup, it seems that it was finally time to leave. I’ve gone to Sublime Text.
    Of interest to some perhaps is my issue:

    I found that dreamweaver was stripping away some closing anchor tags in some files, eg: the Perch blog template;
    post_in_list.html. Too strange.

    Sublime does not do this.


  • 28 Nov 2014 13:52:22

    @Caron: Thanks for your comments. I’ve moved away from Dreamweaver a lot in the last few months. I use Sublime Text and Brackets as editors now. You might like to try Brackets because it has a few neat features. Yes, it is Adobe but also Open Source and free. I like it.

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