Well, it took me a couple of days longer than I expected to recover from DevCon, so here are my belated DevCon thoughts. My overall impression was that this was a very successful conference. Just having that many developers together (2300 - 2500 from different products) meant that I could not only find out what other people were talking about a were excited about, but it also gave me a chance to get a different viewpoint on some of our products and development issues.
Biggest surprise? The number of ColdFusion developers who told me that they were most excited about the Flash Communication Server and how easy it was to author content using the components.
Biggest disappointment? I only got to attend one session, and that one (Sam Wan's on data visualization) was attending sitting outside of the packed conference room and accessing the session through a Flash Communication server app that Sam built (very cool, btw).
Video Blogs : These actually went pretty well, with a few techincal hicups. As of the end of DevCon, we had had over 50,000 views of the video reports. You can view them all here. Thanks to Jeremy Allaire for creating the video blog application.
Next years DevCon will be in San Diego, and I am defiantly looking forward to it. Below are some link of other DevCon coverage.
Day 3 at DevCon has begun, and it looks like i will finally be able to check out some sessions. Thus far though, I have had a blast just meeting with everyone and talking to them about what they are excited about. Two themes that I have picked up on:
People are really excited about the Flash Communication Server. That in itself is not surprising, but was has surprised me is the number of ColdFusion developers i have spoken with who are really excited about it. I think the ease of authoring using the components has really impressed developers, and made a light go off in their head where they realize that they could create these types of apps.
The second thing is how excited people are about Flash Remoting. Don't get me wrong, I love Flash Remoting, and I am very excited about it. But I have had a ton of people tell me how much easier it has made things for them. I was speaking with a couple of ColdFusion developers this morning, and they said that if it wasn't for Flash Remoting, they wouldn't even bother with Flash.
So, whats on the agenda for today? I have a session in a little while on the Flash Player Security model, and then I will finally have some time to go to some sessions (I will be going to Sam Wan's session on data visualization). Sometime today, I am going to strap my webcam to my shoulder and broadcast live from DevCon. Ill just walk around and talk to people. It will probably be around lunch, and I will post some info here when I start.
BTW, we have a section of the Designer and Developer Center devoted to daily DevCon coverage. You can view it here.
Finally, don't forget to check out the DevCon section of my site. All of my DevCon posts go there (they don't all make it to the main page).
Waldo Smeets actually put together a Flash app that uses a web service (RSS feed, courtesy Tim Appnel) created by Jeremy Allaire to list all of the video blogs. You can view it here.
So whats up for tomorrow, DevCon Day 2? I will be doing two sessions, an advanced one of Flash Remoting, and an introduction to security in the Flash player. I also plan to finally check out some sessions.
What is Macromedia really about? It is about enabling a better user experience. We have always focused on this. Initially with CD-Roms (Director), the first generation of the internet, and not the second generation which includes PCs and devices.
The internet has developed into a critical tool for business, so the user experience plays an even greater role in development.
During the book of the past couple of years, developers created a ton of content, some of it really impressive. But there was also a lot of other work, which in the haste to create it, really left the user behind. They didn't help the user accomplish their goals. This negative user experience led to a backlash.
However, no we are starting to see a focus on the user experience.
IBM / Ogilvy web add (i'll find the link). Integrates video with flash. Similar to television except there is more context and information. The user can interact with the video at any time to immediately get the info that they want. This is the type of experience that will get funded.
mentioned the book, The Experience Economy. There have three primary stages in the economy. Initially there was the commodity economy (trading commodities, agriculture). Second was the goods economy, where manufactured mass produced goods drove the economy. The in the past 10 or 20 years, the economy has shift the a service economy (80% of US workforce).
The book makes the case that we are undergoing a 4th major shift, into the experience economy. At each stage, value is higher.
commodity, worth a couple of cents a cup
good : buy in store, consumer pays 5 - 20 cents per cup.
service : buy it in a diner, pay $1.
experience economy : starbucks. consumers willing to stand in line to pay $2 - $5 for a cup of coffee. Starbucks creates and sells their experience.
Disney, and nike are other examples of experience economy. They don't sell goods, they sell an experience.
why is this important? As you move up the scale, the value goes up. The internet creates a commodization of information and communication. There is a huge opportunity for differentiated services and unbelievable user experience. Move it to the experience economy.
It is easy to make a bad experience happen. There are too many examples to list. Shows Florida ballot from last presidential election (applause).
"Companies that redesign sites to support user goals can realize on-line revenues by 30% or more." Forrester Research
Macromedia Studio MX has been very successful. Went from 0 to 1/3 or revenue within 4 months.
Postio : (very cool). Rich Internet Application. Email system done entirely in Flash. Function very much like a desktop app.
Ego7 : Uses Flash Communication Server streaming media.
Hints at some new products (sneak peaks later?). Mentions new version of Director (applause). We just shipped Flash Remoting and Flash Communication Server (enables new types of communication and services). We have a completely new product that will allow new ways to contribute and create websites.
Flash ad impressions have gone from 510 million to 6.5 billion in the past year. (applause).
We are putting together a lot of resources to support user and developers, including Developer Resource Kit, Designer and Developer Center.
ColdFusion has been growing. 29% of new licenses are from completely new users.
We invest over 30% in Research and Development. Only 1 other company in the top 100 spend more on Research and Development.
Shows datecam.com, which demonstrates new types of communication possible with Flash and Flash Communication server. Shows jeremy allaire in chat (applause and laughter).
We need to put the user back at the top of our agenda.
the experience matters
Kevin Lynch, Chief Software Architect, Macromedia
He is going to discuss some a tools behind these new technologies.
Dave Deming, Dreamweaver product manager. Shows Dreamweaver MX.
[Note : Have to change batteries, BRB].
Shows Dreamweaver templates, snippets (feature "borrowed" from homesite and studio), creating tables, nested Dreamweaver templates, integration with Flash content.
Kevin and David talk. Customers are saying they like the productivity changes, but that are constantly being hassles for small changes on website.We are working on a new product to address this. It is called Macromedia de-hasslelater MX (brings out air gun and shoots t-shirts into crowd). (laughter and applause). </hassle> (we will be giving sneak peaks in some NDA sessions during DevCon (sorry, i can't say more about this right now)).
Invites Miriam Geller, Director Product Manager. She shows a CD-Rom created with Director (trio motor company example). Shows Flash integration, ability to integrate closely with operating system (read and write to the system, launch apps, read registry, check for install apps, etc...). Shows video, which can run full screen (this is QuickTime video running within Director). Talks about loading dynamic data, and the ability to use Flash assets and files within Director.
Opens new version of Director (running on OSX). User interface is similar to other Macromedia products. Shows edit and launch from Director to Flash (double click asset in Director, flash is opened. Edit the file, save and go back to director and changes have been included) (applause).
Discusses Accessibility. Built into Director, works without screenreader, so can work in executables and CD-Roms. (shows screen reading feature). Shows how this is authored.
Kevin Lynch comes back up, and talks about flash on devices. Sales of devices have been growing, and are out-pacing personal computer sales.
Flash Player 5 is available for Pocket PC 2002. Gives sneak peak of Flash Player 6 running on Pocket PC. Shows DevCon event guide (on our website). Player can run within browser, and also as a standalone player (can also run full screen). Has support for Flash Remoting and Flash Communication Server. Shows Babble fish example that users Flash Remoting to connect to babble fish webservice.
Flash runs on tons of devices. Flash is also starting to appear on embedded devices. Shows home system control panel, with interface created entirely within Flash. Demos playing back MP3s from music server. (applause).
Kevin introduces Ben Forta, Senior ColdFusion Product Evangelist. Shows an example of first version of ColdFusion.
Brings up HTML page with a table of information. Useful, but difficult to use since you can't sort, or rearrange data. Shows code, which is a ColdFusion template. This is really not a good way to design, because you end up reusing the same code over and over. If you need to update something, you have to go through multiple template to update it.
Is there a better way? we need code that is abstracted away from other code, is modular and reusable, and can describe itself.
ColdFusion components (cfc), built into ColdFusion MX addresses these issues. Opens Dreamweaver MX and shows component wizard. Dreamweaver auto generates code, and inserts it into component panel. Drags and drops component from component panel, and Dreamweaver adds the code to invoke the components.
Components are important because it allows you to completely separate your presentation from logic.
HTML based table has some usability issues as you cant sort date or edit in place (without refreshing page). Flash can connect directly to components via Flash Remoting, so you can now use a Flash component (such as a datagrid) to display the data in a much more usable format.
Opens Flash MX. Shows some of the components from the Developer Resource Kit (Flash UI Component Set 3). Shows DataGrid component. Writes some simple ActionScript code that loads data fro te ColdFusion component created earlier. only takes 1 line of code to display the data in flash once it has been loaded from the component.
goes over example of creating and using web services within ColdFusion using Dreamweaver MX.
Kevin Lynch comes back up. Thanks crowd. Adam Berry comes up with some conference notes.
Just wanted to give a heads up that I will be blogging the keynote in real-time. My plan is to publish my notes live during the keynote, and then afterwords go back and clean them up. So if you couldn't make DevCon, you can find out what we are talking about right away. If i have a chance, I'll try to do a video blog (vlog?) of part of the keynote.
Also, I will be posting all of the DevCon related into in the DevCon section of my weblog. I don't believe I will be pushing all of those updates on the main page.
I have a small part in Monday's keynote at DevCon, so I haven't had a chance to meet up with many people yet. I have been able to talk to some other Macromedia people as well as see some of the stuff that we will be showing during the keynote.
I think the general feeling is that developers understand MX and its advantages. Now we are at the point where we get to start to see some of the first true MX applications. This is when i think things get really exciting, and where the advantages of MX become apparent to more and more developers.
Of course, I can't talk about anything specific, but rest assured that a lot of them will be shown here. I'll post info as it becomes available.
Just a quick FYI. I am heading down to Orlando tonight for DevCon 2002. I plan on blogging the entire conference, similar to what I did for FlashForward. I have created a new section on the weblog specifically for DevCon which you can find here.
In addition to blogging sessions, we also plan to do some pretty cool things with the Flash Communication Server and the weblog. Stay tuned for more details. Furthermore, all of the other community managers will also be blogging the conference, so make sure to check out their weblogs through the week: