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Category Archives: Conferences / Events

 

It’s pretty easy to get excited as a web developer these days.

Last Thursday, Alan Greenblatt, and Christophe Coenraets flew up from Boston to show off Adobe’s up and coming  Edge suite of creative web tools. The main take away is this: Check out:

html.adobe.com/edge

Alan gave a brief overview of the design tools. Particularly Edge Animate, and Edge web fonts. For those who have a good background in print design, they now have more leverage to use their skills to develop modern web sites. Also, Adobe is giving access to 500 fonts to use freely for developers. This is pretty significant since the days of Arial and Helvetica.

Christophe presented Edge Reflow, Edge Code (code named: Brackets), Edge Inspect and PhoneGap Build through his sample employee directory app. (I’ve seen the Flex version, and has also done one version with Java.) Also check out the capabilities of PhoneGap via his API Explorer app.

Edge Reflow is what’s buzzing in the web development industry. It is a tool that simplifies responsive design. It is in preview stage not even in Alpha, but there is a lot of positive feedback on it. Adobe is going through further study on it on how it can interact with other responsive design frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap.

I expect Adobe will make other announcements on Dec. 11 at the live – Create the Web event (10 am PST) on Facebook.

Currently Edge Animate and Edge Code are available on the Creative Cloud.

I will be attending RIA Unleashed in Boston this Thursday Oct. 27th and Friday Oct 28th. I am considering whether I should go to the Habs / Bruins game with my Habs jersey. If I do, I don’t know whether my wife would see me again.

Anyway, looking forward to attending the sessions on HTML5 gaming with Jesse Freeman. (If I wanted to learn how to program in HTML5, why not in gaming?) as well as building mobile apps with the latest Flex 4.6 SDK with Christophe Coenraets and Holly Schinsky.

Just to mention that I had a good time with some Flash / Flex devs at our first 5 @ 7. (Thanks Adobe & LordAlexWorks for the drinks and snacks.) We talked about Flash Catalyst, and heard conversations about micro-architectures (Parsley, Robotlegs) and what we want to do for our next general meeting targeted for the end of August. Our next 5 @ 7 would be held at the beginning of August. To get free tickets, it is best to follow LordAlex‘s Tweets.

On September 19-22nd, I attended 360 Flex, courtesy of InsideRIA and 360 Flex organizers John and Nicole Wilker. (BTW, thanks for providing the ticket 🙂 !) This was the first time attending a Flex-centric conference. Of course, not all of it was Flex centric for there were quite a few people who came from a Flash/AS background. The main take-back from this conference was the awareness of using IOC-based frameworks. Although there are quite a few notably: Mate, Swiz, Parsley, and etc. (Cairngorm was dissed. It was suggested to not even go that way.) Robotlegs seems to stand out for me because of the flexibility to use the framework under the Flash CS5 IDE. Of course, I also have a copy of Flash Builder 4 (I even purchased the Sourcemate extension for Flash Builder), but knowing that I am free to use whatever IDE to implement an IOC-based framework looks very appealing.

Another feeling I got from the speakers and attendees is that Flash Builder is not up to par (e.g. Jesse Warden’s rant) to comparable IDE’s for Java development or MS Visual Studio. However, Flash Builder 4 is taking a step in the right direction about changing the framework to separate visual graphical assets (Spark) from the code. The Hero build is expected to be released around Adobe MAX for Flex Mobile development.

All the sessions are now posted by the conference organizers online.

Here is a rundown of all the sessions I attended:

 

Sunday, Sept. 19

PushButton Engine (Ben Garney): This was a rundown of the PushButton Engine API. It takes care of the hassle of creating games and helps you to focus on the coding the game itself. I spoke to Nate Beck who also contributes to the framework. It was very kind of him to give me an overall view on how it worked. If there was something I would love to do is to create a simple mini-game hands on, but that would require a whole day to do instead of the 4 hours allocated to the session.

 

Monday, Sept. 20

Adobe Keynote (Christian Cantrell): Obviously, mobile is the focus this year. It was a good general overview of what Adobe is doing for mobile development. Of course, it seemed like propaganda to attend Adobe MAX of which, I would be unable (or can’t afford) to do.

Tangents (Doug McCune): Doug McCune is very much alive. (This is an inside joke in the Flex dev community.) Doug’s creative inspiration on what he does when he goes off on a tangent while creating his projects.

Advanced FTE and tiny-TLF (Paul Taylor): This just blew me away. Okay, well text doesn’t really impress people visually. However, as a developer and incorporating dynamic text for my courseware, this presentation was a godsend. One of the main criticisms of Flash involves the lack of support of the flexibility of text rendering. This was resolved with the advent of the Flash 10 player with the “Flash Text Engine” framework, a low level text API. With the release of CS5 Adobe incorporated the Text Layout Framework (TLF) for designers and developers to ease development with the FTE. Of course, after a while, one is bound to encounter some limitations. Paul Taylor created tinyTLF is an alternative TLF to write advanced text layout controls. Please check out his blog.

What’s Getting Under Your Skin (Jeff Tapper): A general overview of using Spark for graphics integration in Flash Builder 4.

IOC Concepts with examples (Jeff Roberts): My favorite session because he introduces the concept of IOC, and Dependency Injection (DI). He could relate to the concept by showing some old BASIC code. It was a trip down memory lane. 🙂

The Art of Computer Science (Ben Stucki): Ben brought out some reflections during his computing career.

 

Tuesday, Sept. 21

The Invaluable Freelance Flasher (David Ortinau): David’s presentation wasn’t just applicable to being a freelance developer. His talk is very relevant in a company or working for a client. Networking, and NOT BAILING OUT is so ever important.

Re-architecting the Designer-Developer Workflow (Richard Lord): It was impressive to see his use of IOC to create smart components which eased development for other projects. This helped out the designers to know pick out exactly which component was needed for their projects and developers could move on to other more interesting creative projects.

SWFAddress and Google Analytics (Dan Florio): Dan is famous (or infamous?) for working on runpee.com: a site which tells you when it is ideal to leave in the middle of a movie to do your <i>urgent business</i>. He incorporated SWF Address for deeplinking and Google Analytics to monitor his visitors.

Framework Debate – General Session: This was a a presentation which introduced Mate, Swiz, and Robotlegs. No one would say that one framework would be better. (There is no such thing is a perfect framework anyway.)

 

Wednesday, Sept 22nd

Enterprise Actionscript: Writing Clean Code Fast with Swiz 1.0 (Ben Clinkinbeard): By this time, I think I was too tired to grasp the concepts here.

Decrapping Your Flex App (Garth Braithwaite): This wasn’t a best-practices on Flex coding. It was a best-practices on UX session.

Okay, got to go. I will post images and videos of my experience later.

My next and final conference for 2010: RIAUnleashed in Boston, MA.

– David

I happen to attend the free session at the Ottawa Mobile Development day. Got to thank Zee Yang who set this up. The Adobe offices in Ottawa were pretty cool. Here is a brief summary of what I learned:

  • Mobile Projects by Paulo Fierro (Jade Hopper) – Interesting overview of the mobile market.
  • Mobile AIR Development by Julian Dolce (QNX/RIM) – Gave an overview of the AIR for Android API
  • Mobile HTML5 by Mohammad Jangda (Vortex Mobile) – Quick introduction of HTML 5.
  • iPhone Development by Tariq Zaid (SelectStart Studios) – Overview of IOS development (Answered my question on distribution. Turns out that we do not need to put all of our apps on the Apple iTunes store. We can also have network distribution targeted for the vertical market.)
  • Windows Phone 7 by Colin Melia (DreamDigital) – What’s coming up on Windows 7 Phone OS (Ideal for Requires Silverlight / .Net / C# dev developers. As coming from a Flash/Actionscript background, I found it very hard to be convinced to develop for this platform.)

Next conferences on my schedule:

Flex 360 in Washington DC Sept 18-22nd. (Thanks to InsideRIA and Flex360 for the free ticket). This will be my first attendance at this kind of conference. I have been leaning towards Flash Builder lately. All my training in Papervision, and Away3D has been through Flash Builder. It would be the ideal conference to learn about best practices and workflows. Looking forward to it.

RIAUnleashed (Boston, MA) Nov. 11-12. This is a two day conference held at Bentley College. The hands-on sessions look pretty sweet.

Actually, for those who would like to attend both conferences, there is a discount available.

– David

I always look forward to this event, and it delivered a lot. I attended some hits and misses. But overall, it really was a great Flash conference. I also caught up with a lot of friends in T.O. . I’ll post some more stuff along the way. I just wanted to get this started.

I first attended the Papervision 3D workshop by Ralph Hauwert (http://www.unitzeroone.com) for a 1 day session. Usually, it is a 2 day session. So I agree that I would like to get an extra day’s worth of Papervision to get a better handle on the code. I also got to see his session on Flash 2D and 3D Effects which was a demonstration of his work with Papervision and some inspired creativity. Not only Ralph wanted to get into the creative aspects of Flash development, but my impressions from Grant Skinner and Robert Hodgin as well wanted to “Break Away” from the usual Flash Development side of things to the more creative realm of Flash. (I’d say that it is tempting for a Flash developer to raise his hands up and move over to the “Cool”-side of Flash development.)

Anyway, Papervision is cool but it is still in Beta development. I am not sure as to where its place would be once the Flash 10 comes out. (Flash 10 incorporates some forms of 3D like parallax scrolling.)

The Adobe Keynote wasn’t as breathtaking as what I saw from the videos from Adobe’s MAX 2007 event last October. I expected some variations on the development notably timeline tweening will be replaced by object tweening. (It is strikingly similar to ToonBoom Studio’s approach to tweening with “Pegs” which is their definition of tweening on steroids.) A lot of people were very impressed by the Inverse Kinematics.

The Saffron presentation by Samuel Agelias ([http://www.levelofindustry.com] a Chicago-based Flash / Flex Developer) was soooooo cool!. An AIR Application that is a UML tool that creates all the code on the fly.

Another thing that was way cool, the FDT Eclipse plugin. It supports all the Flex, and Flash coding; Type in a property that refers to an inexisting class, and FDT will insert it for you. I can’t say enough of this. It is an Actionscript coder’s dream. On the other hand (600 Euros = Approx $1200 CDN) is steep. But definitely worth taking a look.

DJ