I've been lucky enough to attend all four editions of Flash on the Beach since it started in 2006, three of them as a speaker and hope to get invited to do many more. Looking back I can honestly say this year was the best one yet -- it had something for everyone and think John got the mix between creative and technical sessions just right.

My personal highlights of the conference were Joa Ebert's mind-blowing display of Flash Player optimization and Craig Swann's inspirational session that went on to cover some unexpected topics. I'd say those two were definitely the buzz of the conference and rightly so.

Flashmagazine has excellent write ups of all three days of the conference. Here are a couple of interesting things that get announced:

  • Flash CS5 will have code hinting for custom classes and integration with Flash Builder as a code editor
  • AIR 2.0 will allow you to bundle native code and execute it, has a new FileMonitor, VolumeMonitor and StorageVolume API for accessing USB connected drives
  • Joa Ebert wrote a C# and Java to SWF compiler
  • Ralph Hauwert is leaving the Papervision3D team

I'm yet to hear anyone say he was disappointed attending Flash on the Beach in these four years. I can't wait for the fifth edition -- go John go! best. conference. ever.

CategoriesEvents, Flash
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This year I did a completely different session at Flash on the Beach, talking about what it takes to go freelance as a Flash developer -- what are the challenges and opportunities that await you. It seemed to go down really well and was very happy with the feedback I got. For those of you that asked, here are the slides of my talk and feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email if you have any further questions.

The conference so far has been excellent, I'll be sure to blog a roundup of the various sessions as soon as I get home. The highlight so far for me was definitely Joa Ebert showing off his code optimizer tool (70 fps to 500 fps), Java and C# to SWF compiler. Everyone here is still buzzing about that!


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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!


Its that time of the year again, just two weeks to go before this years edition of Flash on the Beach takes place. Here's the list of sessions I plan to attend:

September 20th

iPhone App Development for Flash Developers workshop - Julian Dolce

September 21th

Adobe Keynote - Richard Galvan Casual Game Architecture - Keith Peters Visualizing Voice - Chuck Freedman Who's A Bright Spark Then! - Mike Jones Cybernetic Art Revisited - Dr. Woohoo! Telling Stories - Hillman Curtis Epiphany - Joel Gethin Lewis

September 22th

3 Minute Wonders - Elevator pitch Leaving the Sandbox - Joa Ebert Application Frameworks - Richard Lord Numbers in Art - Joel Baumann Unconventional Web Applications - Contrast Choose Your Own Adventure - Craig Swann

September 23th

Play with Vectors! - Koen De Weggheleire Can play well with others - Stacey Mulcahy Work/Play - Seb Lee-Delisle 6 Speakers - 10 Mins Each - Jam Throwdown Research Realtime graphics with Flash 10 - Ralph Hauwert Space - Joshua Davis


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!

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Less than 50 days to go before this years Adobe MAX in Los Angeles -- time to go on the record about some of my predictions. I expect the following focus areas:

  • Mobile and devices
  • Open Screen Project
  • AIR 2.0



  • Public beta of next version of AIR
  • Announcement of Flex Builder on Linux
  • Celebrity guest appearance


  • Flash Builder getting re-rebranded to Flex Builder
  • Apple taking the stage and announcing Flash on iPhone
  • Microsoft invited up to talk about Silverlight support in AIR

Now for the difficult bit, the sneak peeks -- some wild guesses and wishful thinking here:

This is part of what makes MAX such a great conference to me -- no matter how clued up you are with what is going on at Adobe -- there will always be some surprises. I'd love to hear your predictions!

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We're about a month away from the next edition of "The ActionScript Conference" and I can't wait! This conference has fast become one of my all time favorites and this year will no doubt be even better with two days of sessions scheduled in. The speaker lineup looks excellent and includes people like: Ryan Stewart, Leif Wells, Andre Michelle, Marco Casario, Mohammed Khan and lots more local and international talent.

If you didn't make it last year, its worth checking out Lee Brimelow's video.

I'll be doing a session called "Getting Creative with AIR" and showing how you can take advantage of the various APIs and get creative with them building some unexpected applications.

Hope to see you there! I'll be in Singapore from September 12th until the 19th.

Get your ticket now: www.theactionscriptconference.com


There's a bunch of people in Adobe's community programs that volunteer a good deal of their spare time answering questions, blogging, organizing a local user group etc. If you are planning to attend Adobe MAX and want to help them make it there as well -- its easy. When registering for the conference, just be sure to put their name in the "Community Membership" section of the contact page.

Community Membership

When five people register under their name, they get a free pass to Adobe MAX.

Before you do, please make sure:

  • the person wants to attend MAX

  • is a member of the community programs (User Group Managers, Community Experts, ...)
  • is not already a MAX speaker or has a ticket
  • is eligible under the following terms:

    "The Promotion is open to all user group managers, association leaders and Adobe community experts (“Participant”) invited to participate age 18 years or older who are legal residents of the United States, Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec), Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom who are in good standing with the Adobe community, as determined by Adobe in Adobe’s sole discretion."


If you don't know who to support: check with your local user group manager, someone who's been particularly helpful on a mailinglist or forum etc.

Still don't know anybody? My fellow community expert here in Belgium, Cyril Hanquez, is still looking for some people to register so he can attend the conference (he already has his flight and hotel). I'm sure he'd be happy to buy you a beer as a thank you.

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After SOTR London in June I scheduled in a few months to recover but a new round of conferences is fast approaching. Prompted by Scott Janousek doing a similar post here is my list of conferences for September and October:

I'm working on new presentations for each of these. For Adobe MAX I'll do a session called "Community Matters" all about the online Flash Platform community, open source initiatives and Adobe's various community programs. At Flash on the Beach I'll be presenting "The Secret Life of a Flash Freelancer" talking about what it takes and how to survive as a freelancer in this industry.

I've got something special planned for The ActionScript Conference, not quite ready to give it away yet, if it all works out you'll see some cool things including AIR and BitmapData manipulation.

Of these three conference The ActionScript Conference is the youngest, but definitely worth attending if you've got the opportunity -- not in the least because Singapore is a fantastic place and the organizers and the Singapore Flex User Group members a great bunch of people. This year they'll make it a two day event at the One Marina Boulevard auditorium, I can't wait!

I'll be hanging around for a few days before or after each conference, so if you're in the area and would like to meet up feel free to drop me a line.

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I returned yesterday from an amazing four days in Zurich, Switzerland where I spoke at the first edition of "Flash at the Lake". Its always difficult to know what to expect from a first time event, but I really think the organizers did an outstanding job. One thing I found particularly interesting is having workshops as part of the conference and included in the ticket price. It worked really well and gave people the opportunity to deep dive for several hours into a specific topic (I for example joined the "Extending AIR" workshop by Ferdi Koomen and am looking forward to experimenting more with Qt).

The venue was unlike any other conference I've ever attended. Rote Fabrik is an interesting building with a lot of history and graffiti all over, just by the lake side. When first arriving the street side of the building sort of reminded me of the Adobe Townsend street office in San Francisco.

Ticket prices were very reasonable at just 135 Euro for two days of sessions and workshops including lunch. There weren't a huge amount of attendees but it worked out well and based on the success of this edition I'm sure next year and beyond this event will sell out very soon.

It was great as always hanging out with fellow speakers and the organizers, who joined us every night despite their massive workload and getting little sleep. The conference had a real community vibe and am happy to have met a lot of new Swiss designers, developers and students and hear how they're using various Flash Platform products. Looks like I might even have found some victims to help me build out my SQLite wrapper project and work on adding some additional features.

If you ever get the chance to attend or speak at this conference, I highly recommend it!

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Earlier today at the Flash at the Lake conference here in Zurich, Switzerland I presented my "Introduction to SQLite in Adobe AIR" session. I've done this one a couple of times before but have updated it to include more information on:

  • Database encryption
  • Synchronization strategies
  • Using Data Access Objects
  • SQLite wrapper classes


You can find my slides below, and the demo files are available for download here. Enjoy!


CategoriesAIR, Events
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Sometimes I really wish I worked over in San Francisco -- now and again Adobe does these great meet ups, like recently happened with FlashCamp. They've put the video of the presentations online including a keynote by CTO Kevin Lynch and the following topics:

These are some really good in depth presentations that I can highly recommend you check out!

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I'm excited to have gotten invited again to give a talk at this years Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles, October 4-7th. The session is called "Community Matters" and is not the usual technical talk I do but targeted at a more general audience. This is the official session description:

"Explore the broad landscape of active user communities for the entire Adobe product range, from open source projects using Flash technology to public bugbases and mailing lists to worldwide user groups and tutorial websites. We'll look at the range of programs available, including both Adobe and third-party resources. Walk away with all the information you need to get involved and share your knowledge, network with fellows and make your life easier."

I will mostly be discussing Adobe's various community programs and how you can get involved, contribute and get the most out of connecting with the online community.

If you're interested to attend, be sure to mark it in your MAX session scheduler -- Monday October 5th at 2pm in meeting room 503 of the L.A. Convention Centre. Hope to see you there!


User Experience @ Vitra - Microsoft Surface
Photo by Pieter Baert

I just returned from a nice evening in Brussels where Microsoft held a user experience event, showing some of what their technologies have to offer. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised about the whole setup. Nice venue, great food and drink and a nice atmosphere for networking.

While personally I thought the evening was more about vision than actual user experience it was definitely the best Microsoft event I've attended so far.


First session we attended was one on SharePoint -- not something I'd normally be looking at but we got to see how you could use it for public facing websites and integrate things like the open source Podcasting Kit for SharePoint.

Next up was the Microsoft partner program and the "Web Solutions Toolkit". It seemed like quite an interesting offer, though the user experience of their online registration form could be improved quite a bit.

Caught some glimpses of other sessions including Internet Explorer 8, Silverlight, SketchFlow, Windows 7 etc. but the one that really struck me was Microsoft Surface. Its not exactly a brand new product and you've all no doubt seen it, but getting hands on with the technology did bring it home how multi-touch interfaces bring a whole new level of interactivity to the table (pun intended).

When using an iPhone or other touch enabled devices you get some idea of what that might be but real a real multi-touch, pressure sensitive and collaborative environment (up to 52 touches in the case of Microsoft Surface) is unlike anything else. Microsoft Surface will soon be available to the general public, but with a price tag of around 12.000 Euro I don't see it sitting in everyone's living room quite yet.

With Windows 7 fully multi-touch enabled and multi-touch screens like those by HP soon being a commodity, I see that as a logical first step. While not allowing the full collaborative experience it would allow you to go beyond the realms of the Microsoft Surface SDK and develop using any technology, which I would personally be a lot more interested in.


I had the opportunity to talk with Luc van de Velde, Microsoft's Director of the Developer and Platform Group, mostly on Silverlight and WPF. I'm hearing a "write once, deploy everywhere" story similar to what Adobe is working on, though the definition of everywhere might be slightly different. Designer/developer workflow is another important aspect I see getting addressed, again parallels can be drawn with the Flash Catalyst / Flash Builder 4 approach though in certain areas there I do see Microsoft with somewhat of an advantage.

I sense a change in Microsoft's marketing of their rich client technologies. Maybe less dominant and more pragmatic, but slowly but surely they're getting there. My guess is that enterprise is going to be the first battle ground where in my honest opinion Adobe might have a less compelling offering. On the other hand, user experience is still Adobe's strong suit and I don't see Microsoft overtaking them there any time soon.

I for one can't wait to see what innovation the next few years will bring!

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Scotch on the Rocks went on the road this year, and I was happy to do a presentation yesterday at their London event. In many ways this was a new type of session for me -- not in the least because most of my audience will no doubt have had more hands on experience with the technology than me. It seemed to go down pretty well and think it was worth the ColdFusion community getting a glimpse at how their technology gets perceived by those outside. I did a couple of basic examples to show what I thought were the strong points of CFML and how I see things evolving.

I think the discussion afterwards was particularly interesting and most of us were in agreement that ColdFusion is in need of a renaissance and together with Adobe, the open source CFML vendors and the developer base we can make that happen.


I tried to get a narrated version up of my slides but had some audio sync problems, I'll see if I can get that fixed later.

In the next few days and weeks I'll be blogging a couple of basic CFML experiments I've been doing while preparing for this session. They should show how simple it is to get things up and running and connecting to Flash/Flex applications or even get some ColdFusion services integrated with other languages such as PHP, Python etc.


2M09 Multi-Mania is Europe's biggest free multimedia event -- yes, that's right completely free of charge!

I've been taking part in the event since 2004 and its only been getting bigger and better each year. This year its in fact two days of multimedia goodness - May 18-19th in Kortrijk, Belgium.

The speaker lineup is fantastic as always and includes among others: Aral Balkan, Rob Chiu, André Michelle, Thomas Joos, Scott Janousek, Marc Canter, Sakri Rosenstrom, Rob Bateman and a whole host of Adobe speakers.

I've been able to follow 'the making of' multi-mania from a little closer distance this year and while of course sponsors make it possible to offer such a great conference lineup free of charge; there's a massive amount of work done behind the scenes that often goes unnoticed. So kudos to my colleagues for managing this stunt for another year.

I will be doing an "Introduction to Creative Programming in ActionScript 3.0" session on May 18th. If you're familiar with the basics of coding in ActionScript I'll help you take it one step further and get creative with the code. Feel free to bring your laptop with Flex Builder, FDT (or if you feel masochistic the Flash IDE) and you can play along with some of the examples I'll be showing.

Most, if not all, sessions will be presented in English so if you're interested to come over from abroad (like many of our speakers) you are more than welcome.

Last year we had no less than 1000 attendees, I'm confident we'll do at least as good this year. Hope to see you there, don't forget to register!



FFK09 - CologneI'm back from an inspiring day in Cologne where I was lucky enough to participate in one of the workshop days of FFK09. Jens Brynildsen did a really excellent job going over the basics of the Away3D engine.

He started out covering some of the history of 3D in Flash, what engines are available and compared their features. One of the first things I noted was a rather nifty feature that allows Away3D to export models out to an ActionScript 3.0 class.

We moved on to discuss and play around with some different camera types and lenses, the HoverCamera3D seemed particularly useful and want to experiment with the SpringCam (essentially seems to be a TargetCamera3D with some spring physics applied, ideal for scenarios where you're chasing a moving 3D object).

Next up was playing with primitives that come with Away3D -- Sphere, Torus, Cone, Cube, etc. not forgetting the lovely pet SeaTurtle. We looked at some different renderer options that allow you to set how precise you want to render things like intersecting objects.

Its obviously not easy doing a workshop with people with various levels of experience using ActionScript 3.0 and using a variety of IDE's (I can only imagine the pain of those trying to code along using the ActionScript panel in Flash).

Think Jens handled it perfectly, giving us all the necessary information to get started and experiment further when we're done while allowing those that need more time the opportunity to get the example working.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Away3D, had some limited experience working with Papervision3D but have to honestly say this felt a lot easier to get started with. One pretty important advantage is also the state of the documentation:


After today I'm sure I'll be using Away3D quite a bit and experiment with the various features. Wish I could've stayed on for the following few days -- Marc, Sascha and the rest of the Flashforum.de crew are doing a fantastic job with the event!

CategoriesAway3D, Events
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