In April of 2005, Adobe released the Creative Suite 5 upgrade to its popular creative tool product line. As part of the announcement, Adobe also announced that it would be dropping support for the Version Cue tool that enabled its users to version files. While most users have subsequently upgraded their CS applications, there are still a fair number of loyal CS4 users that remain “version locked” and unwilling to upgrade as they rely on the functionality that Version Cue offers.
Alternatives to Version Cue do exist but they are not nearly as abundant as users would have hoped. Organizations that have large code development teams have looked at traditional software versioning tools as a replacement but have found that the needs of code-based developers do not mirror those of the creative teams. Typical SVN type solutions lack the visually oriented approach that designers need to efficiently manage their files.
Adobe Version Cue was ostensibly a free tool, bundled in to the other creative suite applications. There are currently few tools on the market that will provide users with the types of Digital Asset Management and Versioning functionality considered necessary. However, the commercially available tools, such as the evolphin Zoom product deliver a host of functionality that will provide the return on investment in time savings and error reduction that make this a much easier proposition for budget conscious design teams.
Here are a couple of key points to keep in mind when searching for an alternative:
1. The migration tool supplied only works with CS4
Adobe provides a roadmap to upgrade from CS4 only. There is no migration path for releases earlier than CS4. If you are using a previous version, you would need to upgrade to VC CS4 first before you can successfully migrate your files to an alternative tool.
2. Choose an alternative that meets your needs
There are a wide variety of Digital Asset Management (DAM) tools available, but many do not have modern concurrent versioning technology built in. Ensure that any new tool has visual thumbnails and previews, lock management, multi-user support and can integrate with the creative tools that you are using today.
3. Determine what changes you want to make
As you make the transition from one versioning tool to another, it may be the perfect opportunity to determine if your current taxonomy is optimized moving forward. If you want to move from a customer based or file type based hierarchy to a project based hierarchy, this is the perfect time to make that switch. Ensure that your vendor can support such a switch.
4. Choose a vendor with experience
The migration tool provided by Adobe is far from perfect. There are a host of issues and problems that need to be addressed and avoided. Choose a vendor that has successfully migrated existing customers. To understand more about the pitfalls of Adobe’s migration tool, see the Replacing Version Cue white paper.
We wish you the best of luck in your migration efforts.