Post FlashForward SF 2004 review, and some interesting things during the keynote

There was a lack of updates from all the bloggers during FlashForward last week. For some reason the wireless network was completely inoperable so very few had the chance to provide some real coverage. The conference was as all FF conferences. Maybe I am starting to get the feeling that it is slowly getting smaller and smaller but the conference is not as exciting as it used to be (maybe its even just me). I did notice though that the organizers were gathering more feedback this time around. They seem to be really interested in introducing some new changes to FlashForward which would definitely be welcome!

Sessions
All the sessions I attended were very well prepared. NigelÂ’s session was one of those. I was pretty surprised to see him cover that much information in one hour. As to my favorite session at the conference, that would be by Andreas Odendaal. Andreas is one of those people that you rarely hear something about but at conference, but he always has some pretty amazing things to share. The most interesting part about his work is the attention to detail.

Keynote
The keynote at conferences is always a highlight, and this time I found the keynote quite interesting. Rather than demo-ing specific products Kevin talked about the future and the vision. I found it very refreshing to see Macromedia discussing this rather than just try to sell us on new/cool products. This year we should see the release of Flex, and update to Central, and an update to the Flash authoring environment.

In 2005 we will see another update to Central and the Flash 8 player. The Flash 8 player was the most interesting part. I got the feeling as Kevin was speaking that Macromedia is putting a lot more work into version 8 of the player than they have before. The Flash 7 player had some improvements in performance and other minor functionality, I canÂ’t wait to see what is the new player will look like.

Finally Kevin also made mention of the future of the authoring environment. Not much details were given but he did mention that designers will receive a lot more attention (much needed in my opinion) than they have been.

A Social Event?
I met up with a lot of friends at FlashForward. That is probably the best part of FF for me. I got to spend a day at MacromediaÂ’s offices, met some online friends who I never met in person before, and hang out with old friends. The Sapien crew came down too and took a bunch of us out for dinner on Wednesday (Thanks guys). IÂ’m sure the Sapien crew (hardcore c++ geeks) found the Flash developers quite interesting. I heard several PrimalScript requests for code-folding over dinner, Alex you add that to the list? Afterwards several of us went out for drinks and to play some pool.

On Thursday Mike organized a nice dinner at a really good Chinese restaurant (thanks Mike). A lot was discussed, Flex, Brady, and what sort of workflow would work for development projects. I had spent the whole week around the conference area/hotel which is not considered one of the better neighborhoods in San Francisco, so it was quite refreshing to go somewhere else. Afterward we headed to an outdoor bar where Grant and I released some personal frustration about a certain authoring environment and everyone was convinced we were just being too negative.

Feedback
I received a lot of feedback from people who have heard about our BLDoc product and were very interested. I showed it to some and Joey Lott also showed it during his presentation. We are starting alpha testing in the coming week and hope to have a more public beta in a few weeks. We will post progress here as usual.

Overall it was a great week spent in San Francisco. Next up FlashintheCan, which is shaping up to be the best Flash conference of the year.

Thanks to: Alex, Peter, Mike, Sam, Vera, Branden, Robert, Keith, Guy, Nigel, Dave, Grant, Joey, Christian and Daniel for a great time. IÂ’m sure I forgot someone, if so shoot me and email!

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4 thoughts on “Post FlashForward SF 2004 review, and some interesting things during the keynote

  1. You know, it’s obvious that Flash MX 2004 IDE is a mess and doesn’t live up to the promises of enterprise development. The compile time. The documentation. The fact that its SIX MONTHS after the release the remoting as2 support is just NOW in beta.

    It really disappoints me when these facts are dismissed as negative and swept under the rug. In order for Macromedia to be a successful platform vendor to enterprise developers (not brochureware designers) these kinds of concerns need to be addressed openly and resolved.

  2. Just to clear it up, my post in my entry was more of a joke. Everyone didn’t think we were being negative (Go out one night with a bunch of Flashers and Alcohol and send me your notes afterwards).

    With that said though I have done my fair share of complaining. The 2004 release of the product was a pretty big leap in functionality. The addition of a new component architecture, databinding, AS2, and JSFL are pretty substantial. I think Macromedia is taking a lot of the criticism very seriously, much more so than they ever have. While at FlashForward and MAX Macromedia solicited feedback from users and asked many questions to really know our issues. After talked to some people at Macromedia last week I wasn’t sure what to tell them as they seem to have heard it all, and listened to it too.

    This might not really help your concerns today, and I don’t work for Macromedia so there is not much I can share (or even know), but I can say that the future looks brighter than I used to think so after last week. Macromedia is listening, and to me that can only bring good things.

  3. I feel that they are listening. Between the blogs, forums, mailing lists and im I know MM listens. I’m questioning their responsiveness to the feedback and actual delivery of the product itself.

    No question, FMX2004 is an ambitious release, but in my eyes don’t release it before its ready for the production use being advertised. I had a project shortly after the 2k4 release and we used it. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have and I won’t be using it in the future. Ultimately my choice to use 2k4 wasn’t good for my business– next time for a situation like that I will use a .NET smart client. Before 2K4 I wouldn’t have even considered an alternative.

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