I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to post this since I’m writing it on the plane on the way back from Flashforward 2004 in San Francisco, but I’ll try to get it live as soon after I land as possible. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, and in particular, hanging out with the Flash community. Here are some arbitrary thoughts and observations from last week:
- JSLF is much cooler than I thought. Thanks to Guy Watson, I got a good solid introduction.
- Eric Natzke’s work is unreal. I already knew that, but I was reminded once again. Very inspirational. No wonder they save his session for last.
- Macromedia has a new MXML authoring tool to look forward to codenamed “Brady”. Sounds like an essential companion to Flex.
- Just in case you haven’t heard yet, we have a Flash update to look forward to. Look for component enhancements and more documentation.
- Central is being actively developed, and developed for. Look for Flash Player 7 support as well as support for the AIM and ICQ networks (as soon as this spring). Very cool stuff!
- Kevin Lynch showed Flash running on Linux. Surprisingly responsive, too. I would really like to see this gain momentum. All I would need to switch permanently is iTunes.
- Phillip Kerman’s and Drew Falkman’s cattle auction application can apparently handle millions of dollars in transactions in just a couple of hours. I guess cows are expensive. Very cool use of Flash Communication Server. The application won best Flash application in the film festival, as well.
- Lucian Beebe is one dedicated product manager. I was very impressed by how well he integrated himself at the conference, and how much feedback he tirelessly solicited. I was also very impressed with the hot pepper he ate at Eric’s restaurant on Thursday night. Last time I saw him, he had not yet fully recovered.
- How many Flash developers does it take to get a Playstation 2 to work on a giant projector and two plasma screens simultaneously? I think it was about four. Chafic of rewindlife.com has pictures, but thankfully, they aren’t posted yet.
- Apparently, Macromedia employees actually can win prizes on the last day of Flashforward. We were starting to wonder when Vera Fleischer won a stack of O’Reilly books. I was glad to see the prize go to someone who lives in San Francisco rather than someone who would have to buy an extra seat on their plane to get them home.
- I think I’ve gotten better Chinese food in San Francisco than anywhere I’ve ever been, including Japan. We found the Girl Scout Cookies in San Francisco to be very good, too, but not much different than the ones I get at home.
- Danny Dura sure loves Mongolian Beef. I think that’s why he has decided to move to San Francisco. He does not, however, like playing me in Tiger Woods 2004.
- WARNING: walking up steep hills in San Francisco can cause painful muscle cramps which friends sometimes think are funny (sorry, Mike).
- It was great meeting and hanging out with people I previously knew only through email, lists, or just pure reputation. Hope to see you all (and many more!) in New York this summer!
So far, Flashforward 2004 has been a blast. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Danny Dura (newest member of the Central team), and we have really been delving into the potential of some of Macromedia newest inventions like Flex, Central, Breeze Live and others which I can mention after today’s keynote, but not before. I’m still completely amazed by the amount of innovation that goes on at Macromedia.
I attended a great session last evening called “Town Meeting with the Macromedia Flash Team”. Lucian Beebe, Gary Grossman, Nigel Pegg, Paul Betlem, Gilles Drieu, and Rebecca Sun simply sat up on stage as microphones were passed around the audience, and answered as many questions as they could in an hour. The team was very straightforward and the session went extremely well, with lots of great questions and feedback. The one thing the Flash team kept emphasizing was that they needed to hear from the community what you feel their top priorities should be for future versions of Flash or dot releases of the current version. For those of you who didn’t attend and could not contribute in person, any comments posted here will be sent right to the Flash team.
I just found out that Rob Burgess (Macromedia’s CEO) will be doing the Seybold 2003 keynote at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. If you are in the Bay Area and you are interested in hearing Rob talk about “Making the Digital Experience Better”, you can download a free pass from Macromedia’s website. If only I could download a free plane ticket, I would be there.
I just found out about the 2003 MAX awards. From the Macromedia website:
As the latest highlight of the new Macromedia MAX Conference, we’re pleased to introduce the MAX Awards, an annual customer recognition program. The 2003 MAX Awards will highlight innovative, results-driven experiences built with Macromedia technology. This year’s winners will be announced at the Macromedia MAX 2003 conference held November 18-21 in Salt Lake City, Utah, where conference attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and talk with the creators of these award-winning experiences throughout the conference.
I was in New York last week for Flashforward 2003, and I was really impressed with the number of ColdFusion developers who were there. I did a session on integrating Flash MX and ColdFusion MX using Flash Remoting, which I have done versions of at two other Flashforward conferences, and this was by far the biggest audience with the best questions that I have had yet. I was also glad to see that the audience was not just made up of ColdFusion developers who are learning Flash, but there were also a lot of Flash developers learning ColdFusion. Flash Remoting has really opened up a lot of doors for all kinds of developers.
During the keynote at Flashforward in New York this morning, Mike Chambers announced that DRK 4 will be available to everyone (not just DevNet subscribers) for $99 when it launches this month. That means that DRK 3 and DRK 4 will be available to everyone at the same time, and will not require a subscription. Of course, you still save money by subscribing to DevNet, but at least now you have more flexibility.
Mike also demoed Macromedia Pollster, which will be available on DRK 4. The Pollster app lets you easily build polls, deploy them on your website, and both aggregate and chart responses. It is built with ColdFusion, Flash, and will come with a Dreamweaver extension to make embedding and configuring your polls easier.
Norm Meyrowitz mentioned the Royale initiative and showed and a set of very cool Flash forms that were generated just with XML. It even did navigation and data validation. You can find out more about Royale at http://www.macromedia.com/go/preview.
And of course there was Breeze Live, which I guess is best explained as a real-time meeting, presentation, and collaborative solution. Among other things, Breeze Live lets you share your desktop during a presentation, stream audio and video, and allow participants to interact in meetings. Extremely cool and powerful. You can find out more by reading the Macromedia press release.
Now I have to go work on my presentation (Integrating Macromedia Flash MX and ColdFusion) which I’m doing today at 4.
In about 5 minutes, Mike Chambers and I will be heading up to New York for Flashforward 2003. I will be doing a session on integrating Flash with ColdFusion MX (through Flash Remoting). I think Mike is going to be doing Advanced Flash Remoting. Anyway, I’ll post what I can, when I can, and I’ll put my presentation online sometime next week after I get home. If you are going to the conference and you see me around, grab me and introduce yourself. I always enjoy putting faces to names.
Michael Smith and rest of the TeraTech gang did an outstanding job with CFUN 2003 this year. I believe attendance was about 350 with a total of 40 sessions and several other events, including a great party Saturday night. I attended sessions by Matt Liotta, Hal Helms, Samuel Neff, Simon Horwith and Raymond Camden. I only wish I could have seen some of the other sessions that were going on in parallel to the sessions I attended.
Anyway, I don’t know what Michael’s plans are for next year, but if you can make it to CFUN 2004, I highly recommend it.
In a few hours, I’ll be heading up to Maryland for CFUN 2003. Judging by the list of speakers, it should be a great event. If you live in the area and have nothing else going on this weekend, stop by. Bring the kids and start them learning from some of the best in the industry.
I don’t know what kind of access I’ll have at the conference, so I may be radio-silent for a couple days, but I will post a summary of the event as soon as I’m sufficiently connected again.
Macromedia’s own Jeff Whatcott was interview by SYS-CON radio at JavaOne last week. He discusses Royale, JRun and, of course, ColdFusion MX. You can check out the introduction (search for Whatcott — he’s about halfway down the page), or go directly to the MP3 file.