adobe’s prerelease program is a brilliant way to contribute to the development of future software releases. this is what adobe has to say about the program :
“The goal of a Prerelease Program at Adobe is to solicit early feedback on new features and bugs in order to produce a unique and a bug free product that can deliver maximum results.”
it’s not something you can just sign up for — you have to apply, giving your areas of expertise, years of experience, etc. and if adobe think you may have something to contribute you’re in. you can apply to be part of adobe’s prerelease program here
if you get accepted into the program you get a sneak-preview of some of the cool stuff currently in development — some of it is just tweaks to existing tools — some of it doesn’t make the cut because it just doesn’t work, or whatever — but some of it is truly awesome — like this new menu that’s in the very early stages of development :
(apologies, the conditions of the prerelease program forbid showing screen grabs of the actual functionality)
the top few menu items are pretty clunky at this early stage and will probably only be useful to talentless desktop publishers in the first few incarnations of this menu. but the basic concept is sound and there’s already quite a bit of evidence from the beta-testing that one day these will be really powerful features of InDesign.
the last two menu items are the ones with immediate application for designers. as you can probably guess, these allow for quickly testing different colour sets and font sets throughout a document. these rely on the user correctly assigning swatches and type styles onto which the test colours and fonts can be temporarily mapped. if you’re happy with the results, just confirm your choice and all your swatches and/or type styles are updated accordingly. a cool thing about this functionality is the capability to switch between up to three different colour sets and font sets — giving you all the experimental scope you need.
adobe keep things pretty tight, so it’s hard to know if this menu will make the cut for CS7. there is a positive vibe on the review forums, but there’s also a lot of concern about some of the more obvious bugginess — so it might be a bit longer before we see this menu released for real.
if you’re excited by this kind of future functionality, then you’re exactly the kind of person that adobe needs to help with testing and reviewing. so apply for the prerelease program and have your say.