Several years ago, Swedish company Yooba Ltd. needed an easier way to manage the Flash content it used to build interactive online crossword puzzles. It didn’t take them long to realize that the in-house Flash management solution they designed to fit into the company’s existing content management systems wasn’t just something Yooba needed—it was something that web companies struggling to manage online content in separate HTML and Flash systems needed to hear about, too.
Four years after beginning development on Yooba Studio, the company is finally ready to let the public get their hands on the Flash management software-as-a-service. Yooba Studio became available for public download on June 8, after spending a year in limited invitation-only use following its formal introduction at the 2008 Internet World conference in London. The results, Yooba hopes, will give web content managers an innovative new way to handle the entire Flash content lifecycle without needing to be Flash pros.
“It’s crazy that we have one set of rules for HTML content, but when it comes to Flash content, a whole different set of rules apply,” said Sven Miller, sales manager for Yooba. Yooba intends to streamline the currently cumbersome issue of how and who will manage the increasing amount of Flash content companies integrate into their site, by making Flash management tools intuitive enough for use by employees without extensive Flash knowledge.
Yooba Studio’s graphic admin dashboard brings together all Flash content for a particular site for at-a-glance assessment, and its management tools provide shortcuts to managing the creation, importing, scheduling, editing, publication, and management of Flash materials. While Yooba provides the same functionality normally used in Flash management systems, it does so within a standard web browser, negating the need for software installation. Users can edit content by using Yooba tools instead of programming it manually.
David Nordin, managing director at Yooba, said the quick download, installation and browser-based access for the SaaS service is designed to give companies feeling the pinch in today’s economic climate a cost-efficient management option. Because it’s web-based, new versions and updates of Yooba Studio can be downloaded as soon as they are released. The tool itself is designed to fit neatly on top of users’ existing CMS solutions, or function as a standalone.
“With Yooba Studio, our users can still focus on what they do best, be they designers, agencies, or editors,” Nordin said. “We’re bringing technology and creativity together, but with the emphasis on business values. We want to make it possible to have an increased presence and interactivity on the internet, and with Yooba, you really do get more bang for your buck.”
Part of the Yooba Studio service package includes web hosting for companies’ campaigns. Its content libraries are designed to store, in addition to Flash material, other graphic and video content. Campaigns can be uploaded under a unique domain name, which is available for purchase from within the service and is directly publishable onto the web without needing to go through an intermediary program.
Yooba Studio was built off of Adobe Flex, a platform for rich Internet applications based on Flash created by Adobe. The SaaS service will be continuously updated as Yooba figures out how to add more functionality in response to user requests and expand the number of CMS systems with which it is compatible, Miller said.
Miller said the product is designed for any company that needs to manage online Flash content without the need to have Flash pros on hand for every step. He envisions target users as being both small operations in need of easy Flash management and large enterprise organizations that need a tool that can be both cost-efficient and user-friendly. If users have mastered similar editing software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Miller said, they should be able to pick up Yooba Studio with ease.
As far as he could see, Miller said he knew of no similar Flash-management solution available today—especially one that requires no previous Flash experience or knowledge. The typical process, he said, was hiring Flash developers, who create the Flash content, and then uploading the Flip. But Yooba Studio, he said, finally applies the same philosophy to Flash that web content management systems provide to HTML content.