Muse (codename): A look at Adobe's newest application

September 9, 2011 | Matt Sullivan

InDesign meets Dreamweaver meets WordPress meets Flash Catalyst! Adobe's newest product offering does all of this, and manages to do it with a 6 megabyte download!

I'm still not sure how they're doing it, but it took less than 5 minutes for me to go to the Muse website (now in public beta), download the file, install and register the application.

Don't believe me? Click on http://muse.adobe.com/?promoid=JBQZE, check your watch, and start downloading! Currently you don't even need to enter an Adobe ID to start the download.

Assuming you already have AIR installed (I do, for TweetDeck and for AIR files I create from Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3.5) you'll probably spend more time registering the beta than you do getting it on your system.

One of my favorite features is the automatic recognition of html code. As an example, you can paste <iframe> code into a Muse layout and it is automatically processed and inserted with a preview into your page. This feature alone will save hours of codeview for me.

Two other nifty features:

  1. Interactive and intuitive editing of Headers and Footers, and Master Pages
  2. What looks like an easier way of creating Flash Catalyst interactions and navigational structures

The quick overview

Muse will be Software as a Service (SaaS), but free to everyone until it is released sometime next year.

The strength of Muse is in the design and page layout department.

Their target market:
Print professionals who need a better way to produce rich web layouts without certification in html, css, and flex.

Think of it as InDesign for the web. With a decidely InDesign-influenced interface, Muse is very layout and panel oriented. Master pages, image handling, typography are nearly identical to InDesign, but result in code, rather than print or PDF output.

Take a minute to check out Muse's advantages in the following categories. Then go back to the link above, download it, and let us know what you think!

Reasons to check out Muse

Plan your site

Easy-to-use sitemaps, master pages, and a host of flexible, site-wide tools make it fast and intuitive to get your site planned out and ready for design

Sitemaps

Arrange your pages with an easy-to-use sitemap that allows you to set up and change site structure quickly.

Master pages

Define and control design elements that are common across multiple pages by adding them to your master page layout. More details ›

Site-wide properties

Define layout basics that are automatically applied throughout the site, such as margins, page width, alignment, and hyperlink colors.

Design with freedom

Focus on design rather than technology. Combine imagery, graphics, and text with precision and control, just as you would expect from Adobe® design tools.

Familiar Adobe tools

Create layouts intuitively with smart guides, paste in place, edit original, the eyedropper, columns, gutters, and more. More details ›

Dynamic page resizing

Muse page layouts will automatically resize in height, growing as much as you need to accommodate the length of content on each page.

Image optimization

Know that your images will look and load the best for web. Muse automatically optimizes PSD and PNG files when you publish.

Round-trip editing

Edit images with Photoshop® or Fireworks® using Edit Original, edits will be automatically reflected in your layout.

Text and paragraph styles

Format text, creating and saving text styles just as you would in InDesign®. CSS is automatically generated by Muse site-wide.

Precise typography

Design with web-safe fonts, or use display fonts which will be automatically converted to images with alt-text retained in the code

Backgrounds

Fill your background with repeating images or any fill you choose, guaranteed to be optimized for best performance.

Pin to browser

Easily pin an object so that it always displays in the same location even when you scroll the page. More details ›

Headers and footers

Assign header and footer areas for elements repeated on every page. Footers will automatically shift no matter how long the page content gets.

Flexible width

For full control over your design you can set elements to display at 100% browser width so your design adapts to the size of the browser window.

Asset management

An Assets Panel helps you keep track of all image assets associated with your site and includes the ability to re-link

Preview your design

Preview your design in Muse, or in a browser to check how the site is shaping up.

Add rich interactivity

Create compelling interactivity with Muse's built-in tools, or embed HTML elements like Google Maps and Facebook feeds.

Auto-generated navigation

Drag and drop fully customizable navigation menus that automatically reflect the pages in your sitemap.

Defined object states

Format up, over, down and normal states for any object in Muse. Create Photoshop Buttons by applying states to Photoshop layers.

Embedded HTML

Embed arbitrary HTML code from sources such as Google Maps and YouTube. Add social media buttons, feeds and much more. More details ›

Anchor links

Easily create anchor links that take visitors to a specific location in the middle of a page or design.

Slideshows

Drag and drop a fully customizable slideshow widget for an easy, eye-catching way to display a series of images.

Tabbed and accordion panels

Organize lengthy information in more visually appealing, "bite-sized" chunks by using fully customizable tabbed or accordion panels.

Lightboxes

Create an overlay that brings special focus to an image, video or other content by having it appear in a modal layer.

Trigger and target

Define hotspots or triggers that display additional content when a user clicks or rolls over the area. More details ›

Publish your site

Preview your site with Muse to see how it looks and test how it works. Take your site live using Adobe for hosting or export to a provider of your choice.

Trial sites for testing

Create a trial site for preview so that you can test in the real world. Hosted with Adobe, you can send URLs to clients for review.

Adobe hosting

Publish and keep your sites with Adobe hosting. Quickly convert trial sites to live sites without having to move files. More details ›

Browser compatibility

Muse creates cross-browser compatible code for you, so you can focus on your design and we’ll make sure your site looks great.

Export to a provider

Host your site with a provider of your choice. Go live by simply exporting your Muse site and using FTP to upload to any provider.