Monthly Archives: September 2009


I put this list together of sessions that I would not miss at Adobe MAX. There are so many great sessions to choose from but this is my biased list:

Flash Player Internals by Lee Thomason
Tour the inner workings of Flash Player through the eyes of one of its architects and see what happens after you’ve written your code. You’ll learn about the rendering model, text engine, new acceleration features, and how Flash Player has evolved for mobile. By knowing what is really going on with Flash Player, you’ll leave with a better intuitive sense of how to build and optimize your applications.

Thoughts: Once you know how player works, you can develop far faster and accomplish the seemingly impossible. Know how player works is what this session is all about.

What’s New in Flex 4 by Ely Greenfield
Come hear why folks are excited about the upcoming release of Flex 4. This session will explore the new component architecture and how skinning, effects, and layouts have been enhanced as a result. Also see how you can leverage new Flash Player 10 capabilities, additional features in Flex 4 that can make you a more productive developer, and much more.

Thoughts: Ely is a great speaker and architect. It is rare to get a glimpse inside a new release of Flex. Flex 4 has changed massively since MAX 2008 and Ely will highlight a years work on the new framework.

FiTC Unconference by Shawn Pucknell

Thoughts: Shawn Pucknell has but together an all star cast for the FiTC unconference. The speaker pool is so good that it will have a long lasting effect on MAX.

Designing Applications for Desktops and Mobile Devices with Adobe AIR by Arno Gourdol
See how Adobe AIR has made it possible for web developers to build cross-platform desktop applications. Learn how the platform is expanding to enable the delivery of applications not just for desktop operating systems, but also for mobile devices.

Thoughts: Miss this session at your peril.

Multi-touch and the Flash Platform by Daniel Dura & Matt Bugbee
Discover what you can do with multi-touch and the Flash Platform. Learn how you can build your own multi-touch table for a fraction of the cost of commercial products. We’ll also discuss an approach to building multi-touch applications for the Flash Platform on these tables that will open up an entire new world of possibilities not only for experimentation, but for your customers and clients as well.

Thoughts: duhhhh!

What’s Coming in Adobe AIR 2 by Christian Cantrell
Adobe AIR allows developers to build rich Internet applications (RIAs) that run outside the browser on multiple operating systems. In this session, you will learn about the planned capabilities of the upcoming release of Adobe AIR 2.

Thoughts: AIR 2 is feature rich and hits many features developers have been asking for. Plus Christian can code like few can and his session will get knee deep into the code on all the new features.

Building Mobile Applications with Adobe AIR by Aditya Bansod
Learn how Adobe is working to bring Adobe AIR development out of the desktop and onto a mobile phone near you. We will cover how the AIR SDK and platform will evolve to add capabilities to help developers mobile enable, test, and publish their content. Mobile computing and mobile applications provide publishers and developers with exciting opportunities to get their products into the pockets of millions of people.

Thoughts: Yup, AIR and Mobile in the same sentence. Miss at your peril!

A Deep Dive into Flex 4 Lists and Layouts by Glenn Ruehle
Explore the power of the List component in Flex 4, and dig deep into the layout mechanism that allows you to create new and interesting components displaying data. It is recommended that you have an understanding of the Spark architecture before attending this session.

Thoughts: Few components are as powerful as List in Flex 4. Glenn is List master and I would not miss this session.

BYOL: Down and Dirty Tricks in Photoshop by Corey Barker
Discover the many design possibilities with Photoshop CS4 Extended by exploring the latest design trends from movies, television, and magazines. This hands-on session will cover using features such as masks, generating selections, and creating jaw-dropping effects the same ones used by leading photographers and designers today.

Thoughts: I suck at Photoshop. Learn from a master hands on.

Hands-On ORM with ColdFusion 9 by Rupesh Kumar & Adam Lehman
One of the most significant additions to ColdFusion is the new object-relational mapping (ORM) framework built in to ColdFusion 9. Powered by the industry-leading Hibernate framework, ColdFusion 9 takes rapid application development to the next level. In this session, you’ll learn the basics of ColdFusion ORM so you can build applications without having to write a single line of SQL. From there you’ll move on to advanced topics like how to leverage complex joins, implement transaction management, and effectively use interceptors.

Thoughts: CF9 ORM kicks ass. It makes writing db apps on cf simple and bomb-proof. Learn from the team that made this happen.

Things Every Flash Developer Should Know by Grant Skinner
Join Grant Skinner as he shares critical knowledge on a variety of aspects of ActionScript development, drawing from over a decade of experience working with Flash. This session will focus on techniques, workflows, philosophies, and mental models that are important to understand but difficult to learn from a book or website. While this session is targeted at beginner and intermediate attendees, experienced developers may find a lot of value in comparing approaches and learning new techniques.

Thoughts: Please it’s Grant. You will learn a ton.

MAX Day 1 & Day 2 Keynotes
Thoughts: You would be a fool to miss this years keynotes!


Thoughts: Sneaks is going to be so good. The team has been working around the clock getting demos ready. The force is strong with our team and It should be great fun. We also have a top secret special guest joining us to help sort the strong ones! Miss sneaks and you will have to answer to me!🙂

So that is my biased list of sessions not to miss at MAX. I am pretty sure most of these will be at capacity so make sure to add them to your scheduler!

And if you are not registered, get it in gear and sign up today at MAX.ADOBE.COM!

See you at MAX!


Learning Flex 4 … from scratch!

Given I was away from Flex for a year working on Community programs, I have found myself needing to learn Flex 4 from scratch! ( I know it is hard to believe but I need to learn Flex 4 too! ). Last week and weekend I took my first steps into Flex 4 and although it is similar to Flex 2 & 3 there is a ton of new things to learn. The new Spark framework, new components, layout behavior, graphics tags, styling, and states syntax can be overwhelming but they add a ton of great features to Flex. Where to start?

Instead of learning Flex 4 privately I am planning to post the things I learn and examples as I learn Flex 4. I am sure I will make mistakes and stumble through learning Flex 4 but I am in the same boat as many developers and learning the new features is really important. So here is the plan:

1. Finish MAX! There is still lots to do and I am focused. No Flex 4 till after MAX!

2. Starting Oct 19 the week I return I will post one demo a week focused on a particular feature(s) or component ( I added a recurring calendar item to blog each Tuesday like clockwork! No missing a week! )

3. Until I run out of features most likely post release!

It is really refreshing learning new stuff and I am very excited to be diving into Flex 4 as the release heads toward the next beta. I am looking forward to learning and sharing what I find.

Go Flex 4! Woot!



ps. yes the big flex logo is back!

FlexPMD – Finding worst practices in your projects

A new project at Adobe was released yesterday as Open Source Software, FlexPMD. The project runs a set of extensible rules over your AS3 or Flex source to detect bad coding practices and raise awareness that these issues exist. This is especially important for team development projects where code is being edited in mass and quality practices become essential.

The rule set within FlexPMD is extensible and you should customize rules to fit your project. If you want to detect undocumented methods or enforce naming conventions, feel free to write a rule for that, and better still share the rule (FlexPMD is open source).

Here is the FlexPMD Ruleset Creator. It is a Flex app that lets you export a set of rules custom to your app needs.

Once you have run FlexPMD against your project, you can load the output into the PMD Violations viewer to see all the issues.

FlexPMD also supports Hudson integration so with every build tests are run automatically and the team has a scorecard of quality throughout development. Seeing projects from this point of view really changes your perspective. I know on the Adobe Professional Services team FlexPMD has enabled teams to see deep within very large projects.

My favorite feature of FlexPMD is flagging unused code. It is so easy to create a variable or method that goes unused. Detecting these within your project is hard and deleting a method always feels like a risk unless you really know it is unused. Having a tool to flag these is great and better still it gives me the confidence to delete methods and properties with impunity.

I would like to thank Xavier Agnetti and the Adobe Professional Services team for making FlexPMD possible. Also there are a vast number of people who were involved in making this project open source within Adobe. It is really great seeing so many developers explore their projects from a quality perspective today over Twitter. I know that FlexPMD will have a long term impact on the quality of apps on the platform and help take things to the next level.