File Under: Software, Visual Design

Photoshop Contemplates Adding Live HTML Layers

Adobe’s Principal Product Manager of Photoshop, John Nack has posted an idea for a new Photoshop feature on his blog. Nack’s idea is to create a way of rendering HTML and CSS within Photoshop. This means visual designers could work with “live” HTML objects as they’re building websites within a team of programmers, easing the workflow between the designing and coding stages.

Before you get to excited (or disappointed) keep in mind that isn’t a feature, isn’t even part of a plan, it’s simply and idea that Nack would like feedback on.

Nack describes the idea (and workflow) like this: a designer creates a mockup, which he hands off to a programmer. The programmer then renders the mockup in HTML/CSS, at which point he could hand it back to the designer who can open it in Photoshop as a kind of live layer. Resizing and other layer actions would cause the code to respond according to how the programmer has written the code.

What Nack is envisioning is a smart layer that uses WebKit (already part of the Creative Suite) to render what he calls “programmable layers.”

Among the benefits Nack sees are “[live] pixel-accurate web rendering (text and shapes); the ability to style objects via CSS parameters (enabling effects like dotted lines); data-driven 2D and 3D graphics; and high fidelity web output (HTML as HTML).”

The real world example Nack uses is a calendar widget, but that particular example raises an interesting question — what about scripting languages? We don’t know of anyone who writes out calendar code in HTML, that would be insane to update. So if you’re generating the calendar with, say, PHP, where does the script rendering happen?

So far, the comments appear pretty evenly divided between those who think such a feature would be great and those think that either it’s just more bloat in Photoshop, or that Fireworks would be a better home for the idea.

If you’ve got strong opinions one way or the other, head over to Nack’s blog and let him know what you think, either in the comments or by completing this survey.

Just remember that this is not part of a roadmap and may well never happen. In the words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t panic.”

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