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.)


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