Archive for October, 2002

DevCon : Day 1 Keynote

Robb Burgess, Macromedia CEO.
What is Macromedia really about? It is about enabling a better user experience. We have always focused on this. Initially with CD-Roms (Director), the first generation of the internet, and not the second generation which includes PCs and devices.
The internet has developed into a critical tool for business, so the user experience plays an even greater role in development.
During the book of the past couple of years, developers created a ton of content, some of it really impressive. But there was also a lot of other work, which in the haste to create it, really left the user behind. They didn’t help the user accomplish their goals. This negative user experience led to a backlash.
However, no we are starting to see a focus on the user experience.
examples:
IBM / Ogilvy web add (i’ll find the link). Integrates video with flash. Similar to television except there is more context and information. The user can interact with the video at any time to immediately get the info that they want. This is the type of experience that will get funded.
mentioned the book, The Experience Economy. There have three primary stages in the economy. Initially there was the commodity economy (trading commodities, agriculture). Second was the goods economy, where manufactured mass produced goods drove the economy. The in the past 10 or 20 years, the economy has shift the a service economy (80% of US workforce).
The book makes the case that we are undergoing a 4th major shift, into the experience economy. At each stage, value is higher.
coffee example


  1. commodity, worth a couple of cents a cup
  2. good : buy in store, consumer pays 5 – 20 cents per cup.
  3. service : buy it in a diner, pay $1.
  4. experience economy : starbucks. consumers willing to stand in line to pay $2 – $5 for a cup of coffee. Starbucks creates and sells their experience.

Disney, and nike are other examples of experience economy. They don’t sell goods, they sell an experience.
why is this important? As you move up the scale, the value goes up. The internet creates a commodization of information and communication. There is a huge opportunity for differentiated services and unbelievable user experience. Move it to the experience economy.
It is easy to make a bad experience happen. There are too many examples to list. Shows Florida ballot from last presidential election (applause).
“Companies that redesign sites to support user goals can realize on-line revenues by 30% or more.” Forrester Research
Macromedia Studio MX has been very successful. Went from 0 to 1/3 or revenue within 4 months.
Examples:
City of Davis California Fire Department : E-learning application done with Flash MX, Flash Remoting and ColdFusion MX.
Postio : (very cool). Rich Internet Application. Email system done entirely in Flash. Function very much like a desktop app.
Ego7 : Uses Flash Communication Server streaming media.
Hints at some new products (sneak peaks later?). Mentions new version of Director (applause). We just shipped Flash Remoting and Flash Communication Server (enables new types of communication and services). We have a completely new product that will allow new ways to contribute and create websites.
Flash ad impressions have gone from 510 million to 6.5 billion in the past year. (applause).
We are putting together a lot of resources to support user and developers, including Developer Resource Kit, Designer and Developer Center.
ColdFusion has been growing. 29% of new licenses are from completely new users.
We invest over 30% in Research and Development. Only 1 other company in the top 100 spend more on Research and Development.
Shows datecam.com, which demonstrates new types of communication possible with Flash and Flash Communication server. Shows jeremy allaire in chat (applause and laughter).
We need to put the user back at the top of our agenda.
the experience matters
Kevin Lynch, Chief Software Architect, Macromedia
He is going to discuss some a tools behind these new technologies.
Dave Deming, Dreamweaver product manager. Shows Dreamweaver MX.
[Note : Have to change batteries, BRB].
Shows Dreamweaver templates, snippets (feature “borrowed” from homesite and studio), creating tables, nested Dreamweaver templates, integration with Flash content.
Kevin and David talk. Customers are saying they like the productivity changes, but that are constantly being hassles for small changes on website.We are working on a new product to address this. It is called Macromedia de-hasslelater MX (brings out air gun and shoots t-shirts into crowd). (laughter and applause). </hassle> (we will be giving sneak peaks in some NDA sessions during DevCon (sorry, i can’t say more about this right now)).
Invites Miriam Geller, Director Product Manager. She shows a CD-Rom created with Director (trio motor company example). Shows Flash integration, ability to integrate closely with operating system (read and write to the system, launch apps, read registry, check for install apps, etc…). Shows video, which can run full screen (this is QuickTime video running within Director). Talks about loading dynamic data, and the ability to use Flash assets and files within Director.
Opens new version of Director (running on OSX). User interface is similar to other Macromedia products. Shows edit and launch from Director to Flash (double click asset in Director, flash is opened. Edit the file, save and go back to director and changes have been included) (applause).
Discusses Accessibility. Built into Director, works without screenreader, so can work in executables and CD-Roms. (shows screen reading feature). Shows how this is authored.
Kevin Lynch comes back up, and talks about flash on devices. Sales of devices have been growing, and are out-pacing personal computer sales.
Flash Player 5 is available for Pocket PC 2002. Gives sneak peak of Flash Player 6 running on Pocket PC. Shows DevCon event guide (on our website). Player can run within browser, and also as a standalone player (can also run full screen). Has support for Flash Remoting and Flash Communication Server. Shows Babble fish example that users Flash Remoting to connect to babble fish webservice.


Flash runs on tons of devices. Flash is also starting to appear on embedded devices.  Shows home system control panel, with interface created entirely within Flash. Demos playing back MP3s from music server. (applause).
Kevin introduces Ben Forta, Senior ColdFusion Product Evangelist. Shows an example of first version of ColdFusion.
Brings up HTML page with a table of information. Useful, but difficult to use since you can’t sort, or rearrange data. Shows code, which is a ColdFusion template. This is really not a good way to design, because you end up reusing the same code over and over. If you need to update something, you have to go through multiple template to update it.
Is there a better way? we need code that is abstracted away from other code, is modular and reusable, and can describe itself.
ColdFusion components (cfc), built into ColdFusion MX addresses these issues. Opens Dreamweaver MX and shows component wizard. Dreamweaver auto generates code, and inserts it into component panel. Drags and drops component from component panel, and Dreamweaver adds the code to invoke the components.
Components are important because it allows you to completely separate your presentation from logic.
HTML based table has some usability issues as you cant sort date or edit in place (without refreshing page). Flash can connect directly to components via Flash Remoting, so you can now use a Flash component (such as a datagrid) to display the data in a much more usable format.
Opens Flash MX. Shows some of the components from the Developer Resource Kit (Flash UI Component Set 3). Shows DataGrid component. Writes some simple ActionScript code that loads data fro te ColdFusion component created earlier. only takes 1 line of code to display the data in flash once it has been loaded from the component.
goes over example of creating and using web services within ColdFusion using Dreamweaver MX.
Kevin Lynch comes back up. Thanks crowd. Adam Berry comes up with some conference notes.
End of session.

DevCon Day 1 : Pre-Keynote

Just wanted to give a heads up that I will be blogging the keynote in real-time. My plan is to publish my notes live during the keynote, and then afterwords go back and clean them up. So if you couldn’t make DevCon, you can find out what we are talking about right away. If i have a chance, I’ll try to do a video blog (vlog?) of part of the keynote.
Also, I will be posting all of the DevCon related into in the DevCon section of my weblog. I don’t believe I will be pushing all of those updates on the main page.
You can find the DevCon section here.
Btw, you can find some more DevCon coverage at JD’s site, as well as vernon’s, matt’s, sean’s and jeremy’s weblogs.
BTW2, I will doing some video reports, so if there is anyone you want to hear from, or have any questions for anyone, post them in the comments.
BTW3, the Designer and Developer center will be posting highlights on the main page of DevCon weblog coverage.

DevCon : MX Stage 2

I have a small part in Monday’s keynote at DevCon, so I haven’t had a chance to meet up with many people yet. I have been able to talk to some other Macromedia people as well as see some of the stuff that we will be showing during the keynote.
I think the general feeling is that developers understand MX and its advantages. Now we are at the point where we get to start to see some of the first true MX applications. This is when i think things get really exciting, and where the advantages of MX become apparent to more and more developers.
Of course, I can’t talk about anything specific, but rest assured that a lot of them will be shown here. I’ll post info as it becomes available.

DevCon Video Blog : What is this? Getting ready.



Problems? Questions? Comments? Put them in the comments section.
Update : The audio in the clip is hard to hear. That is because I did not speak loud enough. I will be redoing this one when i get a chance. sorry for my lack of on camera skills.

Blogging DevCon 2002

Just a quick FYI. I am heading down to Orlando tonight for DevCon 2002. I plan on blogging the entire conference, similar to what I did for FlashForward. I have created a new section on the weblog specifically for DevCon which you can find here.
In addition to blogging sessions, we also plan to do some pretty cool things with the Flash Communication Server and the weblog. Stay tuned for more details. Furthermore, all of the other community managers will also be blogging the conference, so make sure to check out their weblogs through the week:


If there is anything in particular you want info on, or anyone that you would like to be interviewed, post the requests in the comments section.

Macromedia Flash 6 File Format Specification is Available

We have released the file format specification for Flash 6. This contains everything you need to know to create your own SWF file to play within the Flash player, including information on the FLV video format.
Note, this is a specification and not an SDK (which we offered in the past). This means that the documentation is much better, but there are no sample files. This allows us to update the specification a lot quicker once future versions of the player are released.
You can find more information as well as download the spec here.
You can read the FAQ on the specification here.

DevCon Pocket PC Guide

We have created a Flash based Pocket PC event guide for Macromedia DevCon. This has probably been online for a while, but I just noticed it.
It is pretty nice, and really shows some of the power of Flash on devices.
You can find more info, as well as download the guide here.

Flash Player Beta for Linux Update

We have updated the Linux build of the current Flash Player Beta. You can download it here. The release notes describes some of the bug fixes in this build.
We really need developers to test their existing content with the the current Windows, Mac and Linux players. We are getting a lot of input on the Linux beta but not on the other versions of the player. This is your chance to make sure that we are aware of any issues.

More info on ActionScript Optimizations in Beta Player

There have a been a couple of questions about what parts of ActionScript have been optimized in the new player. I talked to the Flash Player team and they passed the following info to me:
Movies which make lots of function calls (something recursive, such as a QuickSort algorithm on an array of 10,000 items) will be faster (provided they don’t access the arguments array).
If anyone gets some benchmarks together, make sure to post a  link to them in the comments.

Flash Player Beta Performance Benchmarks

Claus Wahlers has put up some performance benchmarks on string manipulation in the new Flash Player 6 beta.
The benchmarks show significant performance increases in string manipulations.
You can view the benchmarks here.
You can find more info on the Flash Player beta here.
FYI : there have been some reports on FlashCoders of overall ActionScript performance increases of 10%.