Making Creative Development Tools Accessible to Our Future Designers and Developers

8th December 2015

On opening Photoshop this morning, it asked to score the likelihood I would recommend it to a friend out of 10. Along with my score I was able to submit comments, and used all the characters available to offer the following:

Adobe should make products more freely available to amateurs. My eldest son is 12 and a budding web developer; he’s using open source products. When I was a teenager I could get hold of Adobe products because you made it easy. You’ve now made it nigh on impossible to escape paying for it. We respect your pricing structure for professionals – we’re happy to pay for the licenses as we make money out of your product. But it’s shortsighted to lock kids out – especially as the free alternatives are getting really good.

Having stated this, I thought I should back up my claims by highlighting 5 great development tools out there for Mac users, all of which your little geniuses can access for free:




Indesign versus Scribus

Scribus can do most of the things you can do in Indesign. Its interface falls short, but to lay out a straightforward page, leaflet or small book design, Scribus is totally viable.

It’s less adept at image handling, and less precision is available for really fine-tuning, but it’s usable – and free!







Photoshop versus GIMP

Version 2.8 of GIMP has a tidy interface, making it highly usable. A recent addition is a new single-window mode, copying the tabbed view of Photoshop.

GIMP gets better and better with every release, which arguably can’t always be said for Photoshop, and I think it could be viewed as a serious contender even for professional use.





Illustrator versus Inkscape

Inkscape is widely labelled as the top subscription-free alternative to Adobe Illustrator.  The interface is well thought out, offering a fuss-free working-space, and giving users room to focus on the task in-hand.  The UI may involve a few trials and errors, particularly when using filters and setting up palettes, but this tool is robust. It’s certainly up to the job, and has gained respect amongst those within the industry.   




Dreamweaver versus SeaMonkey

SeaMonkey is an all-in-one internet application suite which continues to develop and deliver high-quality updates. It contains a browser, email & newsgroup client with an included web feed reader, HTML editor, IRC chat and web development tools. It’s also standards-compliant, and comes with some clever development tools such as an Error Console and DOM Inspector.






Acrobat versus Preview

Us Mac users can get by with Preview for most PDF editing and creation. Preview covers annotation, highlighting, editing, signatures and more. For the majority of people who need simple editing tools Preview works great.








Summing up:

The few open-source tools I have chosen to compare against Adobe products are a sprinkling of what’s available.  There really are some great alternatives out there and, whilst testing them might be time-consuming, the beauty is that there is likely to be a solution that suits your personal needs or preference.  This still doesn’t stop me wishing Adobe would engineer some kind of free or affordable iteration of their products for those under 16.

Dave Harrison: MD | Spicerack Media Ltd