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Notes from MAX

I’m at the Adobe MAX convention this week and will give a report on the Adobe announcements etc. at our October meeting. In the meantime, here are the notes I’m taking in a public Google Notebook. The sections show up in reverse chronological order (newest first). I’ll continue to add to it through Wednesday.

Hope to see you all on the 19th. ‘course, we’re drawing for the software, whatever Adobe package the winner chooses up to $2100 in value. We’ll be doing this every six months while Adobe continues it.

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O’Reilly book on Adobe Integrated Runtime: free PDF download

AIR book cover

A new pocket guide on Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) from O’Reilly is available on Amazon but also as a free PDF download from Ajaxian.com.

Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) for JavaScript Developers Pocket Guide covers:

  • Introduction to AIR
  • Getting Started with AIR development
  • Working with JavaScript and HTML within AIR
  • AIR Mini Cookbook
  • Command line tools
  • Aliases
The cookbook section looks especially interesting. Not only is the book free, but since AIR and its authoring tool Flex 3 are both still in beta, they’re free as well, on Adobe Labs.

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BVAUG meeting notes free resources Software training conferences upcoming BVAUG meetings

Adobe Community Summit report

The following is an HTML version of the the PowerPoint file from today’s presentation. These are talking points only; if you have questions email me or check the Adobe site.

What’s in it for you?

  • Make professional plans based on what’s coming up in the future
  • Download beta apps sooner to evaluate, and perhaps influence
  • Free stuff for community members and leaders NOTE (added 7-4-07): not gloating here; rather, inviting my replacement. If you’re interested in the substantial perks of being BVAUG manager (e.g., this year, AUG managers receive the full CS3 Master Collection etc.) that come with the relatively easy and enjoyable responsibilities involved, please ask me about it.
  • labs.adobe.com/community – forums etc…

Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR)

  • Beta at labs.adobe.com
  • What is it?
    • creates desktop aps using HTML/CSS/JS or Flash/Flex
    • unlike web apps (though Flash apps have a sandbox/temp file access), allows access to files on the hard drive/network (like Director’s FileIO Xtra)
  • Desktop version of web apps needed? Google must think so (Google Gears)
  • Includes SQLite
  • Comparison with Director
  • Comparison with RIAs; plugins
  • How do you get and use an AIR app?
  • How do you make an AIR app?
    • coders can do it for free
    • best (easiest) way: Flex Builder 3; beta available
    • DW extension to develop HTML-based AIR aps

Other software (other than CS3)

Flex 3 / Flex Builder 3

  • Flash for making great experiences, Flex for creating applications
  • Watch a Flex app being built (12 minute video)
  • Leverages UI elements called components
  • Components now much easier to customize
  • Will be made open source
  • Examples: Yahoo Maps, Harley Davidson, NTSE Marketrac, various customize your car sites… showcase page

ColdFusion 8

  • Beta available now
  • Adobe store is a CF app: 30% performance gain by upgrading to CF8, even before any further integration
  • Ajax integration
  • CF goal: make backend/frontend integration as easy as possible.
  • Skinnable forms, using CSS
  • Adobe will list ‘gotcha’s’ (quote from attendee question )
  • binding syntax modeled on Flex
  • CF integration with Exchange calendar; with read and write
  • local DB integration being looked at, will not be in CF8
  • pdf forms processing—dynamically building custom PDFs on the fly
  • now CF can prefill PDF forms; on the server side
  • handles concurrent user record modifications

CS3 Applications

  • Tool palette improvements throughout—much easier for a laptop or single monitor
  • Bridge: a little faster, a lot cooler, intended to be a hub for all CS3
  • Improved cross-application file compatibility (e.g., import layered .psds into Flash; copy/paste into DW)
  • Feature overload issue: now ‘trying to make it smarter for what people are already using it for’
  • (unspoken: costs what it costs)

Observations / Trend Chasing / Forum Fending

  • Adobe is addressing the trend toward the social aspects of video. Flash Media Encoder is impressive.
  • Adobe has been consistent in maintaining and growing Macromedia’s commitment to mobile technologies. If they’re big-time successful in this, they’ll have earned it.
  • And they keep saying there’s a lot of money for developers who get into developing for this market.
  • Open sourcing (Flex 3)
  • Getting apps to users sooner (labs site)
  • Adobe really wants our feedback.

Discussion Topics

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Great free stuff—how should we choose who gets what?

Some great giveaways coming up, to be topped off with one fortunate person receiving any Adobe software package up to $2,100 in value. Very cool. Adobe will give this away once every six months, suggesting “the best method for awarding the software is to hold a contest for members that runs for the duration of the software period.” So, any thoughts on how the contest might work? I was thinking to weigh in favor of people for attendance, but I’m open to all suggestions.

Other worthwhile giveaways upcoming:

I just received a box of door prizes from Adobe for the next six meetings. Some decent stuff: AUG T-shirts, Adobe travel mugs, miniature USB mice, etc. Oddly, there’s a red Apollo shirt that would fit a very small person only; maybe someone with a daughter in elementary school might like this.

Also, the people who put on CFUnited are offering AUGs some materials they give to their conference attendees. I requested this for the BVAUG and they’re sending us a box. Anyone who uses or is interested in ColdFusion is welcome to it; once it arrives I’ll let you know and see who’s interested.

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AccessU report

Here are my AccessU notes as a public Google notebook*. Just the stuff in the named section is specific to the conference.

My AccessU Powerpoint presentation for the May 15 meeting.

Overall, an excellent conference. I’ll report on the accessibility subjects covered there at the May 15 meeting. A few things new to me:

btw, if you use Google notebook extensively like I do, *back up important stuff there from time to time. I inexplicably lost a whole subsection after I made this notebook public, even without granting anyone edit capability.

NOTE 5-14: A kind and patient individual suggested the supposedly lost data may be accidentally deleted, in my ‘Trash’. Indeed, that was the case; it is now properly restored. Thank you!!!

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training conferences upcoming BVAUG meetings

Multiple-topic meetings?

Would anyone be interested in meetings often having two, three, or even four topics? People may feel more comfortable presenting something if they don’t feel they have to fill a full hour, and more people may come if they see at least one thing being discussed that they’re interested in. A few thoughts for potential meeting topics:

  • Diann suggests playing some lynda.com segments, starting with ColdFusion MX Essential Training
  • Captivate demo; including a discussion of its potential usefulness for all developers and a comparison with Camtasia Studio
  • members show and explain aspects of their best or favorite sites (ones they’ve worked on or ones they just like)
  • Flex demo
  • Apollo demo
  • attendee reports from training conferences (myself and anyone else attending the AccessU and/or DIR accessibility events for the May and July meetings; and I’ll volunteer a segment in June after I go to the Adobe Summit User Group Manager conference)
If people would send their lists of both what they’d like to see and what they could present, we can start matching these up.

For the May meeting, I’m suggesting that the topics covered will be a report from AccessU from me and some ColdFusion essentials from lynda.com.

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training conferences upcoming BVAUG meetings

AccessU

We’ve been talking at the last few meetings about web accessibility. Thanks to Diann, we have Dr. Rhonda Blackburn speaking at our Apr. 24 meeting (this date changed 4-16 to reflect a rescheduling).

On this subject, I’ll be attending Knowbility’s Access U, an accessibility conference May 8 and 9 in Austin. They have a long list of classes, with topics on accessibility for PDFs, forms, tables, Flash, audio, video, CSS issues, etc.

I’ll take notes, post them here, and recap at the following BVAUG meeting. If others from this group attend, it would be great if you would each share what you learn as well.