Archive for March, 2007

CS3 Launch at An Event Apart

I’ve been answering questions all day at An Event Apart about the new CS3 products, in anticipation of the launch event in an hour. Even better, I gave away (with the assistance of Eric Meyer, Jason Santa Maria and Jeffrey Zeldman) three advance copies of CS3 Web Premium to three lucky attendees – Lynn Morehouse, Robert Cherny and Erik Peterson. Congrats, guys! I hope you enjoy the new goodies once they get shipping.

It’s been incredibly illuminating to talk to so many attendees that use various groupings of Adobe creative/web software, as An Event Apart is a really great mix of disciplines all centering on site design and development. I’ve talked to educators, government developers, indie web production shops, animators and video pros- just in the last hour alone. It’ll take days to wade through all my notes and pass them along to the appropriate product teams, but they’re all golden.

(And honestly, the track schedule at AEA Boston is so awesome I’ve been completely buried in soaking up the speakers’ wisdom at every opportunity.)

Make sure and hit the launch event in about an hour for more details, and I can’t wait to start blogging more about the cool new features. I won’t be doing a ‘feature a day’ campaign as I did with the Studio 8 launch, but will do my best to start kicking down some dirt on the new features shortly. Keep posted!

CS3 – Yes Virginia, It’s Now Official.

Rock and roll. I don’t have to dodge your questions anymore. Today we announced the Adobe Creative Suite 3 release, including 6 suite groupings to fill your respective needs- Design and Web suites (in Standard and Premium editions), Production Premium (for video/film pros) and the hard-drive filling Master Collection, including pretty much everything you’ll ever need from Adobe.

You can read more details here at the official site, and at 3:30 Eastern (12:30 PST) catch the webcast of the CS3 launch event here.

We’ll be giving three copies of the CS3 Web Premium suite away to three lucky An Event Apart attendees today in Boston (where I’m current at, watching Cameron Moll speak), so make sure to come back from lunch promptly in case your name gets called. Lori Hylan-Cho, Lynn Grillo and myself will be around for the rest of the day too, if you have questions. So now that the cone of silence is lifted, come up, say hi, and let’s talk!

Zeldman on Site Editorial @AEA Boston

Be brief, but clear. Focus on the appropriate message.

(sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

An Event Apart Boston

I’m flying out to Boston shortly for An Event Apart, and given my late arrival this evening I’m sure tomorrow will be a fun and coffee-drenched day of web buildin’ hijinks.

Particularly interesting to me this year is web usability expert Steve Krug’s presentation on ‘Advanced Common Sense‘. I’ve been a fan of his popular usability book “Don’t Make Me Think” for some time now, and am really looking forward to hearing Steve extrapolate on usability and whatever else is on his mind.

Not to say that the rest of the speakers aren’t absolutely top-notch, from Eric to Dan to Stan, and of course the irreplaceable Molly (who’s session I will not miss for anything, as I slipped out right before she mentioned me during her SXSW panel earlier in the month, much to my chagrin!).

But make no question about it, the winner of the ‘Best Session Title Ever’ award has to go to Ethan Marcotte: “Web Standards Stole My Truck”. Now that is a session I’ve gotta see.

Make sure to tap me on the shoulder and say hi if you’re there as well- I’ll be wandering around with my requisite Dreamweaver hoodie on, representing. If you catch me in a good mood, I’ll probably answer your questions about the upcoming Adobe CS3 products- but if I’m in a great mood, I might even demo ’em for you. I’m that kinda guy. ;-)

Boston ahoy!

Care and Feeding of the Extension Manager

Well known extension developer Tom Muck wrote a great post today on some tips for managing extensions across multiple installed versions of Dreamweaver. The Extension Manager is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none application- managing not just Dreamweaver extensions but also Flash and Fireworks, so although right now the EM’s the easiest way to install/manage extensions – it certainly has some snafus involved with doing so. Understanding a bit of what’s happening both beneath the hood, and across multiple versions of DW, is highly adviseable for those DW users who rely on the excellent product extensions made available by Tom, Project Seven and WebAssist, among many others.

Although certainly not everyone keeps multiple versions of Dreamweaver installed year-round, Tom’s advice is very sound and definitely worth a read for anyone who uses DW extensions regularly. Particularly so as I hear there’s a new version of Dreamweaver on the way soon… ;-)

Read the full article here.

MS Watch – Kudos for Adobe Labs

Joe Wilcox has some praise for Adobe Labs down at the bottom of his post on Microsoft Watch today:

The Apollo Alpha comes out through Adobe Labs, which is one of the best unsung assets of Adobe’s Macromedia acquisition. Adobe is reaching a different developer community than before the acquisition. Over the last year, Adobe Labs has released some intriguing incubation projects, such as Flash Lite, Lightroom, Mars, Soundbooth and, now, Apollo.

Awesome- it’s great to hear Labs get some props, as it’s certainly got a warm spot in my own heart. As the project manager driving the initial October 2005 launch of Macromedia (now Adobe) Labs, that puts a big smile on my face. I handed the management reins over to my long-time cohort Dan Taborga back in early 2006 – I’m more of an entrepreneurial/short-term-attention-span type than a long-term program manager – but before doing so was overjoyed at how well the Labs concept was recieved by the Adobe management both before and after the acquisition. The Lightroom team was literally queued up to release their public alpha within days of the acquisition’s close- I couldn’t have asked for a better reception than that from our then-new Adobe management structure.

I personally feel that transparency in development processes is mandatory for products to really match their community’s expectations, and to that end, I can’t think of many projects that I’ve helped get off the ground in prior years that I’m prouder of than Adobe Labs. My baby’s all grown up now.

Here’s to many more years of public software development with tight community interaction. Cheers, Adobe Labs (and keep kicking butt with it, Dan)!

Topical Dam Busting

So much has occurred in the last 2 weeks it’s hard to go into detail – SXSW, Apollo, Spry 1.5- egads! Hence, I’ll just let the dam burst and convey what I’ve been thinking on all these subjects to catch up and get it all off my chest.

The Upcoming CS3 Launch
The big ‘announcement of an announcement’ event is planned for March 28th, at which time the details and date for the Creative Suite 3 release will be laid out bare for the world to see. Although I shared the same initial reaction to the recursive strategy as did Shaun Inman, I can say from an inside-the-walls perspective that there’s been so much pent-up angst about this release (largely from Intel Mac early adopters) that I’m glad some information’s getting out. I’ve been deluged at recent events with the inevitable when/how/what questions, and at least after March 28th I won’t have to dodge them anymore. This release is going to be a huge one, and after using the alpha/beta applications within the Creative Suite 3 family for the last 6-8 months I can’t fathom what it would be like going back to CS2/Studio 8. Hopefully you will share that opinion as well soon. ;-)

South by Southwest 2007
If I could only choose one event to attend each year, this would be the one. Hands down, no question. To be fair, I found many of the panels a bit substandard this year (for once, the sessions hosted by one or two ‘panelists’ seemed to have far more focus than the ‘gang’ sessions)- but the hallway conversations, offline debates and stellar events make SXSW a must-attend. Highlights for me were the Jason Santa Maria/Rob Weychert-delivered ‘Beyond the Brief’ session on design inspiration- those two guys are freakishly inspirational in their own right, and gave many fantastic examples of ways to live and breathe creativity. Jeremy summed it up quite well– technology deep-dives took a back seat this year to creative, applied uses of those technologies. And I think the event was overall much the better for it.

The response to my low-key SXSW day-stage demo of Spry (including a sneak peek at both the now-available Spry 1.5 updates, unobtrusive and progressively-enhanced usage of the framework, and Dreamweaver CS3 integration features) was also very positive. The Spry team is also doing a good job of ‘blogging up what they’re working on, it’s good to see a bit more transparency around these subjects. See more below.

In short- I justify going to SXSW for the panels, but am driven to attend for the amazing attendees and conversations around those panels. ‘Nuff said.

Spry 1.5
The Spry framework took early criticism on a number of points, but the team has listened and is doing a yeoman’s job of adjusting and compromising to address many of those concerns. With the new features in Spry 1.5 (now available as a preview release) you can build progressively-enhanced sites much more easily. JSON support (including nested datasets) is now part-and-parcel of the data framework, along with the innovative new HTML Dataset feature- allowing you to, through strategically-placed classes and IDs, tag data in your HTML pages that is sucked up and turned into a live Spry dataset in browsers that support it. You can even point it to an external HTML file to suck up the data, making the possibilities quite vast. And of course, you can use this all unobtrusively by adding your Spry attributes at runtime via DOM scripting, which I highly recommend. Always best to keep your behaviors (Javascript) separate from your design (CSS) and data (HTML + server-side logic).

A preferred workflow in Spry 1.5- mock up your page/experience quickly using vanilla HTML, add descriptive classes/IDs to the HTML/CSS so it can be sucked into a live dataset via the HTML Dataset feature in Spry 1.5, then move all the inline event handlers to an external JS file and attach them at runtime. Unobtrusive AND progressively enhanced. Bing. Then we can move to only arguing about whether custom attributes are/are not following the intent of web standards as closely as they are the letter of the standards. ;-)
(Initiatives such as WAI ARIA spec suggest custom attributes are exactly for these purposes- extending XHTML in new directions. But feel free to disagree in comments if you’re so inclined.)

Apollo Preview Release
Given that the hype and buzz around this has been pretty deafening over the last few days, I can only surmise if you have no idea what I’m talking about that you really need to get out more. Get the details and bits here on Adobe Labs – the much-speculated Apollo framework is now available for bit-twiddling and fiddling. Although it will eventually enable offline apps built with both Flash/Flex and HTML/JS, right now the former is supported, with Ajaxian goodness to join in the fun soon.

Okay, enough said. I’m back to attacking my burgeoning inbox and to-do lists after being distracted by all the above developments. If I’ve done my job, I’ve just passed down my distractions to you- and you find them as equally interesting as I did. ;-)

(note to self: update my Technorati profile.)