This has been an interesting year for the Adobe developer community. We’ve seen public betas of the next generation of Flash Builder, Flash Catalyst, and watched the birth of a large open source project at Adobe in the form of the Flex SDK. We’ve also seen the beginning of developer services like Adobe Flash Collaboration Service and a public beta of ColdFusion that includes lots of Flex/AIR integration goodness, and we heard a lot of talk about mobile devices and Flash. And that’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about RIAdventure. Getting a bunch of smart, passionate, RIA minds in the room is a great way to set the stage for next year.
One of the things that’s nice about RIAdventure is that it comes after MAX so we’ll not only have a whole bunch of new stuff to talk about, but we’ll also be able to reflect on the entire year while discussing what’s coming up in the future.
My primary complaint of the Flash/Flex community is that there isn’t enough higher level thinking. With two powerhouses like Microsoft and Adobe in the space and a number of smaller, more nimble, and passionate startups, there’s a lot of different ideas about what RIAs are or should be. Throw in the open web initiatives with HTML5, and CSS3 and it really hasn’t been a better time to be building applications on the web. What does that mean for the Adobe developer community? What do you like about what we’re doing, what do you hate about it? The focus this year has been on mobile devices, and that’s extremely important. But it also means that the next phase of what I’ll call “core innovation” is coming up. What does ActionScript 4 look like? What direction do our tools move in? How should we evolve the Flex Framework? These are both geeky, nitty gritty questions as well as larger philosophical questions.
To me, there is no better group than the one we have and no better place to disconnect and think about larger issues concerning Flash Platform developers. We’re not going to have all of the answers, but I think RIAdventure is going to be an ideal venue in which to make your voice heard, hear what others want to see, and make your own opinions known. Oh, and have a crap-ton of fun while you’re at it.
As some people saw (and commented way too much on) Adobe was on break last week. Some people did construction work and some of us did less productive but more relaxing things. We’ve got 4 of these scheduled, so there are 2 down and 2 more to go. At first I was bummed at having a “forced” vacation but it turns out that having everyone at the company gone is a great way to really disconnect. My email load was way down and I took the week to myself. I ended up doing some hiking and climbing Mt. Hood for my second mountaineering trip of the summer (hopefully Baker and Sahale later). It was a great week and if you’re waiting for an email from me, I apologize. I’m getting up to speed this week but may still be a bit slow. Below are a couple of videos from the Hood trip. If any of you are in Seattle and want to go for a hike or a trip, make sure to let me know you’re in town. I’m happy to drive and tag along.
The best part of my job isn’t the travel, getting to talk to developers, or even drinking many different kinds of beer. It’s that I get to work with people doing some really fun stuff…….(well maybe that’s second to the beer). And this week they seem to have been on a roll so I wanted to share some things.
I had a monster swing last week jumping from place to place and because of the way the conferences were set up, I only had one day in two weekends as a break. Luckily the Adobe community is awesome and after I was in Vegas for MIX and presented to the Las Vegas Adobe User group, a bunch of them took me up to Zion National Park for some hiking. There’s nothing better than the Adobe community. Thanks to Renaun and John for setting everything up.
As an Adobe employee, though a big supporter of Flash, I also wish we did more to encourage and foster the open web. The problem is that the standards process is completely broken. You simply can’t innovate that way and it looks like the browser vendors themselves are at the point where they’re pushing their own various priorities and standards so they don’t get left behind. The unfortunate thing is that the standards are what really make the open web open. Sure, you can open source something and claim it’s open, but it’s the standards that give everyone a reference implementation. It’s the standards that aim to level the playing field and make developers lives easier. It’s the standards that keep the open web open.
Probably a hilarious thought coming from a guy who makes his living off of Flash, but I’ve always been of the opinion that we as a company should roll our innovations back into the HTML world. The problem is that even if we did that, we’d have to work within the constraints of the committees, so the open web would always lag behind Flash and in some cases possibly never adopt the better parts of the platform. To me, that’s fine, Flash will always have a place on the web, and Adobe makes some great tools for open web designers and developers. I always thought it was win-win.
So it’s unfortunate to see that even the browser vendors have given up on moving the open web forward through standards. Whether it’s the WHATWG versus the W3C or the trials and tribulations of actually implementing HTML5, things are very broken and everyone is moving on regardless. I don’t blame any of them, but it doesn’t seem like it’s good for web developers.
Are you planning on going to MIX? Then why not get Microsoft to pay for it? They’re running a fun contest that is looking for the coolest Silverlight or WPF application that you can create in 10k – and that includes image assets, so you can’t be crazy with the bitmaps.
The winner gets an all expensed paid trip to Vegas for MIX09, AND they get a $1500 Visa gift card so they can take all of their friends out to dinner. Do they let you cash in those gift cards in the casino? There’s also a community winner which will receive a $1500 gift card and three runners-up get $500 clams each.
But the best part, and the reason I’m blogging about it, is that I get to be a judge. So if you’re doing Silverlight work, and are planning on going to MIX, this is a great way to get there. And I’ll help!
Simeon and I (mostly him) have been doing some work on our gpxas3 library, which lets you read and write GPX files from GPS devices. I haven’t really talked about it at all but I’m starting to use it in some of my demo projects and Simeon just checked in some changes to the trunk so I thought I’d do a quick blog post.
The library supports both GPX 1.1 and GPX 1.0 and has support for synchronous parsing of files as well as asynchronous parsing. I’m pretty sure most of the GPX generator code works but I haven’t tested it recently so there may be some bugs. On the todo list is to clean it up so I can generate decent ASDocs for it and get extensions ironed out.
I moved servers recently over to Media Temple. Everything seemed to go smoothly, I still get email, my blog seems to work, and I think mostly everyone is seeing the new version. Except for the internet. My Feedburner feed is getting updated content but that updated feed doesn’t appear to be updating any of the various aggregator services out there. Feeds.Adobe doesn’t show any updated posts for me, after October 23rd,FriendFeed isn’t getting new posts, and Technorati isn’t seeing anything new either.
All of those services should be updating but they aren’t. If anyone has any ideas on why, I’d love to hear them.
Congrats to Dion and Ben on their move to Mozilla. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Dion more over the past year in my role at Adobe and he’s one of the best out there. He and Ben make a pretty awesome tag team.
So what are they working on? Developer tools, something that is close to Adobe’s heart and important for the web. But what I’m most excited about is how this will help evolve Adobe and Mozilla’s relationship. I think Mozilla is a fascinating organization and that in a lot of ways, because we’re both so close to the web, Adobe and Mozilla have a lot in common. Our methods and incentives are different, but I think for the most part our goals are the same. We both want to evolve the web as a platform and improve the lives of web developers. Adobe uses Flash as the engine to do that (along with Ajax in Adobe AIR) but I think more cooperation between Mozilla and Adobe could go a long way towards helping both Flash and Ajax.
Good times for web developers are ahead me thinks.
Also, I’m pretty sure I’m going to look like a leprous raccoon for my presentation on Wednesday. I got really, really sunburned while I was wearing my sunglasses so I look ridiculous and it’s probably going to be peeling when I present. Apologies in advance.
I’m hoping to grab a bunch of videos of various Flex developers who are doing cool stuff at 360Flex so if you want to show of what you’re up to, send me an email at my shiny new Adobe email address – firstname.lastname@example.org.