package Adobe Serialization Files
together with the Serialization Tool

AshBuilder is provided as-is, a free tool to be used where appropriate. We cannot offer tech support, or any kind of warranty, but we will endeavor to fix bugs that are reported to us.

Before reporting a bug, first check that the files created by AAMEE – AdobeSerialize and Serialization File(s) – work as expected. Then please report any bugs that show up when AshBuilder is used to package these files together. Send e-mail with AshBuilder in the subject line to:

AshBuilder Overview

At sites that want to keep the installation or deployment process for CS6 separate from the activation, AshBuilder from Sassafras Software can be used to create and save a small Helper tool that runs as command-line to immediately transform a CS6 Trial installation into a Fully serialized installation. The Helper tool hides the crucial serialization data (prov.xml) for one or more products. It can be run from a usb stick or from a file server where access can be easily controlled.

When cloning a CS6 installation from one computer (or master image) to another, the activation state will often revert from Full to Trial. An appropriately built Helper tool can be used to quickly re-activate the clone. Note, however, that a CS6 installer created with AAMEE version 3.1 will produce an installation whose activation state (Full or Trial) will be preserved in clones - i.e., clones of a Fully activated CS6 installation will not require re-activation. For sites using cloning as deployment method, this is a welcome change from AAMEE 3.0 installers - one of Ashbuilder's options, "serialize at next login", may no longer be so valuable.

At sites managing Adobe licensing with K2 KeyServer, AshBuilder has extended options to build the Helper with an explicit dependence on KeyServer in order to support self serve deployment while securely managing serialization data, controlling access, and logging usage. This additional functionality is documented separately as part of the K2 help system, accessible from the K2 admin interface.

AshBuilder is made freely available from Sassafras Software for anyone to use without charge and without warranty.



zip archive containing the AshBuilder utility for both Windows (.exe) and Macintosh (.app) 

Before using AshBuilder, one or more Serialization Files must be created using the "Create Serialization File" option in the "Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition" interface. The AAMEE tool and documentation is available from the Adobe web site here:

Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition (AAMEE)

Adobe CS6 serialization & image deployment

AAMEE version 3.1 can create an installer for CS6 that will create a Fully activated installation. For a large scale deployment, this installer can be run on multiple computers using various deployment tools or a master image can be prepared with this installer and cloned to multiple computers. Either method will result in a fully activated CS6 installation.

If you want to separate the activation step from installation, either AAMEE or other tools can be used to create a customized installer or master image. Use AAMEE to create a Serialization file which then will be bundled together with the AdobeSerialization provisioning tool using AshBuilder.

For installing a serialization action to be run at next login, AshBuilder has two options:

1) the computer running AshBuilder is itself is configured to do serialization at next logon
2) a packaged installer is created that can be used later to install the next-login action on some other computer or computer image.

Depending on the work flow used to prepare a master image for cloning, one or the other of these options can prove very useful.

It is important before using AshBuilder, that you use the "AdobeSerialization" provisioning tool to test any "Serialization Files" produced by AAMEE – verify that everything behaves as expected. Various online discussion forums may be useful in understanding AAMEE features and of course, tech support for AAMEE is available from Adobe. The Sassafras AshBuilder packages the Serialization File(s) with the AdobeSerialization tool created by AAMEE to build "ashtool", a command line tool which AshBuilder can optionally install as a login action. This tool is simply a wrapper around the Adobe technology – any problems with the serialization process itself are beyond the control of ashtool and must be tested independently.

Adobe CS6 serialization & self-serve installation

In addition to creating Serialization Files, AAMEE can create packaged installers for CS6 products that include the Serialization information. This type of customized packaged installer will create a fully serialized CS6 installation that will run without any requirement for validation through the network. While very convenient for self-service use, it may be difficult to avoid the risk of such a powerful installer escaping from controlled use which may then lead to piracy, perhaps unintentional. In some cases, risk may be reduced by making an installer configured to create a CS6 trial freely available and then a more controlled procedure is used (perhaps running from a usb stick) to install Adobe Serialization Files.

AshBuilder offers a third option for use in these situations:

3) a customized ashtool can be saved with the specified Serialization Files embedded.

When the customized ashtool is used on any computer (perhaps run from a usb stick, as part of a GPO, or a script), the specified CS6 products will be immediately serialized. Note: more than one Serialization File can be embedded in ashtool so it can serialize multiple products in a single step, essentially scripting multiple runs of AdobeSerialization. This may provide a simplified workflow for some situations while also hiding the crucial serialization information as embedded data.

Additional functionality is available at sites managing Adobe licensing with K2 KeyServer. The ashtool can be built with an explicit dependence on KeyServer in order to support self serve deployment. In this case the KeyServer holds the serialization data centrally for even greater security, rather than embedding the Serialization Files in ashtool itself. All of the usual K2 features can then be used to manage ashtool. An administrator will have complete control of where the tool is used while also tracking installs and usage events for summarization in various deployment and usage reports. Configuration of the special KeyServer options supported by ashtool is done with KeyConfigure (the K2 admin console). Details are documented in Tech Note 7772, available from KeyConfigure's built in help system.

“It was just stunning to get such stellar service. It is so refreshing to find a company small enough to give a darn, and big enough to be be able to afford programmers who know their ear from their elbow.” — Robert Armitage, Carnegie Mellon University