Now a Co-Manager for SilvaFUG North

As I’ve stated in the past, I’ve ranted far too much on my blog about Adobe and felt it was time to step up and be part of the solution. I’ve volunteered to be co-manager for SilvaFUG North, a Flex/Flash user group based here in San Francisco.

For those who are stumbling upon my blog for the first time, my background is Flash/Flex development and design, but my views are predominantly design-centric. I hope to bring to the table a much-needed voice for clarity and simplicity in the Flash Platform.

Adobe Max – Day 2 round-up

Day 2 was much shorter for me. Last night I had a bout of insomnia and didn’t fall asleep until after 4am. There was no way to make it to the general session, let alone my morning session. But I had plenty of time to make it to my only workshop: Air Boot Camp.

Air Boot Camp

The room was *huge* with seating for 500 or more. The session started a little slow, but picked up quickly once everyone was familiar with the basic “new file…” process. We flew through several projects, most of which took only a few lines of code:

  • Hello World pt 1 – basic AIR publishing
  • Hello World pt 2 – exporting, signing, and distributing AIR apps (via Export… Release Build)
  • Chromeless apps – editing the Adobe AIR application descriptor file template (i.e. foo-app.xml) to change settings
  • Simple webcam display – quick & easy using flash.media.Camera;
  • Fullscreen AIR apps – StageDisplayState.FULL_SCREEN_INTERACTIVE and showStatusBar=”false“;
  • AIR as web browser – aka mx:HTML (tooooooo easy)
  • Rich text editor – including saving and loading files to local disk using File and FileStream
  • “ScotchesIDrankLastNight” – aka drag and drop lists using ArrayCollection
  • “Wines” – binding an external XML to a datagrid component
  • “myContactDB” – create a basic SQL-based local database of contact names

All in all, one of the best sessions I’ve attended so far, but everything else was presentation-based. After the workshop, I waited around for 30 min until I could attend the Max Awards and Sneak Peeks, the latter being everyone’s fav show-off session.

Sneak Peek

The sneek peek was divided into 3 groups: clients, tools, and services. Each group had 3-4 presenters. It went pretty fast, so I can only give a quick overview of what the advanced labs are working on…

Clients

  • (group favorite) Torrent-like Flash P2P distributed live video streaming
  • Nitro – shared widgets (portablewidgets-at-adobe.com)
  • Durango – shared components between AIR apps
Tools
  • Advanced image search and blending tools for Photoshop
  • (overall / group favorite) Comprehensive meta-data and pattern recognition (faces, colors, spoken works) for media
  • XML standards mark-up for AJAX widgets, w/ integration into Dreamweaver
  • Image stitching tools for continuous panoramas, tunnels, fly-throughs, based on image search
Services
  • Integrated communication within Adobe apps and created apps – example was a video edited in Premiere, distributed via AIR to clients, clients add annotations and notes in AIR apps which will automatically appear back in Premiere
  • (group favorite) Meer Meer (as in “mirror mirror”): server-based “browser-compatibility review” using screen-captures of your site in different browsers
  • Server-based Actionscript

Afterwards I skipped out on the Adobe Customer Appreciation event. I’m on Day 8 of my Carb Nite initiation and I haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast (11am). I gotta get some sleep – I have a 9:30 Security in AIR session and the Bay Bridge is brutal in the morning…

Adobe Max – Day 1 round-up

I’m really stoked that I got to go to Max this year. All the stars were in alignment and I was definitely due. For the last few years, I’ve only heard about all the wonderous stuff coming out of Adobe and announced at Max through meetings at LAFlash. I finally realized that it was time for me to step up and hear things direct. And wow…

I bought a bunch of Adobe shwag at the conference store. They had Flex and Flash baseball caps (I got Flex), as well as AIR hoodies (got one for me and another for Mike). I also picked up a Flash chimp figurine. They were supposed to have Flex robots, but there was a screw up in manufacturing/shipping so I don’t know if those are going to actually get released.

Here’s the sessions I attended:

Television on AIR: Creating Custom Media Player Experiences

For background, I had attended the NewTeeVee conference last week (which I should also blog about) which was predominantly about the convergence of broadcast (i.e. television) and web-based media. It was a super-deep conference with a lot of big players (Hulu, Netflix, Canoe Ventures, YouTube, etc.).

In contrast, this session should have been called “Intro to video codecs and DRM in Flash”. This was a huge disappointment, not exactly what I was expecting at the great Max. I was worried. Until…

Prototyping Adobe AIR Applications with Fireworks CS4

Much better session. Fireworks is an extremely specialized app for web graphics, which also includes a modest amount of storyboarding features based on HTML/CSS. With such, it’s possible to create rough interactive walkthroughs of websites, AIR apps, etc. Select “Create AIR Package” to make standalone samples.

Introduction to Thermo and the Next Generation of Flex

This was the granddaddy session of the day. Demand was high. The workshop classes were sold-out before I even registered. But at least I could get first-hand knowledge of Flash Catalyst (Thermo) and Flex Builder 4 (Gumbo). They gave away pre-alpha disks in this session which expire in March.

Lots can be said about the improvements in FB4 and Thermo. Said by everyone else but me. The big news – Beta 1 will be released “spring ’09” and Beta 2 in the fall.

Filthy Rich Flex: Graphics and Animation

OK, I thought this was going to be about advanced techniques and how-tos for Flex designers. Nope. Was the lead designer for the Flex SDK Team. So a little disappointed that I wouldn’t learn new shortcuts, but much bigger score for learning all the new design stuff being put into Gumbo. The big one is the Animation class, a robust replacement for the Tween class. I left this session feeling like Chet Haase was my Flex hero.