Archive for October, 2006
In case you have not noticed the good times are back, at least here in the Bay Area. Web 2.0, GoogleTube and Tech Parties helped jump starting our micro economy. But even more important is the WVP-PL indicator, meaning the number of exotic cars in the Woodside Village Pub parking lot. The VP is Karen and my favorite restaurant South of San Francisco. We have been going there for five years, sometimes more often and then if the money is thight less often. On my last visit about a week ago the number of expensive cars in their parking lot reached an all time high… Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mercedes SL 65 AMG, Porsche 911 Turbo and finally even an Aston Martin with a “007” number plate. Let’s enjoy the good times while they last.
I am currently sitting in a session on “Building Dashboards with Flex”. Interesting stuff, but to many details for me. So here are more notes on the keynote session this morning.
Kevin is back to discuss how HTML, Flash and PDF come together on the client side, outside of the browser. Yes you have guessed it, time to talk about Apollo. Ed Rowe comes on stage to demonstrate the current status of Apollo. He describes Apollo as a cross OS runtime which enables developers to deliver Rich Internet Applications for the desktop by leveraging existing skill sets in web technologies.
He takes Shoâ€™s browser based Music Player and runs it outside the browser in Apollo. The application can read and write files from the local disk and pull album art from the internet via web services. The cross platform story is critical to Apollo. Ed switches over to a Mac and uses the same application with exactly the same code. Nice!
Here is a list of other key Apollo features:
– Local file access
– Online/offline detection
– Clipboard access
– Backgound windows
and many more…
Ed explained that there will be SDKs to develop Apollo applications similar to the current Flex SDK. Soon you will be able to sign up for Apollo SDK news on www.adobe.com/go/apollo.
Kevin comes back and shows some early Apollo applications. I was particular impressed by the Ebay client prototype which allows user to manage auctions. Some nice effects in there to browse auction item pictures and create pictures/videos on the fly with a webcam.
Another impressive example was a rich text editor and collaboration tool developed in Flex and deployed on Apollo. Other examples included a finance application for mortgage and loans, including PDF forms and an instant messenger for mySpace.
Wow I think I am just seeing the future of desktop applications.
Finally Kevin showed an Internet TV application developed by Adobe as a showcase for Apollo. It is driven by RSS and downloads videos to your desktop so you can watch them when you are offline. It takes advantage of the fullscreen video mode of the Flash Player 9 upgrade, also available on Adobe Labs.
I want it now!
However the biggest news was Adobe’s announcement to create an investment fund for $100 Mio. to invest in companies creating RIA’s and especially Apollo applications.
I am sitting here in a crowd of a couple of thousand people enjoying a special performance of the Blue Man Group. It is 8:40am in the morning in Las Vegas and I am at the opening session of the Adobe MAX conference. When I registered last night I got a good amount of conference schwag including the special MAXUP T-Shirt for presenting today in the MAXUP track. I also like the conference bag. Unlike the typical black bags which I tend to leave at the conference, this one is actually cool and I think I can re-use it as a diaper bag I will post a picture later.
Kevin Lynch kicks of the keynote and previews the upcoming Reader 8. Nice effects in there for previewing pages.
Now Shantanu takes over and talks about the Macromedia acquisition. A video of customers talking about their reaction when they learned about the acquisition highlights the excitement about this marriage. Shantanu talks about other milestones this year, including the launch of Flex 2 and Flash Player 9 as well as the announcement of Acrobat 8.
Kevin takes over and talks about Flash Player 9. Just during the last months the upgrade rate to the new player has been faster then for any previous Flash Player release. The Flash Player is really a ubiqutous virtual machine available cross-platform and cross browser. One factor for the dramatic adoption of the new Flash Player version is Flash video which has seen significant adoption over the last year from sites including MySpace, Yahoo, ABC and others. Kevin also mentions that there are now over 200,000,000 PDFs on the web.
Kevin switches gears now and brings a number of people on the stage to demo the improved Designer Developer workflows in upcoming Adobe products. It becomes very clear that Adobe is truly understanding customer needs here and a lot of the new integration features receive applause from the audience.
1st example: Designer developer workflow for HTML website development
– Start with Photoshop
– Add interactivity in Fireworks
– Finish and deploy with Dreamweaver
The website creation workflow starts often in Photoshop and not in Dreamweaver. The presenter highlights improvements in bringing up Photoshop files within Fireworks. He also demos the ability to load multiple Photoshop images into Fireworks and add common elements like a navigation layer on top of the images and then add interactivity to the navigation bar. The result can be saved as HTML. This is a great way to create quick mock-ups which you can share with end-users and clients for feedback. In the next step the project is being opened the in Dreamweaver. A highlight is the new way to copy and paste images from Photoshop to Dreamweaver, which kicks off a workflow which allows the designer to add important web properties like accessibility tags to the image.
Additionally Dreamweaver enables the developer to add AJAX features to the site with the Spry framework. Instead of coding, features like AJAX animations can be configured through wizards in Dreamweaver. The Spry Framework is posted on Adobe Labs.
2nd example: Flash Workflows with Dynamic Media
Again the process starts of in Photoshop. Some of the usability features of a future Photoshop release are being demonstrated. The demonstration on importing a Photoshop .psd file in Flash got a round of applause. The import keeps all layers intact. A lot of nice import features I do not understand, but audience seems to like it 😉 Next step is to use After Effects to apply engaging experiences to Flash. Sample shows how to use a brand new technology called “Puppet Tool” in After Effects and animate a character. Finally some more 3D animation features get added and the result is exported as Flash.
The team also demonstrated a brand new audio application (cannot remember the code name) for creating soundtracks and to incorporate audio into Flash which will be available this week on Adobe Labs.
3rd example: Designer Developer workflow with Flex
Sho Kuwamoto talks about Flex application skinning and using UI components designed with Illustrator in Flex.
He starts in Flex Builder and creates the basic application layout for an iTunes like application with multiple buttons for controlling the music and a datagrid for displaying the songs. In a future version of Illustrator the integration of symbol graphics will be better integrated with Flex. He exports the button images out of Illustrator as .swf. Then he imports the swfâ€™s in Flex and assigns them to the generic buttons using the â€œStyleâ€ functionality.
Switching from the designer to the developers perspective in Flex Builder, Sho now defines the Web Service connectivity for the application. He points out the ease of coding with MXML, code hinting and code highlighting. Sho creates the whole music player application in 10 minutesâ€¦ on a Mac! Yes, this is not a typo… Later this week Adobe will announce a public beta of Flex Builder for Mac. Cool! One more reason for me to switch to a MacBook.
Ben Forta enters the stage and shows new features in ColdFusion for back-end development and the Flex Builder integration with ColdFusion.
4th example: Electronic Document Workflow
Ben demonstrates PDF functions for electronic document workflow. He starts with a plain non-interactive PDF form document and imports it into the Adobe LiveCycle Designer. The new field recognition wizard in Designer 8 is impressive. Ben shows how to use the Designer to add more interactivity to the form, standard functionality available today. What is new is the cross-over between interactive PDF forms and Flex/Flash applications to interact with data. Seamless integration between a PDF version and a Flex version of the form is being worked on. He also shows the future Guide Designer in the LiveCycle Designer which supports the generation of Flex wizards based on XFA/PDF forms. A lot of exiting stuff which will bring the Flex and LiveCycle world closer together.
Need to catch my next session. More about the keynote later, including Apollo update and the $100,000,000 announcement.
I am sitting at the San Jose airport and waiting for my flight to Las Vegas. I actually just returned from the European SAP TechEd on Friday. It was a great event and we had a lot of Adobe related activities. I specifically enjoyed the SAP Developers Network day and showcasing Flex to SAP developers. Enrique Duvos, our European Flex evangelist, helped me with the sessions and I learned some more Flex Tips and Tricks. He also gave me a great presentation highlighting 10 reasons why one should use Flex to create Rich Internet Applications. I uploaded it on Slideshare, but the Adobe Myriad Pro Font got butchered in the process.
BTW Slideshare just opened to the public today (it is still in Beta), so try it out!
I also filmed some of the highlights of SDN day and SAP TechEd, but did not have a chance yet to edit and upload the video. The interest in Adobe technology was overwhelming and our booth was busy 8 hours a day. I had a good meeting with Eddy de Clercq. He created SDN World and we discussed how SDN World could be improved with Flex. I am hoping I can find a Flex engineer at MAX who is interested in this little side project. Talking about MAX, the Adobe customer conference… That’s the reason I am traveling again to Vegas (at least third time this year I think). I am very excited since this is my first MAX conference and people told me it is very energetic and lots of hands-on and ad-hoc techie stuff going on. I am particular interested in all session around Apollo (and obviously Flex). Even as an Adobe employee you sometimes learn more at a conference then back in the office. Next week I am having a workshop with SAP Research around Adobe technologies and MAX will be a good opportunity for me to get an overall update on interesting products and projects.
Also I am presenting at MAX. There will be an invitation only session (Wednesday 10:00 – 11:30am) for Adobe partners to learn more about the strategic partnership between Adobe and SAP and why this is relevant to the larger Adobe ecosystem. I am presenting together with Roman Bukary from SAP. If you are at MAX, work for an Adobe partner, but did not get an invitation please let me know and I will get you one.
I am also doing a cool Flex SAP mash-up demo as part of the MAXUP un-conference. Don’t know my time slot yet, but will update you later. It would be great to meet some readers of my Blog in person. Since I am Vegas regular, I know also a lot of good bars and restaurants
Need to get into the plane now…
Update: My 15 minute presentation slot at MAXUP (5th floor of the conference center) is tomorrow (10/24) at 11:30am.
While flying to Amsterdam I finally had a chance to play around with the new Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0. My first little project was a Book Arts Jam video. Since I work for Adobe I am obviously biased, but I have to say I was very impressed how easy to use the software is. I have had no previous experience with video editing software and yet it was very easy and fast to create this clip from my recordings, pictures and music.
So here it is. The Book Arts Jam video featuring a demo of the Letterpress printing process.
I visited today the Book Arts Jam at the Foothill College in Los Altos. It was great. A lot of interesting artists showing and selling book art.
Take for example Carolee and Jennie from Pod Post.
In the age of email they are demonstrating that paper, envelopes and USPS are cool.
Make sure to check out their website and buy some badges.
My favorite part of the show was the exhibition of letterpress printing machines. I used the opportunity to print my own custom Blog business cards. First step is to set the type.
Did you notice the word “blog” reads mirrored “gold”? Hmm, I leave the interpretation to the reader.
Next time I see Robert Scoble I need to give him one. OK, it is not as cool as Woz’s but it is unique.
With the increased popularity of my blog (yeah!) I see also an increase in spam
While most spam is boring, I thought this one is in a strange, uncomfortable way funny…
Hello My name Artur. I was burn in http://homeequityloans-br.blogspot.com . I have cat and dog. The dog name is Ask and the cat name is [url= http://homeequityloans-br.blogspot.com ] Pacha [/url] . The are end of my story. Good luck.
And remember I am German so I am allowed to have a strange sense of humor…. And Now We Dance…
I just learned today that there will be a shadow unconference called MAXUP as part of the Adobe MAX developer conference. That’s excellent! I find these events often more useful then the “real” conference program. The SDN Day as part of SAP TechEd was a good example. Even back in the 90’s when the term “unconference” did not exist I really enjoyed technology discussions and working on ad-hoc projects at hacker meetings like the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin.
If there are enough people who are interested I could talk about Flex integration with SAP and do some demos. Well, I hope to see you at MAXUP in Las Vegas (or next week at SDN Day and SAP TechEd in Amsterdam).
P.S.: Funny Fact – Adobe MAX will be my last conference for a while since I expect my first baby around mid of November. It is a boy and his name is Max… and no, this has nothing to do with the conference… What do you think? I am not that crazy… Well I am geeky enough however to have reserved his domain and put up a baby blog.
James Ward, an Adobe Flex evangelist, just posted a first report of his experience running Flex2 applications on the pre-beta Linux Flash player 9. Sounds very exciting and he even has a screenshot. Finally you will be able to write your Rich Internet Application once and run it consistently on Windows, Mac and Linux in IE, Firefox, Mozilla and Safari.
I have been working with JBoss on a Flex based collaboration client and the results have been stunning. Itâ€™s beautiful, extremely fast, and as soon as Flash Player 9 on Linux debuts it will work the same on any OS or browser, without any â€œif IEâ€ workarounds! When Apollo is available this will get even more interesting since we can take the same collaboration client application and run it offline, without the browser!