The idea is pretty simple: people in the audience will ask technical/coding questions concerning Flex, AIR and related technology (like BlazeDS, LC, CD etc) and we will try our best to answer them live on stage - no props, no tricks. So there's no real agenda but we promise to show a lot of insider tips and tricks and do some seeeerious hacking there.
Of course, everything depends on the amount (and quality) of the questions you ask - to allow for a good start, Sven and I ask you to send us some questions YOU would like to ask, no matter if you make it to MAX Europe or not. We just need some input to get started during the session so the audience then knows what type of questions we're looking for (of course, we'll give credits for every submission we'll pick!).
So, please feel free to add comments here - and make sure to join our Freestyle Hacking session :)
Speaking at Flex Best Practices Panel in Barcelona
FYI, I was asked to join the Flex Best Practices Panel discussion at MAX Europe as a speaker - and of course I accepted. This session will be an open session with no static agenda, instead it is more a diloag between the audience and the speakers. Together with Joe Berkovitz (Allurent), Sascha Wolter (Flashforum.de) and Steven Webster (Adobe Consulting) we will share ideas, best-practices and in-depth tips & tricks you cannot afford to miss! The session is scheduled for Monday, 10am in room 123.
For some reason, the session description for my session "Building a CRM system using ColdFusion, Flex and LiveCycle Data Services" is not online anymore so I had to enter it again. In case it does not show up at the MAX site here it is:
Learn how to combine the power of Flex, ColdFusion and LiveCycle Data Services to create a feature-rich, innovative CRM system. This session talks about the lessons learned during the development cycle of a feature-rich, innovative CRM system and gives you in-depth information on how to tackle CRM specific requirements.
So - if you want to know how to successfully combine Flex, ColdFusion and LCDS (and what problems occured during development) be my guest on Tuesday from 4-5pm!
Sven and I will be speaking at MAX Europe in Barcelona - I'm sure this will be great fun!
Sven's session is "Introduction to LiveCycle Data Services for Flex Developers" and will show the great fetaures the LiveCycle Data Services have to offer. Sven did a similar session last year at MAX Las Vegas.
My session is "Building a CRM system using ColdFusion, Flex and LiveCycle Data Services" where I'll give in-depth tips and tricks on how to marry Flex 2, ColdFusion 8 and LCDS.
MAX Special Event: Having a ride (and a drink) at Paradise Pier
Cool! This year's special event takes place at the Paradise Pier here at Disney's California Adventure. The crowd at MAX will take over a recreation of the old boardwalk piers and parks of the 1920's. I'm glad that I don't have to give a session tomorrow morning (had mine this morning at 8am, was great) so this should be fun ;)
Finished my first session on Debugging Flex Applications
I just held my session on debugging Flex applications. The first two third of the presentation was about using several debugging techniques with Flex 1.5 applications while the last third was about the new logging API in Flex 2 and the integrated debugger in Flex Builder 2. I'll post the slides and demo files to this site during the next few days (if I succeed in accessing our office via VPN to upload the files). I'll give the same session again tomorrow morning at 8 (yikes!) so if you want to take a look at the new features, check it out.
A nice gem to be found at the MM Labs site is the CF Adapter for Flex 2. This adapter allows to use the new AMF protocol introduced with Flex 2 with CF MX 7 and (probably the best thing about it) also providea functionality to map AS 3 ValueObjects to their CFC counterparts (i.e. VOs implemented as CFCs).
MAX started today and I enjoyed attending some sessions so far. A very interesting one was Gray Grossman's (Flash Engineer) session on the next generation of the Flash Player 8.5 (codename "Zaphod"). As you'll probably know by know, Flash Player 8.5 will be the engine to power your next generation Flash applications. Flash Player 8.5 has been rewritten from scratch and contains two virtual machines (AVM, ActionScript Virtual Machine): AVM1 to run your "old" Flash content and AVM2 which is exclusively there to run new content made with e.g. Flex Builder 2.
This separation allows to create high-performance applications without the need to worry about compatibility with pre-Flash 8.5 applications (i.e. no backwards compatibility!).
Flash Player 8.5 introduces several cool new features that really boost runtime performance. The object model has been rewritten completely and allows for more efficient storage of objects. In AS 2, every object is represented internally as a hash map. In AS 3, every classes has its own "traits" which allows to model classes and their members more efficiently (i.e. less memory consumption). Other noteworthy features of Flash Player 8.5 include the Bytecode Verfifier which checks the code for unsafe operations before running it (stack overflows etc.), a JIT compiler that turns AS bytecode into machine specific instructions and runtime error reporting (yeah, finally!).
So - great times ahead for developing Flash powered applications :)
Well, time to pack the bags. Sven and myself will leave for Anaheim tomorrow morning so we'll have the weekend to acclimate and to checkout O.C. - the weather looks average but still better than here :) All gadgets are fully charged so stay tuned for new pictures in the album.
Only a few days left until we'll leave for this year's MAX conference. I'm currently applying some final polish to my session on Debugging Flex Applications where I'll show some debugging best-practices and techniques in an one hour workshop. So - if you want to learn about debugging Flex applications, I'll be happy to be your host.
I've also prepared a online photo album where I'll regularly upload photos from the conference for those of you who cannot make it to the MAX.
After the Flex 2 announcement last week and all the things to be read between the lines I'm really looking forward to this year's MAX - hope to see you there!
Ok - where to start: first of all, it was a great show, even better than the two key notes together. The first big bang was a Breeze to Mobile phone app. Imagine that: they showed a Breeze application with some people in the attendee list. Then they asked a guy to come to the stage and to tell his mobile number. They added an account for him and he showed up on the list. THEN, they selected like 6 people from the list and clicked a button. Immediately, 6 mobile phones were ringing and all were connected to a conf call - I wonder if they built Skype in there. Now with that you'll never ever miss a conf call again - the conf call will RING YOU!!!
The next great thing was high-performance charts for Flex - of course we already have charts now with Flex 1.5 but they also showcased some really really fast animating charts. A very funny new chart that may be added to Flex was a kind of realtime threshold chart. Also, they showed a Gantt chart example, completely interactive with drag & drop. For Flex 2.0 we have to prepare with a completely new underlying data model, that abstracts data usage even more. This data model will be synchronized - fits pretty well into MM's overall vision about the mobile Flash platform.
The Coldfusion Sneak started with a Blue Screen - so no news here :(
At the very end of the session, it was all about Flash Player and Flash Authoring again. Dang, the authoring environment will have ink effects as in Director, realtime effects (Shadow, Glow etc.) and finally, strokes that are freely configurable in terms of their joins (rounded, sharp). Strokes may also be filled with gradients. Gradients may be animated.
The underlying Flash Player 8 was shown again - pretty fast bitmap blitting was shown and the realtime effects are fast, too.
Unfortunately, the auditorium was already getting more and more empty as sneaks for Central were shown. Basically it was more about how Central COULD look in the future (less chrome, no chrome, transparent windows etc.) - so no news here.
I gonna upload pictures from the Sneak right now so check back soon!
I did a Flex Debugging session this morning at 8:30am - that was a tough time but I was so exhilarated (stage fright) that I was fully awake and I hopefully did a good job. There were about 25 people in this hands-on session and together we went from trace() to the Trace Panel and on to a full Flex Builder debugging session. The next date is tomorrow at 11:15am and I am looking forward to it.
This is basically what MAX is all about: names to faces and vice versa. It's a great experience to meet all the people you only know "virtually" - either from mailing lists, emails or conference calls. Still I trying to meet with some folks I haven't seen yet (well, maybe I have seen them - but I don't know how they look so that's pretty useless, isn't it?). Especially I'd like to chat with Owen van Dijk and Christian Cantrell so if you're around - drop a comment, so we can meet this evening.
Yesterday's BOF sessions were great. First, I joined the "Meet the Flex Team" session - it was interesting to get faces to names. The session itself was Q&A style but the Team also gave some hints on the possible feature set of future versions of Flex. Especially after Jeff Whatcott's session on the Flash Platform Roadmap the meeting with the Flex Team was very valuable.
After that I met with Bill Schulze and Waleed Anbar from the Central Team. The session started about 20 minutes after the official start time - mostly because the Flash Authoring Team BOF attendees had soooooooooo much questions to ask. However, it was great to meet Waleed & Anbar as they helped us much during the development process of our Central 1.5 application
Now it's 7:00am, the breakfast is not being served yet, New Orleans is kind of flooded after some heavy rainfalls and I have only one and a half hours left until my session on Debugging Flex Applications is about to begin.
I just attended Jeff Whatcott's session on the Flash Platform Roadmap. The Flash Platform is not just the Flash Player but basically every piece of software that is able to run Flash content. MM is trying more and more to not use the term Flash Player but Flash VM (virtual machine) instead.
The Flash platform shall become the premier technology for rich content on every capable device, or as Whatcott says: "We want to have Flash on any device that is equipped with a color display". Current key trends for rich media (include/use Video, take advantage of broadband connections, enterprises using SOA) have already found their way into Flash and this will continue to happen in the future.
Whatcott also gave some interesting hints about the future of Central (Flash for the Desktop). Central will be more tightly integrated into the underlying OS (no or less Central chrome) while still providing the typical Central benefits (caching, notifications, agents), installation (one-click installation) and integration with the other MM core technologies will be made easier. This evening is the Birds-of-a-Feather session on the topic "Flash and the Desktop" and I'll blog about that, too.
The main goal for 8Ball (next version of Flash Authoring), Maelstrom (next version of the Flash Player) and Central is performance - period. MM will improve client side performance and is also trying to merge the different underlying frameworks (e.g. only one codebase for all components - not three as in the moment). This won't happen within the next 6 months however ;)
MM is aiming high - let's hope we'll get what is being promised!
I just enjoyed the first two sessions of my today's agenda. First, I attended Matt Chotin's interesting session on how to handle large data in Flex applications. He showed different techniques, including implicit and explicit paging, "lazy loading" and preloading. The session ended with some useful hints. For example, if your dealing with complex record sets that are pulled with RemoteObject /AMF (each record consisting of several value objects) then you can boost speed and performance by not using _registerClass but do AS/Java mapping by using Object.registerClass().
The second session was Alistair McLeod on Flex engineering. That session was tough - after four days in New Orleans my ears all switched to US-american slang and this guy comes from Scotland :) He showed some software engineering best practices and how to use them when developing Flex applications. Most interestingly, he announced FlexUnit, a unit testing framework for Flex developed by iteration::two, based on their AS 2.0 unit testing framework AS2Unit. FlexUnit will be released under the Apache License - so, if you'd like to contribute to it, make sure to check their website.
Pfff - what a weekend. New Orleans is where Americans go for party - that's for sure.
Now we're back to business and arrived safely at the (huge!) Convention Center where the MAX will take place.We checked in, got our badges and are now enjoying the pre-conference Mobile Day. More info to come.
The plane to New Orleans lifts off tomorrow morning already, so me and my colleagues will have quite some time for sight seeing before checking in for MAX on Monday. So I equipped myself with my digicam and wiped off old pictures from the harddrive. I've put together a web photo album where we'll be posting pictures throughout the whole week (pre-conference and live from the conference of course!):
Finally, I've finished the MAX Harvester application for Central. This little application helps you downloading and managing the MAX conference materials. It stores the FlashPaper session files locally, allowing you to use them offline (and most important: with your laptop at the MAX).
You can install the application by using the installation badge below (if you don't have Central installed yet you'll first have to install it prior installing MAX Harvester).
Usage is quite simple: the application is divided into two tabs. On the first tab (empty on first start), you see all your locally cached FlashPaper session files. On the second tab you see all available online files.
Simply select a file in the list and press the "Download" button to download it. Central then asks you for a location to store the file. Please note that every file will be called "print.swf" - that's ok and you don't have to change the file name for every single file. MAX Harvester will also store a copy of the downloaded file in Central's cache after downloading it - so if you don't mind having the files somewhere in your file system you can keep the "print.swf" filename and overwrite an existing file. You'll still be able to use the cached versions. IMPORTANT: the application will prompt you for your user credentials. These have been sent to you if you're an MAX attendee.
After the file was downloaded, Central stores this file in its local internet cache - all cached files on the second tab are marked with a * to show you which files have been cached already.
You can keep on downloading files or switch to tab one. There you should see all downloaded files. By selecting an entry in the list and clicking "Open", Central opens the FlashPaper document. The "Save As..." button again allows you to store the file in the file system. "Delete" is just that :)
Note: I noticed that for some sessions there are no FlashPapers available although they are listed. I compiled the list of available files myself so if I find some time I'll filter out the wrong URLs.
Another Note: If the second tab ("All session files") exactly looks as first tab then check if have the mms.cfg file still in your system directory - if so delete it and reinstall Central. After that, all should work fine
If you're attending the MAX conference then you've probably received your confirmation mail already. Inside the mail there's some information on how to get and print the session slides - honestly, I found it a bit tedious to browse through the page and to click deep into the site to get to those FlashPaper documents. So I hacked together a little Central 1.5 application that helps you downloading and managing those slides. I have to polish it up a bit but it'll be available here in the next few days. Stay tuned ;)
The MAX conference is getting nearer, only about two weeks to go. I'll be blogging from MAX of course and have created a new category for it. I've also adjusted my personal agenda for the fifth time or so, but still have the feeling I'll miss important things. Anyway, at least my four sessions have been reduced to two instances so I'll have more time to meet people (most important, my early morning session on Thursday has been cancelled ;)
BTW, for convenience all posts to the MAX category will be aggregated by Christian Cantrell's maxbloggers aggregator