Adobe today put up a post on its Adobe Connect blog announcing release 9.1 of the web conferencing product (or webinar, webcast, web training, etc, etc, etc). The post is massive, highlighting all kinds of updates and upgrades. It also gives a link to the full Adobe Connect 9.1 Release Notes document containing full details of changes.
I may be a little strange in this regard, but I often prefer "dot releases" to major version number changes in software. Product marketers are always pushing for "New Features, New Features, New Features!" so they can put out big newsworthy press releases introducing major new functionality. But the x.1 and x.2 releases are where things really get worked out. The features that were rushed into production to meet an artificial marketing deadline can get massaged and made more practical. The engineers who were seconded to work on the new design work can take time to iron out bugs that crop up in specific use cases and computer configurations.
As an example, the release notes detail 124 "issues resolved" in 9.1. To a layperson, it seems inconceivable that there could have been that many things "wrong" with the product. But it's actually just a fact of life in the world of big, modern, complex enterprise software. So I am delighted to see a release focused on clean up.
At the same time, there are definitely new and worthwhile product enhancements in the new version of Connect. I spoke to Rocky Mitarai and Peter Ryce on the Adobe team, and they gave me an overview and demo of some of the improvements.
My favorite item on the list must be theirs too, as they list it first. Recordings of web events are now much more powerful. Adobe has included an online editor so you can cut out snippets from the recording file to improve the flow and applicability for on-demand viewing. You can decide which information viewers should see (chat, attendee list, Q&A, user names, etc). All edits can be backed out to return to the original source recording if needed. And Adobe now allows online conversion to MP4 format for streaming or download and distribution.
When using integrated phone/streaming audio in an event, attendees can now click a button and choose whether to listen on their computer, call in, or receive a call back from the phone service.
Hosts can now choose to display webcam videos in either 16:9 or 4:3 format. Attendees can choose to view two presenter webcams in live streaming mode while pausing any others. They can start and stop the different feeds as desired.
Customers using Connect for Training get some useful upgrades in the form of reusable templates to easily set up consistent-looking courses, better access to courses for separate audience demographic groups, better import/export of data with external CMS and LMS systems, and easier self-management of course registration for students.
If you are a current Adobe Connect customer, you'll want to carefully review the upgrades. Getting regular product enhancement releases is an important sign of continued product focus and health in the software business. So this speaks well for Adobe's ongoing commitment to Connect.