Adobe MAX Europe: Day 2

Yesterday was more of a regular feeling of satisfaction and happiness to discover. Today there were more peeks in my humor, from low “boooo” moments to great “aha” times. But overall, I’m starting to see the big picture of where Adobe is heading and it looks really cool. The last thing they miss to become my #1 favourite tech company is a Steve-Jobs-like charismatic presenter… although I gotta say this morning’s keynote was pretty well assembled. But I’m anticipating here. Let’s go back to the beginning of the day.

AIR bootcamp, without boots

…because you don’t need boots to fly over a subject, do you? Some might say that this AIR bootcamp actually missed some AIR as well but… hey! I just did!

OK, I know that when you’re a lab teacher, it is tempting to do everything you can to see this glow of surprise and astonishment in people’s eyes, but come on! Those small Hello World hands-on projects to show off features like the Camera integration or WSDL-based service stub generation! I can’t believe that someone or a company is willing to pay around 2k€ for sending a guy to cover an event such as MAX for that kind of noob content. I mean, I’m motivated by achievement, that’s what makes me get up in the morning and I guess I’m not the only one in Milan right now. So I’m talking to Duane Nichols here: next time, why not a real project that focuses on AIR features and integrates them in a meaningful sample project?

The Keynote

Definitely my favourite moment of the day. It’s hard to describe but Tim Buntel and Ben Forta played it Men-In-Black style to demonstrate some of the upcoming features in CS4, Flash Catalyst, Flex Builder Gumbo and Adobe Alchemy. I can’t remember all of the details but there were definitely a lot of “wow” moments and the feeling of seemless integration that you can get from that is… warming! I can’t wait to see the kind of applications we’ll be able to build with CS4, FC and Gumbo. But wait, I don’t need to wait, because I’ve got trial versions! Woohoo! Okay, FC and Gumbo are still early pre-alpha releases but still, I’m definitely going to play with them.

Low afternoon

After another great lunch (the waiting line is definitely worth it), my afternoon started with 2 rather disappointing labs. The first one was the second part of AIR bootcamp so I won’t go into more details. The second one was about building Collaborative Applications with LiveCycle Data Services. This time, the problem was not about the number of samples, but the fact that we didn’t even created any project. We spent almost 15 minutes copying files from place to place to get the configuration in place, and then we basically filled in the holes. Once again, no achievement whatsoever, and no global understanding of how this all works. But I can’t say I’m surprised: I had the same frustration with the official BlazeDS tutorial, which is why I wrote my “full stack” article. By the way, I think one of the reasons why it’s so hard to start a BlazeDS-based project from scratch is the amount of configuration to write. Maybe a couple of advanced editors in Flex Builder would help…

And last but not least…

The much anticipated and not disappointing at all… Sneak Peeks session. Okay, there were the MAX awards before, but when I saw one of the winner was presented as a Flash Lite application for the iPhone! Flash… iPhone… wait a second! f… t… STACK OVERFLOW, rebooting now!

I won’t go into details into each of the technologies demonstrated, I’ll just list them:

  • Client
    • Application-level multicast, or what you could see as P2P multicasting (sorry, I didn’t find any links about that one)
    • Nitro, a portable widget platform with a seemless integration across devices
    • Durango, a mashup builder for dummies
  • Services
    • Meer Meer, a service to do cross-browser testing with Dreamweaver
    • Integration of LiveCycle DS with CS4 (sorry, no link either)
    • Server-side ActionScript, by far what I was the most interested in (Java, watch out!)
  • Tools
    • Content intelligence toolkit, a very interesting video and sound analysis technology
    • Infinite images (inifinite zoom): at first I thought it was just a port of the Silverlight infinite zoom that created so much buzz last year, but it was much more impressive than that
    • Dreamweaver support for web widgets
    • Next-generation image compositing, impressive stuff, possible future features for Photoshop

Now I’m just exhausted. A good night of sleep and tomorrow is already the last conference day. To be followed…

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