I was pleasantly surprised to learn Adobe Project ROME was announced yesterday. I’ve had the great privilege to have worked with a preview of Project ROME for a few months and I’ve made it a point to learn as much as I can about it. ROME is unique in the Adobe landscape in that it’s being developed primarily for the education space first and then being made available to the general public. ROME is a lightweight content creation tool that fits the education market very well. It’s built using the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) and is made available as a web application or as a desktop app. The size of the app is about 10MB which is really remarkable considering what the app can do. I learned from some of the Adobe folks that ROME is being developed by same team that creating Adobe GoLive (now discontinued because Adobe acquired Dreamweaver). I LOVED GoLive! and I’m not surprised to see an intuitive interface that allows you to quickly get things done. Here’s a breakdown of the types of content you can create with Adobe Project ROME:
Print PDF (Plans, Schedules, Certificates, Reports, Flyers, etc.)
Interactive PDF (A single page PDF file with an embedded Flash file) (Animations, Presentations, Interactive Student Reports, ePortfolios, etc.)
Flash SWF (Websites, Presentations, Animations, etc.)
ROME Website (Host your content on the Project ROME website. Currently you can have 10 websites)
Graphics File (Export to JPG, PNG, SVG, FXG, and Image Sequence)
Template Exchange (not available in ROME for Education)
ROME uses a sheet metaphor and allows you to create multiple sheets and master sheets. On any sheet you to create vector graphics, import and edit bitmap graphics (double click on a bitmap to get access to all kinds of editing options), add text fields, navigation buttons, maps from Google, a snap shot an internal camera, images from the web, and video from YouTube. The education version of ROME can be locked down to prevent students from accessing questionable content. Each sheet has a timeline associated where you can animate objects on that sheet. What’s fun and unique about ROME is the way you manipulate objects in your project. When you select an object, a small pencil icon appears above and to the right the object. By moving your mouse over that icon, you can access all the properties of that object. This heads-up-display or HUD allows you to change colors, add actions to events, apply filters, transform the object and more.
For educational administrators, Adobe is very interested in making ROME easy to manage. ROME for Education will be available on the Google App Store and other distribution solutions where you can manage subscriptions and access to ROME. Adobe is also interested in integrating ROME with learning managements systems and is interested in your feedback in making that happen. I hear they are interested in starting with Moodle which is great news! Project ROME will be a subscription based application, I haven’t heard yet what the pricing structure will be. Hopefully the pricing will be structured in a way to allow all students access to this great tool. I’ve published a few examples of projects I’ve done in ROME. Expect to see more in the future (after the AdobeMAX conference)
- An ePortfolio Example
- A Travelogue
- A Simple Name that Landmark Game
As with any software, ROME has limitations. Its target audience is students and instructors who want to quickly create content. It doesn’t have the professional features of the Creative Suite, but for basic content creation ROME is the bees knees!