Surely more than enough has been said and written about the misadventures of Adobe PR back in November, yet there is still one unresolved pain point that has not been addressed - where is Shantanu Narayen in this whole story? Throughout Adobe's restructuring and announcements around its new focus, the one person missing in action has been its CEO. In fact, so conspicuously absent, that just about the only related public statement we have seen from him since is a single blog post (conveniently closed for comments) where he not even acknowledges the disruption caused to the community.

Its obvious though Adobe is scrambling to get the right messaging across, unfortunately though for a lot of us the damage has been done and we're left to pick up the pieces. Many long time Adobe employees are now either laid off or in the firing line of a largely disgruntled user community.

Disgruntled, not because of Adobe's plans, but their public messaging and clear lack of leadership. There are a great many Flash Platform developers both on desktop with the Flash Player and mobile through AIR who's primary occupation now is convincing clients about the viability of their technology rather than doing actual coding.

For all intents and purposes Flash is alive and kicking, though admittedly its scope and use cases will change over time as web standards mature and allow us to reach as wide an audience. AIR development on desktop and mobile remains a compelling cross platform solution for rapid application development.

 
Fast-forward to today, for several days people were asked to submit questions on Twitter using the hashtag #askShantanu to be answered during the keynote of the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit by the CEO himself. The hashtag in question makes for good reading material, as does the distinct lack of actual questions submitted. Another sign of increasing apathy around everything Adobe?

Needless to say, my widely retweeted question was left unanswered:

"with respect, do you feel you've taken enough personal responsibility around the massive communication failure in November? #askShantanu"

 

So I'll ask it here again, along with a call to action - if you think this question deserves an answer, I'd like you to post the following to whatever blog or social network you're active on:

"Shantanu, where are you? #Adobe"

 
It is in my opinion time for Adobe as a company to clean up its mess and move on, but to do so it needs to come to terms with the present situation and acknowledge its failures. If nothing else, I expect from a CEO to be willing to step up and defend his position.

This is my question, this is your opportunity Shantanu.

Posted
AuthorPeter
CategoriesCommunity
6 CommentsPost a comment

[update] There is now some more solid information on the future direction of Flex available here.
 
We're a week after Adobe's shocking announcements around its future vision of the Flash Platform - time to get some perspective and see what exactly has happened.

Unfortunately on a number of topics we're no closer to having real answers but this is my personal take and summary of what is publicly announced:
 
Flash Player for mobile (e.g. on Android) will not be further developed nor receive any further updates after version 11.1 (which was made available earlier this week) apart from critical bug fixes and security updates.

The Flash Player is still available for download and existing SWF content is supported, at some point in the future SWF content targeting new features will likely no longer work on mobile browsers. There has been talk about Adobe allowing OEMs to license Flash Player and do their own implementation, something which RIM reportedly wants to do for their PlayBook and upcoming QNX based devices (lets hope for more willing OEM partners to do their own Flash Player porting).

Adobe will invest further in AIR to package applications to mobile across devices, the recent acquisition of Nitobi and the involvement in the PhoneGap project also fits into this picture.

Unclear to me is if Flash Player 11.1+ content will be supported in AIR for Android and other devices. I don't see how that would work if they don't want to continue to port newer versions of the Flash Player - unless they take a strategy like on iOS where the runtime gets cross compiled to native binaries for each platform.
 
The Flash Professional engineering team has had a number of layoffs, though the product is still under development.

Product management is located in the US but the development is being outsourced to India. The next release of Flash Professional will have a feature to export to HTML5. If its anything like Wallaby or Google's Swiffy project, ActionScript support - if any at all - will be very limited.

My own personal take on this is that its only a feasible proposition if Javascript support is introduced as a scripting "dialect".

http://www.mikechambers.com/blog/2011/11/10/flash-professional-and-the-future/

 
The Flex SDK is going to get donated to an open source foundation and the Spoon project and Adobe (unclear how active and to what extent) will be involved in shaping its future.

The blog post announcing this however goes on to mention that HTML5 and web standards will be the best long term strategy - which undermines their case for continued support of the framework.
 
Flash Builder will still be developed and reportedly some Flash Catalyst features will merge into that product. The Falcon compiler project is still being worked on.

That seems like a pretty sensible move to me, imagine that at some point soon HTML5 will also become an export format here too.
 
LiveCycle and Acrobat Connect are being "wound down" - best guidance I've found on it is that they're cutting investment on it, though continue to support it for existing clients in the government and the enterprise financial services market.

http://www.underprise.com/2011/11/11/the-future-of-adobe-livecycle/

 
I am still baffled at what Adobe was thinking in the way they communicated these changes. Clearly serious mistakes were made and I'm already seeing consequences everywhere.

Flash Player on desktop technically has a bright future ahead for gaming in particular, the issue here is if the actions of last week have not undermined Adobe's credibility to such a point that nobody is willing to invest. After all, they've now proven that the very thing you've been working on for months or years can be pulled out from under you at any point in time.

Most shockingly is still how MAX attendees were misled - thousands of people paying thousands of dollars to make it out to an event that claims to give them insight into the roadmap at Adobe. It is now also clear that Adobe employees did not know about these upcoming changes until the day itself, so this is no criticism on their part.

 
I still strongly stand behind my call for a leadership change at Adobe. Spending billions of dollars over the years on developing a mobile platform to then abandon it without any advance guidance or clear transition path to your user base is inexcusable. The enterprise Flex market is one few that actually prefers proprietary solutions, they want a strong company backing the technology they use and a roadmap they can trust on.

We'll see how these decisions play out, the move towards web standards can proof to be a good one in the long run but the more critical problem is restoring confidence in Adobe.
 

Posted
AuthorPeter

 

This was my fifth year attending Adobe MAX, always a great event to catch up on the latest developments when it comes to web and creative tooling. Its also an opportunity to see many friends, fellow enthusiasts in the community who we usually only get to talk to over email or social networks.

This year was somehow different and looking back I think it could very well be the edition where a new course was chartered for the Flash Platform.

 

Some argue that the keynotes were more marketing than substance, which I agree with to a certain extent. What stood out more to me were the opening remarks by Danny Winokur - VP of Flash Client Platform - for the first time clearly positioning Flash and HTML5 in the Adobe realm and reaffirming the commitment to supporting standards and providing the best tools regardless of the technology.

 

A lot of the drama of previous years has settled down, though there was still an undertone of discomfort with some on how to adapt to this brave new world and how it affects everyone individually. I think a lot of the unhappy comments I've seen are based more on a latent fear than any objective concerns. Being Switzerland is tough but the neutral, platform agnostic approach has always been part of Adobe's DNA.

Using the Flash Platform to innovate and actively work to get those innovations subsequently adopted back into web standards is a great approach that I fully support. It not only allows innovation on the web to happen at a much faster pace, it also ensures there is always a fallback mechanism when native browser support falls short.

 

CSS regions, exclusions and shaders (which was particularly impressive) are great examples of how Adobe can help drive innovation on the web standards side. The acquisition of Typekit and Nitobi (and as such closer ties to PhoneGap) help solidify this and I'm convinced it wil make open source and web standards even more of a cornerstone in what the company does.

On the Flash runtime side we have some great enhancements with native extensions, GPU acceleration, Stage3D,... gaming and mobile being on the forefront but not exclusively what is being focussed on.

 

The last day of the conference brought us the sad news of Steve Jobs passing away. Its fair to say the relationship with Apple has been strained over the last few years and the "Thoughts on Flash" letter did not help ease the tension. While I still fundamentally disagree with many of the points outlined in the letter, it certainly did stir things up, forced us to do some introspection. There is much stronger commitment from various partners in adopting HTML5 and web standards which in turn caused a need for the Flash Player to start further innovating.

 

Unlike how tech journalists and enthusiasts on both sides like to portray the situation, things are rarely black or white - HTML5 and Flash are not mutually exclusive and in fact in many cases complementary - something I've come to appreciate more in my new day job at Google.

I for one am very excited about where things are going and seeing a new drive for innovation in the Flash Platform. The engineers are doing an outstanding job considering the advanced new features being worked on and the moving target of new devices that need to be supported

 

The sneaks, MAX bash and the community summit on Sunday really made the event for me - special thanks to Rachel, Aaron, John and Liz for their hard work and continued support.

 

Bring on Adobe MAX 2012!

 

Posted
AuthorPeter

Last week of the year 2010, no better time to look back at what happened this year in the world of Flash and related technologies and my own community involvement.

The year in review

 

  • February - Adobe Photoshop 20th anniversary
  • April 8th - Apple's section 3.3.1 bans cross-compiled apps for iOS
  • April 30th - Adobe Creative Suite 5 shipping
  • April 12th - Flash Catalyst CS5 released
  • May 19th - HTML5 extension for Dreamweaver CS5
  • June 10th - AIR 2.0 released
  • June 22nd - Flash Player 10.1 for mobile released
  • July - Josh James, former CEO of Omniture leaves Adobe
  • September 9th - Apple revokes ban on cross-compiled apps for iOS
  • September 13th - HTML5 pack for Illustrator
  • October - Ted Patrick leaves Adobe
  • October 25th - Adobe AIR 2.5 for Android released
  • October 25-26th - Adobe MAX device giveaway extravaganza
  • December - Evangelism team with focus on Flash gaming announced
  • December 20th - Adobe reports its first billion dollar quarter

Memorable quotes

 

"Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind." - Steve Jobs, Apple CEO

"Let the games begin [...] When you change the world with what you deliver, you'll have fans and supporters -- and you'll have your detractors. We have to continue to innovate, and we will." - Shantanu Narayan, Adobe CEO

"It turns out on the Internet, people use Flash" - Vic Gundotra, Google

"Anyone who's not giving you Flash on the mobile device is not giving you the internet" - Christy Wyatt, Motorola

"I love phyllo dough!" - Kevin Lynch, Adobe CTO to Martha Stewart

Speaking engagements

 
For 2010 I decided to cut down on the number of speaking engagements and think I managed to find a good balance with an average of one event every two months.

These are the events I presented at this year:

  • Flex@Beach - Chennai
  • Flash Israel - Tel Aviv
  • Flash and the City - New York
  • Flash on the Beach - Brighton
  • Adobe MAX - Los Angeles
  • Flash Camp Chennai - Chennai

Technical review and authoring

 
I did technical review for three books this year, two of which are already published:

  • Getting StartED with CSS - David Powers
  • Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst: The New Workflow - Steven Peeters
  • High Performance Flash - Elad Elrom

Recently I also took on another book project on HTML5 to co-author:

  • HTML5 Solutions - Marco Casario, Charles Brown, Nathalie Wormser

 
In other news I was excited to see the ColdFusion User Group Belgium get set up by my friends Cyril Hanquez and Steven Peeters. Together with my colleague Nathalie Wormser we also set up the Pondicherry Adobe User Group over in India.

Project Cocoon celebrated its first year of business, a few months back we finally managed to get through the last bits of paperwork and have big plans for 2011, including moving office in February. There's going to be a stronger focus on designing and developing for mobile devices and have done some promising research on digital publishing solutions for tablets.

In 2011 I expect to be getting my hands dirty and delving more into HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, native Android development and hopefully try WP7 as a mobile platform as well. Seb Lee-Delisle's "What the Flux?!" session at Flash on the Beach was a definite catalyst for this, despite me still being one of the most avid Flash Platform supporters around.
 
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my friends, colleagues and followers for their support in 2010 and wish you all the best for 2011!
 

Posted
AuthorPeter
CategoriesCommunity
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This years Adobe MAX conference is fast approaching, end of next week myself and Nathalie Wormser of the Project Cocoon team will be traveling to Los Angeles. Its been a long time since I've been this excited about the topic I'll be talking about. If you haven't tried P2P with Flash Player 10.1 yet, this is your chance to learn how to use it. In our session we'll talk about how to do device discovery on the local network, send data between mobile to desktop applications, use mobile specific APIs like the accelerometer etc. to have those control desktop applications, games -- all this without requiring a connection to a server.

After the conference I'll be blogging about this a lot more, but if you're there feel free to register for our session.

Looking at the MAX session schedule there are some themes that jump out: Flash Player and AIR for mobile and television, new 3D features for Flash Player and HTML5 with Dreamweaver. Of those things the one I didn't expect to break through was Flash Player for television (presumably we're talking Google TV to start with). I'm sure Adobe has a couple of other surprises up their sleeves as they usually do.

Here is a look at the sessions I registered for:

Monday, October 25, 2010

9:30 am - 11:30 am General Session: Welcome to the Revolution Nokia Theatre, L.A. Live 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Deep Dive into Flash Player Rendering 512 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Flash Platform for TV: A New Ecosystem 513 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm How to Build Adobe AIR Apps for the iPhone and Android 514 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Meet the Teams Los Angeles Convention Center

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

8:30 am - 9:30 am Developer Tips for Building Great Games using AIR for Android 515B 10:00 am - 12:00 pm General Session: User Experience: The Next Generation Nokia Theatre, L.A. Live 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm jQuery: A Web Designer's Secret Sauce 515B 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm Building P2P Multiplayer Games 515B 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm Flash Player 3D Future 511A 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Sneak Peeks Nokia Theatre, L.A. Live

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

9:30 am - 10:30 am Mobile Devices as Application Controllers 504 11:00 am - 12:00 pm Programming HTML5 Canvas 510 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm Developing Your First AIR for TV Application 409B

 
On the 24th we'll also have our Community Summit event with all the Adobe User Group Managers and Adobe Community Professionals. Thats always a great day and nice to meet up with everyone again.

Hope to see you in LA!

Posted
AuthorPeter

Embrace your inner geek! I'm happy to announce together with Luca Mezzalira we're starting a new community initiative called "Flash Platform Geeks". In the next few weeks and at upcoming conferences you'll learn a lot more about what we're up to and how you can get involved. In the meanwhile why don't you follow our twitter account or join the Facebook group.

www.flashplatformgeeks.com
 
Be sure to stay tuned!
 

Posted
AuthorPeter

I was happy to hear Adobe is organizing a huge two day conference in Bangalore, India on August 25th and 26th. The Adobe Flash Platform Summit will no doubt be the place to be if you want to learn about their latest technologies and network with other industry professionals. The first day will cover mostly development and the second day is targeted at designers. I've been lucky enough to speak at both the Adobe DevSummit and Flex@Beach in Chennai and I look forward to being at this event as well representing our small web agency, Project Cocoon.

Now for the even better news, I have some discount codes I can give away to people interested to attend that give you almost 70% off on the ticket price. If you are interested and want to get one, just leave a comment on this post with your thoughts on the future of the Flash Platform. What features would you like to see supported? How do you see the technology being adopted in India? Are there any obstacles to overcome?

The three most creative entries also get a book of their choice thanks to Friends of ED. Winners will be contacted on Thursday evening IST, so please leave a valid email address. If there are more entries than I have available discount codes the winners will be randomly chosen.

 
Hope to see you in Bangalore this August!

Posted
AuthorPeter
8 CommentsPost a comment

I'm very excited to have been invited to speak at Flash Israel in Tel Aviv later this month. The event is organized by the Flash and Flex Israel User Group and supported by a number of generous sponsors. It looks like a great lineup of speakers including Mihai Corlan of Adobe, Hillel Coren and Almog Koren and an event not to be missed! My session will be part of an Adobe AIR 2,0 deep dive with Almog where I'll cover how to start using the new features to create cross-platform desktop applications through various examples.

There are less than a handful of tickets still available so if you want be there you need to hurry to register!
 
It'll be my first visit to Israel so looking forward to seeing some of the country during my few days there. If anyone wants to meet up while I'm over feel free to get in touch!
 

Posted
AuthorPeter

It was the first time I've made it out to an Adobe User Group Belgium meeting since their relaunch and have to say I was very impressed. We had a fantastic venue in Antwerp and several speakers from Adobe to show off the latest features in Creative Suite 5 that was just shown to the public the day before. The video introduction done for the Belgian user Group by Johnny Loiacono, Adobe's Senior Vice President of the Creative Solutions Business Unit, was a nice way to kick start the evening.

On a personal note I'm very impressed where they've taken it since the humble beginnings of the Macromedia User Group with Serge Jespers and myself. I for one would never have guessed that we'd end up doing regular events of this scale, their ambitious goals are definitely becoming a reality.

I'm happy to see a real community resurgence around Adobe products and technologies, another testament of which was the recent launch of the ColdFusion User Group Belgium.

The next meeting is on April 29th covering Rich Internet Applications and will include among other things a session on LiveCycle ES2 Mosaic and a Flex framework panel discussion (the event will be in English).
 
Find out more here: www.adobeusergroup.be
 

Posted
AuthorPeter
Flash and the City banner

The first edition of the Flash and the City conference is 34 days away and thought I'd post a list of sessions I'm planning to attend.

Friday, May 14th Adobe Keynote Ryan Stewart - Geolocation and Mapping with the Flash Platform Ben Stucki - Reflex: The Future of Rich Internet Applications Jeff Tapper - Flex 4 for Flex 3 Developers Jesse Freeman & Jobe Makar - Real World Optimization Carl Sorvino - Chasing the Muse – Inspiration and Creativity Lisa Larson-Kelly - FMS:S Streaming and Beyond!

Saturday, May 15th Kevin Hoyt - Flex + Phidgets = Beer Branden Hall - HYPE: Combining Creativity & Code Chad Udell - Hacking Robots for Fun and Profit Joel Hooks - Robotlegs in the Real World Kevin Schmidt - CFaaS-ColdFusion as a Service Session Panel: Devices with Flash Jesse Warden - Gaia Flash Framework Christian Saylor - The Art of Storytelling

Sunday, May 16th Seb Lee-Delisie - Space Invaders Phillip Kerman - Thinking in ActionScript Simeon Bateman - Getting Git Stacey Mulcahy - Developing for the Social Media Douchebag Wade Arnold - The Web’s Shortest path from A-Z is PHP Jeffry Houser - Flex Components in the Real World Duane Nickull - SEO Secrets, Technology, and Magic Behind Flash
 
Seriously, how cool is that lineup? Its not too late to join the party, at only $299 (or $249 for students) until May 7th and it includes a New York cruise and dinner and access to numerous activities in the city track. There's also a great series of workshops on May 13th you can register for.

Also, don't forget to nominate people for the Flash and the City awards! Be sure to leave a comment if you're planning to attend.
 

Posted
AuthorPeter

Yesterday evening was the launch event of the ColdFusion User Group Belgium, a community initiative led by Steven Peeters and Cyril Hanquez, at the Adobe offices in Brussels. I did not know what to expect since ColdFusion users in Belgium were never very outspoken about their favorite technology and it almost seemed like interest was dying out. Nonetheless there was a really good turnout and lots of ideas shared for topics to cover in upcoming meetings.

There were interesting presentations by Marta Gal about "XML import/export with ColdFusion" and Claude Englebert on ColdFusion Builder followed by Q&A and some networking between the attendees.

The next meeting is scheduled for May 26th (right after Scotch on the Rocks) with speakers including Ben Nadel and Ray Camden as well as several members of the ColdFusion team. Not to be missed!
 

Posted
AuthorPeter

Yesterday, myself and two colleagues from Project Cocoon made it out to Chennai for Flex@Beach. I did not really know what to expect from the event but was happily surprised about the turnout and excitement around Flex and Flash Platform technology in general. There was a lot of focus on frameworks and architecture as well as some technology demo's and a bit of talk on methodologies. I think you couldn't do a much better session lineup than this for a developer crowd.

Parsley Introduction - Chandra Deepan Mate Introduction - Devaraj AS3Signals - Peter Elst FLAR demo application - Senthil Kumar AIR 2.0 Features and Demo - Ganesh Gandhi Flex 4 Spark Framework - Alaguvel Flash Catalyst Workflow - Michaël Chaize Scrum Agile Methodology - Sakthivel Robotlegs Introduction - Devaraj WebORB .NET & Flex Integration Away3D Introduction - Iyswarya

I particularly liked the short Away3D session by Iyswarya that closed the day and hope she can do a more in depth one next time. Since doing the Away3D workshop in Frankfurt last year I've been very interested in using it more for production work and think I will pick it up again very soon.

Compared to the other talks my AS3Signals session was quite lightweight but it seemed to be well received and its nice to see lots of people excited about the idea of using it in their projects.

As promised here are my slides for the presentation:


 
The closing remarks by Philippe Moreau from Adam's Studio India were also representative of a lot of the things I heard from people there. The interest in Flex and Flash Platform technology is picking up at a fast pace in Chennai and they would really like to see more involvement from Adobe in the area.

Ideas such as having an authorized training center and virtual teams for collaborating on projects got brought up and really resonated with people. I think we're seeing the beginnings of a grass roots movement here, the mood was almost revolutionary. In the coming weeks we at Project Cocoon will also evaluate and see how we can help out to make the ecosystem grow.
 

Posted
AuthorPeter
6 CommentsPost a comment

Today one of Adobe's community programs previously known as "Adobe Community Experts" got rebranded to "Adobe Community Professionals". This was long needed to avoid naming conflicts with other people using the ACE acronym such as the "Adobe Certified Experts". I'm also glad to report I've been renewed for another term in this program. If you count the years at Macromedia this is now my 8th term, first as a Team Macromedia volunteer, then Adobe Community Expert and now Adobe Community Professional.

Still every year its an anxious wait to see if you've made the cut -- thanks to Adobe and the community team in particular for their vote of confidence!
 

 

Posted
AuthorPeter
CategoriesCommunity
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With just a few days left in 2009, I wanted to post some moments this year that stuck with me:

 
The annual tradition of complaining about Adobe MAX not paying speaker expenses of non-Adobe employees can now be put to rest, flight and hotel accommodation were covered and it turned out to be a fantastic event. Looking forward to heading to Los Angeles again next year for more Adobe goodness (and no doubt another trip to Universal Studios Hollywood).

Its been a difficult year for many, another 600 layoffs at Adobe this November - we've sadly lost the wonderful Stacy Sison of the community programs, evangelist extraordinaire Rufus Deuchler and several others.

For me personally I spent half a year teaching first year Devine students at the Technical University College of West-Flanders, was invited to speak at 5 conferences, presented 3 Flex/ActionScript workshops, did technical review on 2 books, attended a TED conference and have set up Project Cocoon Multimedia in Pondicherry, India with two good friends and fellow freelancers.

This next year I'm planning to spend both in India and back home in Belgium. I'll be focusing on training and consultancy and building out our activities with Project Cocoon. You'll no doubt still see me around at various conferences but plan on cutting down on my speaking engagements.
 
Wishing you all a fantastic 2010!
 

Posted
AuthorPeter
2 CommentsPost a comment

I was very happy to be invited to speak again at this second edition of The ActionScript Conference in Singapore. This year they even made it a two day event at an amazing venue overlooking Marina Bay. I have some video recorded that I'll upload soon. Shunjie and the rest of the team do an amazing job getting this all set up and they're a great bunch to hang out with.

Some personal highlights of the conference were the talks by Alvin Zhang and Lionel Low. Alvin showed some great multi-touch demo's on a touch table he built himself using the Diffused Surface Illumination technique (involves among other things a projector, PlayStation 3 camera and a diffusor). Lionel talked about "Warpspeed Flash" and highlighted various ideas to work smarter rather than harder. Its really great to hear from these local guys and topics that you don't typically see at other conferences.

Was also particularly pleased to finally meet Himanshu Mody of Tekno Point and see my former colleague Arvind Singh again.

My session was called "Getting Creative with Adobe AIR", it was originally a little more targeted at designers but decided to go with some more interesting API examples since the audience this year seemed to be more of a developer crowd.

I was pleasantly surprised about the questions I got and people coming up to talk to me about their projects. I've uploaded my slides and example code for those interested.

I have a few more days in Singapore before flying back to London for Flash on the Beach, going to make the most of it. Thanks again for all the guys working so hard to make this conference happen, hope to be back for the next few editions!

Posted
AuthorPeter

I just wrapped up a fascinating 6 months as a lecturer to first year "Digital Design and Media" students at the Technical University College of West-Flanders. If there's something I've recognized from my time there is that passion and commitment are determining factors for being successful in what you do. There certainly was no lack of that in my former colleagues and several students you'll no doubt soon hear about as up and coming talent. I wish them all the best and am always available to support them moving forward!

 
Over the last few years I've had numerous opportunities come my way, largely thanks to my involvement in the Flash community. This has allowed me to travel all over the world, author books and generally make a good living doing what I love.

Those of you that know me well, will no doubt know about my other passion, India.

After the upcoming conference season I'll be taking a step back and work on what we've tentatively called "Project Cocoon". For this I'll be joining forces with good friends and talented designers/developers/artists Nathalie Wormser and Ramakrishna Minnard in Pondicherry, South India where we'll be setting up shop.

Within this collaborative project we each have our own focus but a common goal, creating engaging user experiences through pushing beyond both our own limitations as the limits of the technology we use. As part of the project we plan to support and actively participate in various social and charitable initiatives.

Project Cocoon will be in its incubation period for a couple of months after which it will likely become my regular workplace in India for a good deal of the year.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any projects you'd like us to get involved with.
 
I'm equally excited about attending TEDIndia in Mysore, November 4-7th where I'll be representing the team. This will be a unique opportunity to network, get a perspective on the future of India from a wide variety of angles and most importantly -- get inspired.

To quote Lakshmi Pratury, co-host of TEDIndia, in a recent column --

"At TEDIndia this November, we want to explore this world to come. India—the largest democracy in the world with a population that includes three quarters of a billion people under the age of 35, speaking either one of 16 official languages or one of its hundreds of dialects, worshipping a million gods—provides the perfect setting for an exploration of the future. And TED, the legendary conference of great minds, is the perfect vehicle for bringing us together [...]

TEDIndia represents the confluence of cultures within me—and the recognition by the TED community of the importance of India and the Asian continent. Seven of the 10 most populous countries in the world are part of Asia; and India, with all its obstacles and opportunities, is a microcosm of that Asian future."

 

 
Its going to be an interesting journey and I'll be sure to keep you posted!

Posted
AuthorPeter
6 CommentsPost a comment

After some discussions earlier this week, it became apparent not everyone is aware of Adobe's public bug base where you can have your voice heard and vote up bugs important to you. I thought it might be interesting to highlight the current top 5 highest voted open feature requests across the various projects.

  • FB-19053 - Flex Builder on Linux (433 votes)
  • FP-1060 - Flash Player support for FreeBSD (157 votes)
  • FP-1499 - Global Runtime Exception Handling (143 votes)
  • FP-273 - Acoustic Echo Cancellation support (141 votes)
  • FP-37 - AMD64 support needed in Linux (136 votes)

These feature requests already have quite a bit of support behind them but you might want to browse the Adobe Bug Base yourself to vote up things important to you, or submit your own bugs and feature requests.

 
bugs.adobe.com

Posted
AuthorPeter
CategoriesCommunity
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Addicted to Twitter or Facebook? The Social Media Addicts Association can help you. SMAA is run by reformed social media addicts who all had the courage to stand up and admit to their problem. Will you stop poking people you haven't seen since college, and join us?

With me closing in on 8000 tweets, reaching an average of 8.6 posts a day and finding it necessary to add Facebook and Twitter login features to this blog, this initiative couldn't have come at a better time. Kudos to Nascom and Sony VAIO for this fun viral campaign.

www.stopwritingonmywall.com

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AuthorPeter
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This last week or two we've seen a lot of heated debate around the future of ActionScript and the Flash Player. Its nice to see this kind of excitement and passion for the technology -- yet I can't help but feel we're experiencing a form of 'continental drift' here. I've seen ActionScript grow up from its humble beginnings with just a handful of frame actions to supporting prototypes, object-oriented syntactical sugar to where we now have a full fledged object-oriented programming model.

 
That is a good thing, right?

Yes and no. While I wouldn't have dreamed it some time back when I was advocating object-oriented code as the one-stop solution to all your problems, I'm starting to feel we're losing out on a lot that made ActionScript so appealing.

This is something Aral Balkan has been saying for the last year or two and I initially considered blasphemous. Is a focus on how to do things 'properly' holding us back getting things done? I believe so.

Is there anything now - excluding improvements to Flash Player performance - that could not have been done with ActionScript 1.0? Very little, though admittedly it now takes a lot less effort.
 
Experience matters

Thinking back to the old Macromedia slogan "Experience matters" -- who's experience are we talking about here? Is the visitor to your site, the person using your application going to be in awe for how well you structured your code or what design patterns are implemented? Hell no.

I see a lot of people talking about features like generics, method overloading, private constructors etc. All great features that I would love to see included some time. Improving the language is one thing but it shouldn't impede on what actually matters, the user.

Innovation in the Flash Platform is primarily driven by creativity rather than the feature set of the tools you are given.

I was reminded of this thinking back to some old workarounds in the Flash 4/5 days. More recently, people could have simply said Flash Player can't do 3D, you can't dynamically generate sound -- guess what, Papervision3D and Hobnox Audiotool happened and pushed the envelope.

 
Rethinking the model

Is chasing after features in other object-oriented languages a sustainable solution or should we look at a different approach?

In my opinion rethinking the Flash Player to be more decoupled from ActionScript and enable anything to run on top would be the way to go. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution especially if you consider going beyond just web and desktop to mobile and devices. This would make perfect sense in the context of the Open Screen Project and a unified platform.

Going language agnostic is obviously no small feat but with Alchemy and LLVM the idea of a dynamic language runtime is certainly not unfeasible. This also opens up opportunities for a formal plugin architecture allowing you to 'decorate' the Flash Player with additional functionality.

Thinking further outside of the box having the ability to run code in interpreted mode rather than necessarily having to compile SWF binaries would significantly open up the developer landscape and capitalize on Adobe's investment in ECMAScript 4.

With that scenario in mind I would like to see Adobe focus primarily on the following core areas for the Flash Player: performance, multi-threading, hardware acceleration, compiler optimization.

 
Conclusion

I think the current focus on object-oriented orthodoxy in the community and evolving the language is not necessarily the right approach.

Moving further away from at least the option of dynamically typed languages and simple constructs, we now celebrate having something like navigateToURL(new URLRequest("http://www.peterelst.com")); over getURL("http://www.peterelst.com");.

The Flex framework was an interesting move in this respect, but what do you see -- people starting to feel the need to use additional frameworks on top of that. Adding abstraction layer on top of abstraction layer. It is as if we strive for complexity to validate our work as developers.

I'm definitely not one to promote doing away with object-oriented code but I question the motives for evolving it to imitate other languages, what it would fundamentally solve and what role it would play in evolving the Flash Platform. Maybe its worth a rethink.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler" - Albert Einstein

 

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