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Muse Version 2.0 - New features available!

*Note - Adobe Muse v2.0 is now available, and will install automatically when you launch the software*

As the second release of Adobe Muse approaches, I’m excited to demonstrate a few of the new features and functionality improvements that will both simplify and streamline your site design process. 

(This beta is currently available to all Muse subscribers - I’ll include notes at the end of this post describing how to download it!)

Here are a few of my favorite new features:
 

1. Built in FTP Uploading

Gone are the days of exporting HTML to your hard drive, and uploading via a third party FTP application. Under FILE > UPLOAD TO FTP HOST you’re given the following dialog box. Fill in your account details as provided by your host (GoDaddy, Netfirms, etc.) and you can now upload direct to your host.

 

The added ability to enter the “domain name” upon export means that Muse can now generate a complete sitemap for your website. Sitemaps are used for SEO purposes, and registering your sitemap.xml file in your Google Webmaster Tools account (you should be using webmaster tools!) will help ensure Google actually indexes all of the pages on your website.

www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

(Also, in reading the release notes I noticed something that said “addition of domain name allows use of Typekit Web Fonts".  I suspect that this will eventually enable the ability to use paid Typekit fonts on your website, rather than just the free Google webfont library currently available. As a paid typekit user, this would make me VERY happy.  Just a hunch.)

2. Browser Fill Options - Scalable Background Images

Full page image backgrounds are really popular on the web, and Muse now directly supports using scalable images in the background of your site. A few users accomplished this in the past by embedding a little bit of CSS (or JQuery) however the ability to set it directly in Muse greatly simplifies this process.

(Note - background gradients are also now possible, but with a limited degree of control due to browser compatibility.)

 

3. Various Productivity Enhancements

I’m a big fan of perfectly aligned elements, and the addition of two seemingly small features makes Muse feel even more like InDesign - Ruler Guides, and the Align panel. Just as you would in most other Creative Suite products, you can now drag a guide out of the ruler on the side or above your canvas (website).

(Distribute objects evenly - rejoice!)

The cursor has also been modified to give the user a small description of the element type that they are hovering over or clicking on. It's essentially a label explaining what exactly you’re working with:

The addition of a states menu on the left side of the tool bar / control strip is extremely helpful if you often forget which state you’re working in when styling a widget (it also displays element types - this is a current feature).

4. Linking to External Files

In prior versions of Muse, you needed to upload external assets (PDF’s, ZIP’s, etc.) through a third party FTP program, and manually enter the link within the hyperlink box in Muse.

With this latest version, you can now link to an external asset directly in Muse by bringing down the Hyperlink box and selecting “LINK TO FILE”. This will bring up a Finder / Explorer window, and let you navigate to the file. When you publish the site, Muse will upload this asset along with the rest of your site, preserving the link and eliminating the need to work with your server outside of Muse.



You can also add other files to be uploaded to your server through FILE > ADD FILES TO UPLOAD in cases where you may not be linking to them right away (or if you want something to just exist on your server). I suspect this could be powerful in terms of easily integrating other third party widgets that use custom javascript, etc. More experimentation required!

5. Contact Forms

Muse now supports contact forms using the “Forms” widget available from the widgets menu. Field control is quite extensive, and you can set essential options such as error states, redirection after sending, and custom submit buttons.

Due to the server side support that’s required for contact form submission, forms created directly in Muse will only work if published to Adobe’s Business Catalyst platform. With some code manipulation it’s likely you can modify the form to work with your host, however I haven’t seen an answer to that question yet. Your best bet in this case is to use a third party form provider (I’m a big fan of Wufoo!).

***

How do I download the Muse 2.0 Beta version?

You can do so directly within Muse by making a change in the Help menu. Go to HELP > HELP IMPROVE MUSE. When the dialogue box pops up, you need to select “Join the Adobe Muse Beta Program”. The new Beta version of Muse will install automatically on your system.



To revert back to the current non-beta version of Muse, return to this menu and unselect the box above.

Enjoy - Cheers!

Additional Resources & Links:

Adobe TV videos for the Muse subscriber beta
http://tv.adobe.com/show/muse-feature-tour/

Muse 2.0 Beta Release Notes
http://helpx.adobe.com/content/help/en/muse/release-note/adobe-muse-release-notes.html

Muse 2.0 Beta Forum
http://forums.adobe.com/community/muse/public_beta

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Steve Harris

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