Creative Developers Summit 2019 Report

Erin Finnegan
Jun 27 · 6 min read
Ash Arnwine kicks off the Summit.

This year marked the seventh annual Creative Developers Summit, a one-day event for people who script, automate, and develop for Creative Cloud products. CDS typically happens on the last day of Creative Pro Week, in whichever city Creative Pro Week travels to each year.

If you missed it this year, Creative Developers Summit will be in Austin, Texas, on June 5th, 2020 next year.

The summit was founded by a community of Creative Cloud developers, who ran the event independently for years. Then, in 2016 Adobe sent one employee, followed by two in 2017, seven people in 2018, and more than 15 people this year.

New in 2019: Thursday Meetings

New this year, Adobe offered CDS attendees the opportunity to meet and talk one on one with different Creative Cloud API and platform teams on Thursday before the summit. Developers were invited to user test an Adobe I/O Console redesign with Shannon Rhodes from Adobe Design, preview the Photoshop as a Service APIs with engineers John Tran and Noah Hoffman, and/or talk about the transition from CEP to UXP with product manager Prerna Vij.

In case you missed your chance to talk about the move from CEP to UXP, it’s not too late to sign up! Let Prerna know, and we’ll be in touch.

If you’re interested in the Photoshop as a Service APIs, check out the documentation and sign up for the prerelease.

Also new on Thursday, Kris Coppieters (@zwettemaan) held a four hour workshop on getting started with CEP and ExtendScript.

Creative WOW

After an Adobe-sponsored happy hour at the hotel bar, attendees gathered Thursday night to see a fun collection of useful scripts… as well as scripts in search of a use case. For example, MC Chuck Weger wrote a script that turns InDesign into a player piano, complete with the ability to play chords and change instruments.

Chuck was followed by more practical use cases; Peter Kahrel showed off his very handy extended GREP editor for InDesign. Peter has many more useful GREP scripts available on his website.

Colin Flashman (@colecandoo) presented his workflow, which involves importing data from Microsoft Excel into InDesign to help schools lay out yearbooks, including the ability to change templates and the number of overall pages on the fly.

Next Kris Coppieters demoed a useful InDesign script for copying and pasting coordinates followed by a “shadow dance” script with “no practical application”.

Vasily Hall opened his presentation with “My name is Vasily, and I have an addiction to Creative Cloud extensibility.” Vasily works in the print-on-demand garment industry, and walked the crowd through several scripts that automate color variations in Illustrator.

David Ohman, an InDesign user who works with a newspaper syndication company, ran his script that automates the creation of crossword puzzles.

Harbs from made a mini script editor within a script for Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Although it was a bit unorthodox for Creative WOW, there were a couple of sneak peeks from Adobe. Noah Hoffman from Adobe previewed batch compositing images to PSD with the Photoshop as a Service APIs (now in beta), complete with machine learning from @AdobeSensei. Aftwards, another Adobe employee, Bernard Kerr, gave a sneak peek of Project Lincoln, an app which makes it easy to create infographic charts.

Finally, Justin Putney (@justinputney) showed off how simple it can be to customize Creative Cloud apps; he used a single line of code (written by Peter Kahrel) to add a feature to InDesign.

Adobe Talks at Creative Developers Summit

Some of our presentations from CDS are currently available as PDFs in the Creative Cloud Developer Prerelease Group, in the downloads section. We will continue to add decks as they become available.

On Friday morning, Chuck Weger kicked off the event, followed by Ash Ryan Arnwine (@ashryan_io), who gave an overview of our team’s recent work to improve the Creative Cloud developer experience with better documentation, open source resources, live events, and beta programs.

Erin Finnegan talks about developer communication.

Yours truly presented a few slides on my team’s commitment to communicating and engaging with developers. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow this blog and subscribe to our Creative Cloud developer newsletter. You may also want to follow the @adobedevs twitter account, (if you like Twitter).

Kerri Shotts going over the relative merits of UXP (speed).

Next Kerri Shotts (@kerrishotts) took the stage to share our progress and plans for the Unified Extensibility Platform, also called UXP, which is the technology that powers Adobe XD’s plugin APIs.

Prerna Vij revealing this year’s plans for CEP and ExtendScript.

After that, Prerna Vij (@Prernavij) shared updates and plans for CEP and ExtendScript in 2019 and beyond. CEP 9 will see an update later this year with bug fixes. Be sure to follow this blog or sign up for our newsletter to get notified when the next CEP prerelease is available.

Barkin Aygun talks about bringing UXP to Photoshop.

Barkin Aygun from the Photoshop team shared his thoughts on the next generation of Photoshop extensibility APIs powered by UXP. If you’d like to reach out to Barkin about UXP, write him an email. If you missed Barkin’s presentation, the key takeaway was that the Photoshop team is building on UXP for first-party features first, before we hand off APIs to the public.

Next up Dirk Schulze (@dirkschulze) from the Illustrator team went over API updates and the roadmap for Illustrator.

Amish Kumar Bedi goes over InDesign’s roadmap.

After that, Amish Kumar Bedi from the InDesign team shared InDesign updates that are coming to the app later this year.

Mike Zahorik (@mikezahorik) shared an early overview of automation APIs and services for Creative Cloud.

John Colombo talks about “New World” scripting.

John Colombo (@1ResCreation) from the After Effects team talked about updates to scripting for our video and audio apps, also known as “New World” scripting.

Minson Chen (@mchen88) spoke about marketing extensibility products on the Adobe Exchange for Creative Cloud (@AdobeExchange).

Noah Hoffman gave a demo of imaging service APIs.

Finally, Kerri Shotts and Ash Ryan Arnwine tag-teamed on a quick walk through of creating your first UXP plugin for Adobe XD using JavaScript. If you missed it, it’s all covered in our Quick Start tutorial.


This was my first Creative Developers Summit, and it was delightful to meet many of the developers I’ve been chatting with online over the course of the previous year. I learned a lot, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • InDesign is Adobe’s most extensible product.
  • What developers really want is a complete DOM for every Creative Cloud product.
  • C++ developers would like more notice before major Illustrator updates.
  • Peter Kahrel is famous with my friends in publishing.
  • In the words of Colin Flashman, “Print isn’t dead! How do you think you got your cornflakes this morning?”
  • There is such a thing as a professional nose flute.
  • And last, but not least, InDesign can be made into a surprisingly versatile player piano.

Circumstances permitting, I can’t wait to see everyone next year in Austin.

Adobe Tech Blog

Erin Finnegan

Written by

Community Engineer at Adobe. Views are my own.

Adobe Tech Blog

News, updates, and thoughts related to Adobe, developers, and technology.

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