Archive for November, 2006

More on Adobe Consulting Hiring in Europe

Further to my last blog entry – I’ve been literally inundated with responses from people keen to understand more about working within our RIA and LiveCycle and UX practices in EMEA. I’ll respond to everyone individually, but until I do, I just wanted to put a note out on my blog here thanking everyone for their interest – the level of response means that I’ve created a much greater task for myself than I expected, and will be working through the applications with others in the team, and with our HR team, in the weeks ahead.

Adobe Consulting hiring Technical and User-Experience Consultants in Europe

Adobe Consulting continues to grow it’s team within Europe; whether you’re passionate about helping our enterprise customers and partners to be successful in the delivery of innovative solutions upon front-line Adobe technologies such as Flex and Apollo, and our enterprise technologies including Flex Data Services and the LiveCycle products, or whether you’re passionate about design-led innovation, about creating solutions that hide all that technology from the consumer or citizen in an insanely great user-experience that is simpler, easier and more effective for them to achieve their task, then we want to hear from you.

Design-led innovation is our go-to-market approach, bringing together the technical capabilities of Adobe technology through deep insight of our customers needs, and even deeper insight as to who their customers are, what their needs are, and how we can meet them with innovative solutions.

We’re looking for Technical Architects to work in our RIA and LiveCycle practice; you’re likely to be an enterprise software developer with experience of the J2EE platform, who has been delivering n-tier software applications upon industry best-practices. Your specialism may lie in the presentation-tier, where you’ll re-apply your expertise with technologies such as Flex and Apollo, or in the business and integration tiers, where you’ll transfer your knowledge and expertise to our technologies such as Flex Data Services and the LiveCycle suite of technologies. Though you’re likely able to stand toe-to-toe technically with the best of them, you’re most satisfied when you’re travelling and meeting with real customers and helping them solve their real business needs. Working on a daily basis with other technical consultants and your colleagues in the user-experience practice, you’re blending your deep technical experience with their expertise in delivering reference solutions and innovative user-experiences. You’ll have the opportunity to leverage the experience you have while gaining deep experience in our current and future technologies, from Flex and Flex Data Services to Apollo, LiveCycle and beyond.

On the other hand, perhaps you don’t care how it all works behind the glass; perhaps your passion is more about what appears on the glass in the first place. Whether you’re an Information Architect or a Visual Designer, a Creative Director or a Product Engineer, we’re equally seeking the people who can conceive the experiences that we deliver to our customers through our platform. Whether you’re meeting with our customers to gain insights into their business needs, or meeting with their customers to understand the diversity of the user-ecosystem, the individual needs, goals, attitudes and ambitions of the users that are engaging with our products, or whether you’re taking these insights and turning them into an information architecture, an interaction design, a user-experience prototype or a visual and choreography design, we need to hear from you. We’re growing our talented user-experience design practice within Europe, and if this is your area of passion we want you to try out for the team.

I’d love to hear from you – the first step of the interview process is working out how to contact me. My first name dot last name over at adobe dot com is one way, or swebster at the same domain is likely to get me as well.

We have positions open across Europe, with tremendous opportunity for travel wherever you are based. I look forward to hearing from you.

Open Source Flex at the MAX 2006/Adobe Consulting Birds of a Feather

At MAX2006, some of the Adobe Consulting team held a Birds of a Feather session that was tentatively titled “Flex Frameworks and Methodologies”. Since the birth of Flex, I’ve been at 2 of the Birds of a Feathers held by (the then) Macromedia Consulting and a “Meet the Flex team”. Both times, we drew crowds of around 20-30 people … so imagine our surprise at MAX when somewhere between 150 and 200 of the Flex community at MAX attended the Birds of a Feather at 8.15pm in Las Vegas!

Given that there were talks on Cairngorm, we tried our best to not let the Birds of a Feather become a “Cairngorm” birds of a feather, or an “Agile RIA Development” birds of a feather. Instead, we called for topics that raised everything from feature requests for Flex 3, to using Flex with frameworks such as Spring and Hibernate, to modular application development, to rapid-prototyping in Flex and to the importance of user-experience design in developing RIAs, the structure and make-up of an RIA development team, the differing needs for user-experience focus depending on whether the project was customer or business facing (for the avoidance of doubt, I think the importance of user-experience design is equivalent irrespective of the type of user we are delivering to – but not everyone agreed).

I don’t want to go into any of the topics in detail; most of all because I didn’t keep any notes :) However, there was a *tremendous* interchange of ideas between the community, between the RIA, LiveCycle and User Experience practice members of Adobe Consulting, and by a significant yet impromptu presence and contribution from the Flex product management team and Flex engineering teams. That we have come this far in only 2 lightning fast years was a real testament to the growth in the RIA community we have had since the birth of Flex.

Something else that really inspired me as well, was the maturity of ideas, the diversity of expertise and the melting pot of skills that exists within our community. That we could jump from programmatic skinning, to the importance of user-interviews in a business-facing application and then to code generation of Spring adapters and explorations of Aspect Oriented approaches to Flex development, brings into sharp focus our success in creating a toolset and a technology that unites designer and developer. Personally – this is a deeply exciting trend of RIA development.

But I’ve got some blog-bait terms in my subject line – “Open Source Flex”. So sorry, on the back of the Mozilla AVM announcement, I’m afraid we’re not about to open-source Flex … however, there was a real call to action to the community that occured around the topic of open-source Flex projects that I’d like to emphasise here.

Open Source your Flex Intellectual Property!

When I posed the question to the audience, “how many of you have reusable intellectual property within your company, that you or others have created, that is reusable between your projects and that could have value to the rest of the community if made publically available ?” there was an interesting show of hands – perhaps 20 or 30 different people considered themselves to have code of value to others in the community. These included logging frameworks, code-generation tools that would create all the backend and midtier code necessary to create CRUD (create/read/update/delete) applications from a database schema in Flex, Aspect Oriented Frameworks, extensions to FlexUnit to better support asynchronous testing, and many more.

However, there was reticence to release these projects to the community at large – in some cases, there was a desire for Adobe to pay something towards the release of these projects, in other cases people were reticent of the support or infrastructure they would have to put around supporting a project once it was out in the wild, others who worked for companies that were building products rather than providing consulting services, were challenged with board-approval on releasing aspects of their codebase as open-source, while for others they considered their intellectual property their competitive advantage that they didn’t want to give away.

I can understand all of these concerns; at iteration::two we faced them with Cairngorm and we faced them with FlexUnit, 2 projects we open-sourced when there was nothing else similar in the community. However, to be clear – our reasons weren’t all about “give back to the community”, as altruistic as such a claim might be. There was commercial consideration in our decisions to open-source – for instance, when you are a services organisation (which we were) it is a very different ball game to start also producing and supporting products. Most importantly for us however, was the realisation that if we put out our intellectual property as open-source, and helped the community adopt the ideas they embraced, they would serve as a “statement of capability” to our customers and prospective customers, emphasising what we considered to be best-practice, and supporting such claims with community adoption.

So I offer the same challenge to our community, which is many orders of magnitude larger, harder to differentiate within, and ripe for the picking, compared to New Orleans in 2004.

If you have projects which would be of benefit to the community, consider ways in which you could make them available to the rest of the Flex community. Open-source them if that works best for you, monetise them if that enables you to justify development and support. Write articles about them, write books about them, record Adobe Connect presentations about them and use these projects and use your intellectual property to create the ultimate win-win situation for us all – fuelling the further growth of our RIA development community, and raising your own profile as a subject matter expert within that community.

Host these projects on your own company website. Take advantage of one of the excellent repositories for open-source projects, be it OSFlash or RIAForge.

But spend some time thinking about the intellectual property that you can make available to the rest of the community. Within Adobe Consulting, we continue to do so – the recent scheduling framework being another great example.

I’ll close this blog entry with the same words I closed the Birds of a Feather:

“You’re the same community that wanted Flex to be cheaper, and we made it free. Now show us what you’ve done with it.”

MAX2006 Cairngorm Talk – Slides Available for Download

I’ve just created a PDF of my MAX2006 talk, “Developing Next Generation Rich Internet Applications with Cairngorm 2″. It’s my full intention to Breeze record this presentation, as it makes much more sense with code walkthroughs and the demo applications – there are a couple of good reasons why I’ve not breeze recorded this yet though.

First and foremost – I’m on vacation, this week and next. However, the prime reason – and if you caught the second of my talks on the last day of MAX2006 you’re probably laid up in bed by now with the same (along with half of flight BA248 from Los Angeles to London … sorry ’bout that) chest/throat infection that robbed me of my voice the weekend before MAX and the last day of MAX for another 2 or 3 days. Tom Jones was spotted wandering around the Venetian during MAX2006 – rumour has it that he stole my voice. It’s not unusual. (I don’t think I ever thought I’d link to Tom Jones from my blog). If you were at that second talk, I hope that the impromptu support from Alistair McLeod and Peter Martin were sufficient to get the talk across with what scraps of voice I had left ! Matt Chotin has no idea how close he was to being asked by the conference organisers to present my talk…

I’ll be blogging a great deal more on my return on my thoughts from MAX – not a report of talks as such, but more my sense of the growth and maturity of the Flex community, the way that Flex is drawing in a tremendous amount of leadership in design as well as a tremendous amount of enterprise software expertise, helped in a large part by the emergence of a LiveCycle community at MAX.

My talk had to appeal to both the growing number of newcomers to Flex, RIA and Cairngorm – providing a reinforcement of the fundamental patterns and principles, problems and solutions that Cairngorm advocates, as well as offering some insight into how we are using Cairngorm in enterprise applications, how we are encouraging correct usage of application container security models, how we are embracing Flex Data Services and Message Services in our Cairngorm architectures, and how we are fulfilling the platform play that Adobe offers with the Flash Player, by targetting Cairngorm applications not only at the browser, but at the desktop via Apollo, and at the mobile via Flash Lite. There was a tremendous buzz at MAX2006 around Apollo and Flash Lite, so I’m pleased that so many of you are excited about Cairngorm helping you migrate your expertise to other areas of our platform development.

My talk was a broad one, with one goal being to give everyone a glimpse behind the curtain at Adobe Consulting, and give you insight into the kind of challenges we’re facing in our day to day engagements, and the practices that are emerging from these challenges. Furthermore, the maturity of the Flex community over the last few years means that many of you are wrestling these challenges also – it really felt this year that for the majority rather than a minority, Cairngorm was a solution for many of your problems, rather than a solution for which you hadn’t yet experienced problems.

As we move towards the goal of a Cairngorm 3 release, I look forward to us being able to share further insight on building Apollo applications, leveraging Flex Data Services both in the browser world as well as the desktop/Apollo world, in understanding how Flex, Cairngorm and LiveCycle can work together, and leveraging some of the forthcoming Flex features that solve challenges such as how to modularise your applications as they become ever more ambitious in the scale of solution you are delivering.

It was great to meet with so many of the community at what I think was the best MAX yet.

If you have had a chest or throat infection, no voice, have been sleeping 20 hours a day and shared a flight or a presentation with me, then once again my apologies.

Who’d have thought, that I’d be able to give people a lump in their throat with Cairngorm ?

And then help them cough it out at such high velocities.