Creative Cloud for Developers in 2018: A Retrospective

As we prepare to close out 2018, taking a look back at the last 12 months underscores how big a year it’s been for the Creative Cloud developer platform and ecosystem.

Adobe speakers at our 2018 EU partner day in Hamburg, Germany

Before I jump into recapping the year, I want to convey our appreciation to the developer community for the role you play in enhancing creative workflows for Creative Cloud users worldwide.

A lot of talented people, beyond the usual faces you see here on the blog and at events, are working to reignite the fire of Creative Cloud extensibility and the potential it represents for creatives everywhere. We’re excited to push the boundaries further and make new connections in 2019. We hope you’ll join us.


We want to stay in touch and keep you up to date.

The main avenues for CC developer news are the Adobe Tech Blog and the CC Developer Newsletter. Bonus points if you sign up for both!

Now let’s take a look back at 2018.

More ways to communicate and stay up to date

In 2018, we made a commitment to start communicating with you more frequently and effectively.

Below, I’ll highlight the Adobe Tech Blog, the CC developer newsletter, and some of our developer events. But it’s just as likely you’ve seen us in developer forums, or on GitHub, webinars, or Twitter. We’ll do our best to be where the community gathers; just let us know where you are.

The blog

Starting in January, we began a weekly cadence of Creative Cloud developer content for this blog.

Following the Adobe Tech Blog is one of the best things you can do to make sure you stay up to date with Creative Cloud API updates, developer events, how-tos, product spotlights, and more. Since the blog features content from all across Adobe, you’ll also get to learn about what Adobe is cooking up for developers beyond Creative Cloud.

In 2018, we were joined by community experts Davide Barranca (twice!) and Kris Coppieters, as well as companies like Astute Graphics and Yummygum.

We’re looking forward to continuing to bring you more CC developer-focused articles by both us and the community on the Adobe Tech Blog.

CC Developer Newsletter

In the summer, we kicked off our monthly CC Developer Newsletter. The newsletter is a great way to get the highlights of the month related to Creative Cloud developers: API news, Adobe Exchange for CC updates, and more.

Sign up for the CC Developer Newsletter to start getting the latest news every month.


Kerri Shotts introducing XD plugins at Design Tools Hackathon in Tel Aviv

We love meeting CC developers in person. This year, we held or participated in a number of events that spanned across multiple cities in the U.S., and on to Germany and Israel.

Drew Endick helping developers prepare for MAX at XD Dev Days in San Francisco

If you’re interested in looking back, a few event highlights for us include:

Ingo Eichel on stage at our EU partner day in Hamburg, Germany

We’re well into planning out our events for the first part of 2019. If you have an event where your attendees would benefit from hearing about Creative Cloud APIs like XD plugins or CEP extensions, let us know!

The future of CC extensibility: UXP and XD

The Adobe XD plugin API launched with a bang at Adobe MAX this October.

If you were already following this blog, then you got to be a part of the big build-up towards that launch. If not, this section contains some great resources from across the year to catch you up.


UXP, or Unified Extensibility Platform, is the technology stack that will power the next generation of CC extensibility. UXP provides a modern JavaScript VM, cross-platform support, simplified plugin packaging, and more.

Earlier this year, we posted some early info on UXP, which is worth a read if you’re curious.

Adobe XD plugin API

Peter Flynn teaching a hands-on XD plugin lab at Adobe MAX

Adobe XD is Adobe’s solution for UX/UI designers to design, prototype, and share engaging user experiences.

In October, XD became the first Creative Cloud app to support UXP with the arrival of the XD plugin API in XD 13. Since then, the API has continued to evolve with this week’s arrival of of XD 14, featuring new APIs and refinements to some existing APIs.

Steve Kwak introducing XD plugin development at Flatiron School in New York

Ready to start building your own Adobe XD plugin? Visit to get started.

The XD plugin ecosystem

When XD plugins launched at MAX in October, users had more than 40 plugins to choose from on day one. Two months later, the XD plugin ecosystem has over doubled in size.

That said, we measure success of the ecosystem, not in numbers of plugins, but in how much impact they provide for XD users. The feedback in the first two months has been great:

As the XD plugin ecosystem continues to grow, we’re excited to help make sure users get access to plugins that can help shape and speed up their workflows.

The Adobe Fund for Design

In the first half of the year, we announced the Adobe Fund for Design, with $10 million for developers who want to have a positive impact on the future of design. Just a few months later, we came back to announce the first recipients of the fund.

The Adobe Fund for Design will continue to play a big role in the CC developer ecosystem in 2019. If you’re interested in applying, visit the fund page to learn more.

Flagship extensibility: updates and plans

In concert with ExtendScript, CEP (Common Extensibility Platform) has enabled developers to create extensions for most flagship Creative Cloud products, like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and InDesign, for many years now.

This year saw notable changes for the state of both of these technologies.

CEP 9.0 and new developer resources

In keeping with the spirit of CEP 8.0 in 2017, CEP 9.0 was launched at MAX this year. CEP 9.0 brought with it big updates to Chromium Embedded Framework and Node.js, core technologies that power CEP.

Throughout the year, we also brought you new getting started resources for CEP, as well as a thorough cleanup and update of the CEP code samples repo on GitHub.

With CEP 9.0, our new developer guides, and updated samples, it’s easier to get started with CEP than ever before.

ExtendScript and ExtendScript Toolkit

Debugging ExtendScript in VSCode

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the issues that cropped up for ExtendScript Toolkit, our IDE for ExtendScript developers, in November.

Thanks to the strong community of ExtendScript developers, the cause and fix were quickly identified.

The resulting community discussion also prompted us to re-evaluate how communicative we’ve been about the future of ExtendScript development tools. So just last week, we shared our plans and a commitment to communicate more frequently about our progress.

We’ll have more updates to share on this front in the new year.

Adobe Exchange updates

Adobe Exchange, our marketplace for Creative Cloud extensibility products, saw quite a few updates and improvements over the year.

For starters, the Adobe Exchange Developer portal saw a big update, including moving our revenue share model from 70/30 to 90/10. This work was done in anticipation of the re-launch of the Adobe Exchange for Creative Cloud, which came out in March.

We also overhauled our developer program in 2018. When we announced the change in August, we officially began the transition away from the legacy Technology Partner Program to the new Adobe Exchange Program for Creative Cloud. Our new program portal has all of the details.

Since the relaunch, the Exchange team has been bringing regular updates to the marketplace and services. We’ll have more to share with you early in the new year.

See you in 2019

We covered a lot of territory together in 2018! Now it’s time to take a little break.

We wish you happy holidays and look forward to working with you to push the boundaries and make new connections for creatives in 2019.