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So What’s Happening Next with Cairngorm

So with MAX 2007 Chicago behind me, and MAX 2007 Barcelona ahead, I’d like to put out some brief notes on our plans and intentions for Cairngorm.

Let’s start with clearing up some uncertainties. In our Adobe Consulting Birds of a Feather, we played a few games with the audience to warm things up, including a game where 3 consultants would make a statement each on a topic, only one of which was true, and the audience had to correctly guess which one was true.

So the two lies about Cairngorm were that “we’re building a lightweight version of Hibernate for AIR, and because it’s lighter than hibernation, we’re going to call it Slumber”. That was a lie. And we also said we were going to rename “Cairngorm” to “Mount McKinley” so people would stop complaining about how to pronounce it. But that was a lie as well. So neither of these 2 things are fact :)

We’ve pushed the changes we pushed out as beta through to Adobe Labs, as you saw on Alistair McLeods blog. So that’s now the stable version of Cairngorm for you to develop against.

I want to be very clear, in case it hasn’t been – if you are continuing to build RIA with Flex and Cairngorm, and these RIA are front-ends upon Service Oriented Architectures, where you are invoking services and handling their responses – whether that be RemoteObject, WebService or HTTPService – then the current microarchitecture remains our advocated architecture for you. We have no intention of changing that in a future version of Cairngorm, so please don’t hold out waiting for anything else because you think there might be big change a comin’. There’s not.

However, we’ve been doing a LOT of deep-thinking around data oriented architectures, which are the kind of architectures that evolve as you begin to leverage LiveCycle Data Services, in particular the data management features of LCDS. Peter Martin presented a deep-dive into that current thinking – and as he preluded his presentation with, we aspire to solidifying this thinking into repeatable best-practice that we can bake back into Cairngorm. However, right now our thinking is strategy and architecture as much as it is reusable classes that we’ll bake into Cairngorm. Alistair McLeod is going to give this presentation in Barcelona, and we’ll be opening up discussion online as well about some of our thinking, and we look to compare our data points with many of yours before we bake this into Cairngorm. What I do see happening however, is that Cairngorm Enterprise will evolve to include best-practices for data oriented archtiectures as well as the current best-practices we advocate – and will continue to advocate – for more service oriented architectures.

Exciting stuff.

We also care a great deal about making Cairngorm developers more productive; we plan on sharing some work that we have been doing around Eclipse plug-ins to increase your productivity, but it’s early days yet and we’ve not had the bandwidth we hoped for to drive this into the community. Hold tight, but it’s coming!

If you’re going to be in Barcelona, please drop by and say hi – I’ll be giving my talk on Design Led Innovation again, which I really enjoyed delivering in Chicago. It’s easy to get into the details of architecture and design patterns, but it’s also nice to pull up to 35,000 feet from time to time, and remember that our job is to “build THINGS that PEOPLE will USE” (to paraphrase my colleague, Simon Smith, who leads Adobe Consulting’s User Experience practice. I’ll also be presenting in the Flex Best Practices panel.

Hope to see you in Spain…

Adobe Consulting needs U(X) and U(Tech)

My subject lines get worse.

So I’m going to wait until after MAX Barcelona before I post any summary of the MAX conferences – and I’m taking a week off after Barcelona to recover! But suffice to say, it’s incredibly fun times right now, and MAX Chicago was testament to the cutting edge we’re all slicing and dicing with right now!

But before I head over to Spain, I wanted to draw attention to a blog post that my colleague Simon Smith has made. Simon is one of my partners in crime at Adobe Consulting, leading our User Experience practice on a global basis. One of the most exciting things for me joining Macromedia and then Adobe, was the opportunity to work alongside such a great bunch of critical thinkers, information architects and user-experience designers on our consulting projects. As well as my own team hiring in the technology practice, Simon’s team have jobs open on a worldwide basis – check his Designers Wanted blog post and then drop us an email, or come and say hi to me in the weeks ahead.

Likewise, if you want to cut code on “either side of the glass” with Adobe Consulting in the technology practice that I lead, then I’d personally like to hear from you as well. We’re definitely at an inflection point in the industry, and if you have what it takes to take us to the next one then you know where to find me.

AC@MAX: Chalk and Talk about Client-side Data Modelling in Flex with Data Management Services, with Peter Martin and Tom Sugden

Client-side Data Modelling in Flex with Data Management Services.

Monday, 2pm, RIA Technology Zone of Exhibit Hall

Peter Martin is a Technical Architect with Adobe Consulting, based in Edinburgh (Scotland). Tom Sugden is a Senior Consultant with Adobe Consulting, also based in Edinburgh.

Peter and Tom will whiteboard various Adobe Consulting strategies for creating client-side models in Rich Internet Applications for use with LiveCycle Data Management Services. Hear Peter and Tom discuss some of the implementations and architectures they have considered, from implementations of the presentation model pattern [Fowler] to domain object models – all lessons learned and applied during the 12-month delivery of a complex data management services application in the manufacturing industry.

AC@MAX: Chalk and Talk about eForms architectures with Venkata Adidam and Herve Dupriez

eForms Architecture with a PDF Solution

Tuesday, 2pm, RIA Technology Zone of Exhibit Hall

Venkata Adidam is a Senior Consultant with Adobe Consulting based out of our Washington Office. Herve Dupriez is a Technical Architect with Adobe Consulting based out of our London Office. Both Venkata and Herve have deep implementation experience around our LiveCycle Product Set.

In this chalk and talk session, Venkata and Herve will discuss some of the architectural options available when creating eForms solutions that leverage PDF; our teams continue to apply established design principles such as MVC whether they are developing Flex or AIR based RIA solutions, or eForms solutions using PDF.

AC@MAX: Chalk and Talk about Combining Flex and LiveCycle ES with Danny Saikaly

Combining Flex and LiveCycle ES

Monday, 4pm, RIA Technology Zone of Exhibit Hall

Danny Saikaly is a Principal Architect with Adobe Consulting, based out of our office in Ottawa.

Danny is going to stand at the whiteboard, and talk about strategies and solutions employed by Adobe Consulting that will enable you to take an RIA built in Flex or AIR and then leverage and invoke services in the LiveCycle ES platform. Furthermore, he’ll talk about the different strategies for seamlessly rendering a PDF within a Flex application, and communicating between the PDF and Flex application.

There are some incredibly compelling solutions to customers when you are able to take the data captured in an RIA and them move it effectively and efficiently around an organisation’s back office, or between the digital world and the paper world, by leveraging LiveCycle ES. You’re going to hear a lot more about LiveCycle ES at MAX, and I’m confident that this is going to become a service platform upon which more and more Rich Internet Applications in the Enterprise are built! Learn the technical plumbing at the whiteboard with Danny, see some of the business problems that are being solved when you combine these technologies during the keynote and elsewhere at MAX, and you’ll leave Chicago ready to add this value to your own RIA in the enterprise!

AC@MAX: Chalk and Talk about LiveCycle Data Services with Brian O’Connor

Paging Large Data Sets

Monday, 3pm, RIA Technology Zone of Exhibit Hall

Brian O’Connor is a Senior Technical Architect based out of our Newton, Ma. office.

Brian is another architect who has been spending a tonne of time building RIA in Flex and AIR with LiveCycle Data Services. Brian will whiteboard some strategies for high-performance paging of large data sets on LiveCycle Data Services. This will all be lessons learned from some mission critical financial service applications delivered by Adobe Consulting with Flex and LiveCycle Data Services.

AC@MAX: Chalk and Talk around the Whiteboard

There’s a new session format at MAX this year – “chalk and talk” sessions. The idea is “between 10 and 20 minutes, no demos, no slides”. It’s just one or two people leading a discussion of a topic at a whiteboard, and you are free to just wander up, listen or participate.

This is one of the things I love about working with talented teams of designers and developers; when you walk into a project office, see someone at a whiteboard with a pen in their hand and a bunch of people standing with hands on their heads, or arms folded, or slumped in deep thought in a chair, you know that some innovation is about to happen. You know that a best-practice is about to be born. You know that some hitherto fundamental truth is being challenged, and the outcome will be an advance in the state of the art, or the currently accepted doctrine.

When I walk into an office, and there’s a team of Adobe Consultants standing around a whiteboard, it’s just great to stand at the back and listen for 5 minutes (though they’ll probably drop a few comments in the blog saying that I don’t stand at the back for very long, and tend to grab the pen).

So — this format of discussion is coming to MAX, and Adobe Consulting are going to be standing around 5 different whiteboards. A number of our consultants are going to lead whiteboard discussions on topics that have come up on their various projects, and we hope that some of you will join us, stand around, challenge, participate, and who knows, maybe the outcome will be some more doctrine challenged, some more best-practice emerging, or some more dark corners illuminated.

We’ll be covering Flex, LiveCycle Data Services, buidling Flex apps on top of LiveCycle ES service-oriented architectures, some PDF Form Design architectural patterns, and some User Experience Design discussions. I can’t wait to see these sessions!

I’ll follow up with details of each of the chalk and talks; see you round the whiteboards.

AC@MAX: “Adobe Consulting knows everything about Flex, LiveCycle ES and User Experience Design” BOF

Monday Evening, Room #180, 9.30pm

It’s gameshow time folks! In the Adobe Consulting Birds of a Feather session, we’re going to facilitate a session in gameshow format – that’s Adobe Consulting versus the rest of the world – with a session called “Adobe Consulting knows everything about Flex, LiveCycle ES and User Experience Design”.

4000 attendees. Whatever! Bring it on!

We plan on a fun, interactive but ultimately spirited and educational discussion that covers all of the above topics – we’ll mix some panel-based discussion that will include the audience and their thoughts, with gameshow rounds, where we’ll pit 20 Adobe Consultants against everyone else in the audience, using a variety of gameshow formats from television shows and radio shows that most of us are actually too young to remember (except George Neill) !

Can we take a topic given by the audience and talk authoratively about it for one minute, without hesitation, repetition or deviation from the topic? If we can, it’s a point to us – if you buzz us out for hesitating, deviating or repeating, you the audience can try and get to the end of the minute on the topic and win the point for YOUR team. But watch out, Brian O’Connor and I can talk for a minute about on just about anything.

Or challenge us to dodge ball; throw questions at us, and if we get ‘em wrong, our team mates are out, but if we get them right, we’re pulling them straight back off the bench. If we know everything about Flex, LiveCycle ES and user-experience design then you ain’t getting any points…and we’ll all be in the game at the end of the round!

And more to be revealed on the night…

In between the gameshow rounds, we hope to run a BOF session as spirited as last year, where what felt like half the development community engaged in a hugely collaborative discussion around the topics of interest.

As Ted Patrick has posted, there’ll be food and beer — round up your evening by taking on the might of Adobe Consulting!

(Note: though strictly speaking we know everything about Flex, LiveCycle ES and User Experience Design, some of our team who know the answers to the questions you ask may not be available on the evening in question. We reserve the right to guru in absentia)

(Note2: If I see any of the Flex or LiveCycle Engineering team in the audience, then Adobe Consulting will file enough enhancement requests to ensure you don’t have a weekend between now and next March. You have been warned)

AC@MAX: Flex Best Practices

Flex Best Practices

Tuesday, October 21:30 pm – 2:30 pm

So I’m really looking forward to this one; Joe Berkowitz of Allurent has agreed to chair a panel called Flex Best Practices” with myself, Anatole Tartakovsky of Farata Systems, Dave Colleta of Virtual Ubiquity (the Buzzword guys!) and Dave Wolf of Cynergy Systems.

Joe has a great agenda of topics together to chair the discussion with, including General Flex Development best-practices, Architecture (Frameworks and Patterns, Model Driven Development, Flex/HTML Integration), Quality issues such as unit-testing, integration testing and continuous builds, workflow between designer and developer teams on RIA project, and tooling to support such processes.

Ultimately though ultimately the discussion will be driven by the direction the audience takes us in. I understand from the MAX audience that we already have close to 200 of you registered for this panel session alone, so it proves to be a spirited and insightful 2-way sharing of our collective experience!

AC@MAX: Steven Webster on Design Led Innovation

Design-Led Innovation: Creating Disruptive Experiences

Monday, October 1 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
Tuesday, October 2 9:15 am – 10:15 am

So at Adobe Consulting, we talk to our customers about “Design Led Innovation” as a way of thinking about how to apply Design-thinking and take a Design-led approach to creating applications that are not just soundly built upon our technology, but useful, usable and desirable not just for our customers, but for their customers.

Taking a departure from my usual “cram as much architecture and code into 60 minutes without pausing for breath” presentation style, I’m going to pull up a little this year, and use the opportunity to share with you our philosophy on application design and development, inspire you I hope with as much of the great work that we’ve been delivering for our customers (much of which is still pending legal approval for me to show you :) ) and to share with you the approach that we take to design and deliver this work, and help you understand the skills that our contractors and partners can bring to augment our own delivery team.

One of the most rewarding differences for me working for Adobe Consulting rather than iteration::two, is that I no longer have a dynamic tension to resolve between “how much knowledge do we share and how much do we keep for our competitive advantage”. Instead, I carry a remit, among others, to ensure that we are enabling the partner and design and development communities, and helping them to be successful – often through working alongside us in engagements. I hope that my talk resonates with many of you, whether you are information architects or visual designers, Flash Developers, Flex developers, LiveCycle Developers a Java Developer or someone who has seen the Silverlight.

I’m going to talk about design and development methodology; since I first installed Flash, I’ve been a passionate advocate of agile development in the design of Rich Internet Applications, and I’ll talk some about how the agile approach dovetails so nicely with innovation and design. My colleagues from our User Experience Practice, including Simon Smith (our Worldwide Practice Director for User Experience Design), Peter Baird (Mr Style Explorer) and George Neill (our most senior European UX guy, who has been designing and delivering RIA since Jeremy Allaire first coind the phrase) will be hovering around beside me I’m sure, and will no doubt step up with observations on our methodology and approach.

But hopefully, more than that, I’m going to get the opportunity to share with you the way we think, the way we apply our technology to solve business problems, the way we apply design to solve business problems, and share with you the insights that led to the applications that I share with you on stage.

This is a public version of a presentation the team and I have been delivering to customers the world over – this is how we get our customers thinking about embracing technology. I can’t wait to get you thinking like that as well.