What’s Wrong with Adobe Version Cue – Part 2

2. Stop “Phoning Home” with checked out files.

Adobe has since changed the text of this page, http://bit.ly/18HFnS, but it used to say something about how checked out files are synchronized to the server when changes are made. Maybe they changed how it reads because of me (oh I hope so!!).

With every version control system that I have ever used, including subversion, team foundation server, and even Version Cue CS3 server, when a file is checked out it is copied from the server to the local computer. Once the file is checked out it is only worked on locally.

What Adobe has done with CS4 is to check the file out to the local computer (in a non-readable format) but then periodically “phone home” to the server by sending changes that have occurred to the checked out file. It appeared from their features page before they changed it that Adobe was doing this intentionally so that files were not lost in the event of a computer crashing after the file had been checked out and worked on.

Unfortunately, what I believe is happening is that this constant communication between the client and the server is what is causing Photoshop to stutter. Once you hit a threshold of changes Photoshop (or Adobe drive) is sending those changes back to the server and therefore Photoshop hangs as it waits for that communication to complete. This is particularly frustrating because Adobe admits in knowledge base articles (http://bit.ly/oN1AP) that using Photoshop across a networked connection is not supported (scroll to the end of the post for an excerpt of that knowledge base article).

Version Cue Server CS3 was perfectly capable of being used even through VPN precisely because Adobe Bridge CS3 do not require constant communication to the server. But with this constant communication occurring in CS4 it is no longer viable.  When performance issues are occurring even on the LAN there is really no possibility of using Version Cue CS4 across a WAN link.

I know for certain that this communication is occurring because I have captured network communication between client and server while working on a checked out file. I have even recovered a file from the server that Adobe Drive/Adobe Bridge “accidentally” deleted from the client machine before it was checked back in.  Data loss and file corruption is something that I will discuss in a future post.

I strongly encourage anyone who is interested in getting Adobe to fix the problems with version cue CS4 to submit either a feedback requests or a bug report form. They are both accessed from the same link. Select version cue from the product list, and if you aren’t sure what to write, copy and paste what I’ve written above. Feel free to submit feedback for every issue as they have told me on more than one occasion that this is the best way to get them to change or fix version cue.

Please continue reading on to the next article: What’s Wrong with Adobe Version Cue – Part 3

Excerpt from the Adobe Web Site:

Photoshop is a resource-intensive application, requiring more RAM and hard disk space than most other applications. While Photoshop will work with networks and removable media, doing so compromises the application’s performance and reliability. For example, because Photoshop reads and writes image data while you work on an image, the faster the access speed of the disk containing your image or the Photoshop scratch disk files, the faster Photoshop can process image data. Internal hard disks have fast access speeds than network servers (a hard disk accessed over a network) or removable media.

Data transmission along a network is affected by file servers, routers, bridges, network cards, software, cables, connectors, power cables, and power supplies. Network connections can suddenly become unavailable, increasing the risk of data loss and application errors. During transmission and reception, network software verifies that data has been sent and received. The depth of verification depends on the network software package, and may not be accessed by the operating system. When you try to save files across a network, you may receive the error, “Could not complete the request because the file is locked,” or “Could not save because of a disk error.” However, the network and operating system may not notify you if a Photoshop image or scratch disk file contains damaged or incomplete information.”

Additional variables when using networks

There are many different types of network configurations (for example, multi-launch, client-server, or peer-peer) or types (for example, ethernet, token ring, or IP) made by many different companies. Each configuration requires specialized software and hardware, with varying set-ups, preferences, and updates. This additional layer of software and hardware increases the chances of an error occurring (for example, from line noise, RF interference, or packet collisions).

One Response to What’s Wrong with Adobe Version Cue – Part 2

  1. LIsa says:

    Working directly off the server in Version Cue CS4 is quite possibly the most annoying thing ever. Once simple tasks that happen in an instant, like selecting a different layer can take seconds. Since when do you get the spinning color wheel while your computer processes selecting a layer? Our company purchased this software and I can’t even use it anymore because it wastes so much time. I now work off my desktop and bring my files into version cue to back them up…. which completely defeats the purpose of the program.

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