What can you say about 2M08? Its amazing how fast the conference has grown up in just a few years. Koen, Wouter and the rest of the team did an outstanding job and with the help of the sponsors made it an event that you can easily compare to many of the well known international industry events. One difference though, its completely free of charge. Sure its just one day but four different tracks and all those international speakers gave enough choice for anyone to find interesting sessions throughout the day.
Adobe Keynote Aral Balkan - "Ruling the Web" Peter Elst - "SQLite in Adobe AIR" Wim Vanhenden - "Having Fun with Flash and AIR" Stephanie Sullivan - "Design Challenges, Standards Solutions" Marco Casario - Flex with AJAX Serge Jespers - Up close and personal with the AIR API's 2M08 awardshow with Hoss Gifford
The day started out with a keynote by Serge Jespers and Jason Levine that showed some nice sneak peeks of products 'that may or may not be included in a product that may or may not be called CS4'. Its funny how protective Adobe is about using the term CS4, even during meetings under NDA that is a strict no-no. I guess the final decision hasn't been made yet in terms of marketing or there are some legal issues.
A lot of the sneak peeks were shown at other conferences, though probably not in as much detail. What stood out to me is the multi-track support in SoundBooth 'Next" (since then available on labs.adobe.com, along with Fireworks and Dreamweaver). Jason also showed a very cool feature in Premiere that does audio to text transcription, which can be used to help generate subtitles but they were more keen to position this as a means to generate metadata that stays with the files.
Aral is also a veteran of Multi-Mania, this year he was back to talk about "Ruling the Web". You have to admire the guy, have never sat in on one of his talks and not walked out inspired.
He didn't shy away from any controversy either, especially when it came to OO with ActionScript and the various MVC frameworks. He does have a point, just for the sake of proving ActionScript is 'all grown up' we embrace complexity and go to great lengths to mould it into something that it doesn't have to be.
I couldn't help but think of the good old ActionScript 1 days, don't get me wrong -- I love ActionScript 3.0 -- but at the same time we have to be careful not to throw away the dynamic nature of the language and make it another Java. As Aral rightly pointed out: "Even Java doesn't want to be like Java nowaways" ;)
For those of you that weren't able to attend, I recorded some 20 minutes of Aral's talk and have had his blessing to publish it here:
You can find my slides below, a lot of the example code and the SQLite wrapper classes I talked about are available in the "Introduction to SQLite in Adobe AIR" post I did a while back, the "AIR Badge Wordpress Plugin" is available here.
Note that slideshare doesn't seem to like Flash Player 10 beta, if you're having trouble seeing my presentation you can download the PDF for offline viewing.
I missed the first part of Wim's session while I was hanging out in the speakers lounge with Aral and Mario but came back just in time to see some amazing demo's of AIR leveraging Java to do some text to speech.
As usual a very entertaining session with some really inspirational demos!
We don't have Stephanie over in Belgium all that often so had to make sure I saw 'the first lady of CSS' in action. Its been years since I've really delved into CSS but the session definitely had some great tips and tricks that I'll want to try.
At the same time it was a reminder at why I started focusing on Flash and Flex development, cross browser issues must be a pain to deal with on a daily basis.
We were shown some really good tips tips and tricks on how to combine Flex and AJAX functionality to create things like the Google Finance example that often gets shown.
I recorded a few minutes of his session introduction that you might want to see.
When I went to see Serge present his session on AIR API's I got some weird looks . Admittedly I already know quite a bit about the subject but don't want to miss out on an opportunity to see him present.
I really liked the session, it was sort of a mix of the talk Lee Brimelow's did on the on AIR tour interspersed with several wacky experiments like 'the worlds smallest video player'.
He closed off by showing some insane experiment Ralph Hauwert had been working on and involved realtime position tracking of a Papervision3D object overlayed on a video. I don't even want to think about the maths involved in that one.
After that I went to hang out in the speakers lounge again with Serge, Ralph and Marco. It was really great seeing all of the guys again. Before the awardshow the speakers and sponsors (a couple of mere mortals slipped through the net as well) went to eat at Sakura, an excellent Japanese restaurant. I'm sure there are some compromising photos of us floating around on the interweb somewhere.
They had the stand up comedian Gunter Lamoot present the awardshow this year which was pretty hilarious at times. Didn't have 'jury duty' this year so saw a lot of the projects with fresh eyes and can honestly say that there's some real talent out there.
Hoss Gifford was excellent as usual, saw most of his talk at various other conferences but his presentation style never gets boring. If you get the opportunity to see him speak, don't miss it!
After the awardshow we had a party sponsored by Boulevart which went on into the early hours. No better way to close an excellent conference!