Server Side ActionScript in ColdFusion: The VIDEO

After MAX 2008 in San Francisco, I went on vacation, so I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get this uploaded.

However, I've finally uploaded a video of the ColdFusion sneak peek from MAX 2008, showing the server side ActionScript functionality in ColdFusion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uImhKFhwAu0

CFConversations 11, Roundtable 5 is out!

With CFUnited quite a few weeks in the past and 10 episodes under our belt, it was time for another roundtable! We brought it back in style we've gathered 8 stellar participants including:

We had a lively podcast this time, with some great content that covers a wide range of topics.

Bob Flynn announced bFusion and bFlex, where you can get two days of free hands-on training in Flex and ColdFusion at Indiana University. We also discussed the educational licensing and whether or not Bob and Richard (from Gallaudet University) thought it would make a difference at their schools.

From education, we moved onto the hiring space. As you probably know, Sean's company, Broadchoice has been hiring several top developers recently, including Ray Camden, Joe Reinhart, Nicholas Lierman and Brian Kotek, and Sean shared his technique for hiring top talent that appears to be working. Note: This was recorded before it was announced that Brian Kotek also joined Broadchoice).

Next, Sean talked a bit about the CFML Advisory Board. I announced that a new vendor-neutral site to promote the CFML language is in development. I pulled the domain name from the podcast because, well, we're not quite ready to completely open it up to the general public yet (the basics are up). If you are really interested in helping out, use the contact form and I'll tell you more.

We asked Mark Mandel how he felt about ColdFusion 9's Hibernate functionality vs. his Transfer ORM. We all chimed in about other ColdFusion 9 functionality, and talked a bit about alternative editors and search tools.

We also covered the hot topic of SQL injection, including a free tool from HP called scrawlr and a project called Query Param Scanner.

We did a "final thoughts on CFUnited. Some of the things we had covered on previous roundtables, but there were a few new things.

We also talked about the Railo 3 beta (now in Release Candidate) and progress on Open BlueDragon releases.

Sean and Adam closed out the episode with a fairly big announcement that should have been made by now, so we sneaked it in! You'll have to listen to the podcast to know what it is.

Find the episode here.

Run time: 1:36:37

Promoting ColdFusion BOF - Larry Clarkin of Microsoft's take

I am due for a longer post on the Promoting ColdFusion Outside the ColdFusion Community Birds of a Feather (BOF) from MAX 2007 Chicago, but I thought I would post this in the meantime.

Larry Clarkin of Microsoft was kind enough to participate in the BOF, at the suggestion of fellow user group manager and Seneca College Illustration - Technical graduate Luke Kilpatrick. He wrote up a nice blog post about the BOF and the ColdFusion community in general:

http://larryclarkin.com/MicrosoftGuyAtAColdfusionBOFSession.aspx

A few people asked me if I would be at MAX in Barcelona or Tokyo. Unfortunately, no, I am not in Barcelona, and I won't be at MAX Japan, but I hope that others will carry the promoting ColdFusion torch there for me!

ColdFusion in the Enterprise BOF: Takeaways

This entry has been updated...

I have now made several blog posts on my Promoting ColdFusion Outside of the ColdFusion Community Birds of a Feather (BOF), but I have yet to post on my ColdFusion in the Enterprise BOF.  I thought I'd correct that, as there were some interesting things that came out of that as well.

This BOF went a different direction than I expected.  A great deal of the hour focussed on the problems enterprise application providers have selling ColdFusion solutions.  There are many IT teams that just won't allow ColdFusion, mostly due to a lack of knowledge on how to support it.  Even though solution providers can produce apps that can be deployed on J2EE servers, the additional price tag of a CF license is a big barrier in many cases.  There has been some change going on, especially with CFMX 7 and CF 8 have been released, but the problem still exists, and it's not likely to go away any time soon.  Some desire was expressed to see a new kind of ColdFusion publishing license which might make it easier to sell a ColdFusion application, bundled with an application specific ColdFusion deployment on J2EE servers, may really help allow more companies develop solutions written in ColdFusion.  It was mentioned that BlueDragon's license does allow this, but I got the distinct impression that the people in attendance specifically want to see this kind of license from Adobe.

There was some discussion in the political game fought in many companies on getting ColdFusion in the enterprise.  When the productivity gains were shown to many IT managers in proof of concepts and prototypes, ColdFusion got the go-ahead, but there has been a wave of standardization seen in many IT organizations, and these often focus around .NET.  Microsoft's marketing monolith often penetrates companies and tries to eliminate all other solutions, but .NET can't match the productivity of ColdFusion and there are often rogues that won't give up CF no matter how hard pressure comes in from the upper echelons of management, due to their successes using ColdFusion.

There was another BOF that tackled ColdFusion Developer Hiring 101, but this BOF also tackled the difficulties in finding good ColdFusion developers.  Some have resorted to hiring out of college or hired experienced developers with no ColdFusion experience and teaching them ColdFusion on the job, often with very good results.  I think this is a technique many other companies should try and was encouraged by the positive results others have experienced.

Update - Ryan Thompson-Jewell also suggested I neglected to mention... that we need the ability to administer multiple ColdFusion servers/instances from a single point of entry. For example, if you have to add a datasource to ten servers, you make a change in a central place and the change propagates across the server farm. Being able to do it through an AIR application would be nice. I was expecting to hear more about integration with other systems, and this was touched upon, as well as team and environment setup, as well as APIs, web services and other enterprise issues, but we didn't get in them as much as I thought we would.  The big takeaways were:

  • A CF Publishing License - Solution providers want a new kind of publishing license that would allow companies to bundle ColdFusion with their software without the big price tag.
  • Office Politics - ColdFusion often faces a tough road against infrastructure and management.  This is often fought with proof of productivity gains that ColdFusion brings.
  • Good Developers can become Good CF Developers - Finding college grads and seasoned developers in another language and teaching them ColdFusion seems to meet with some success.
  • Central Administration Tool (Updated) - To allow administrators to make changes in a server farm from one central place and propagate the changes automatically.

Thanks to everyone that participated in this BOF! It certainly was a good one!

MAX 2007 - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I returned from MAX 2007 late Wednesday night, and it took me a few days to recover.  I was physically, mentally and even a little emotionally exhausted from the experience.   I have finally posted posts on my "Promoting ColdFusion..." BOF, but I thought I'd better do my review of the conference in the classic Good, Bad and Ugly format before the work week got started, and I got busy in catch-up mode at the office.

The Good

  • Size - The size of the conference exceeded my expectations.  It was the biggest MAX conference ever, and it felt that way.  Never have I seen so many people in one place as excited about Adobe products as I am.
  • The Keynotes - The announcement of the acquisition of Buzzword (with a demo) and the demonstrations of Thermo and Cocomo blew me away.
  • Flex - It's taken me almost four years, but I have finally drank the Flex Kool-Aid.  I was and have been involved in Flex from the beginning, but I never got to do much with the betas, and I never saw the full potential of Flex until now.  I spent a great deal of my time at MAX learning Flex and more about how to use Flex.  I am especially excited of the new applications I can build with ColdFusion and Flex.  It's a very good time to be both a Flex and a ColdFusion developer.
  • AIR - I spent a lot of time learning more about AIR, too.  I see the potential with AIR, and plan to start working on some proof of concept applications.
  • Sneak Peeks - As always, the Sneak Peeks didn't disappoint.  That was even more true this time.  The Flash C/C++ stuff was amazing, and the image manipulation stuff is also cool (although I had seen that already).
  • The Pavilion - Unlike past MAX conferences I attended, they kept the developer pavillion open the entire three days (although it should have been open ALL day).  I hung out in the community lounge in between sessions, and it was great as always.  Thanks to Ed, Christine, Jonathan and the rest of the Developer Relations team for doing a fantastic job with the lounge.  Putting the desserts near the lounge was also a good idea.
  • The Networking/Camaraderie - This is the best reason to go to MAX, and it didn't disappoint this time.  There are a lot of people you only get to see at conferences, and it was good to see many of those people again at MAX.
  • The BOFs - OK, I am a little biased. I hosted two Birds of a Feather, but they were a great thing. That said, I have a major gripe which I'll list below.
  • The Booze - OK, I can appreciate that this is not for everyone, but there was an abundant supply of alcohol at several times during the conference, and it was paid for.  That was welcomed. I promise that I didn't over endulge, too much...
  • The Food - There was a lot of food, and it was possible for me to only buy food twice during the conference, yet still eat plenty.
The Bad
  • Distances and the Venue - The size of MAX, along with the venue, came with a cost.  The conference was strewn across a large area, and there were no moving sidewalks, elevators or carts to move people from one side of the conference to the other.  I often had to go from one end of the conference to the other between sessions, which involved three escalators, and walking long distances, while fighting through the crowds, acquaintances, and the problems of lugging your stuff back and forth.  Most of the time, you couldn't make it in fifteen minutes, and there were times when I changed my schedule around just so I didn't have to deal with it.  I think, if the facility is as large and there are as many people at the next MAX, I'd recommend a 20 minute break between sessions, or carts to bring people from one place to another faster than walking to cut down on the times to get from one end of the conference to the other.
  • The Event - Whenever I go to MAX, I look forward to getting to see some attraction in the host city during the event.  That didn't happen this time.  I found the things they had were lame, and I wasn't interested in any of them.  Some of the food was decent, while other food wasn't or there wasn't enough available of it.  What's more - they charged $100 for guests.  I know one CFer who didn't bother to attend because it meant an extra $100 for his wife.  And you know what?  He was right.  It wasn't worth $100.  I heard they were trying to get into Soldier Field, which would have been cool, but doing an event at McCormick was a letdown.
  • Conference Schedule - I have two old friends that live in Chicago, and it's been nearly four years since I've seen them, and I was REALLY looking forward to seeing them again while I was in Chicago.  My schedule, which was probably busier than your typical attendee (with the community leader dinner on Sunday night and the BOFs on Monday night (I hosted two of them) left me with no downtime and I didn't get to see them at all. If I had known Tuesday's event was going to be as lame as it was, I would have tried to see them then.  Instead, I left Chicago without seeing them, and I am sure they were pretty disappointed.  I know I was.  If I had been able to stay past Wednesday, I may have felt differently.
  • Busing between hotels - Buses ran anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, which made going back and forth from the hotel and the conference difficult at best.  It took nearly an hour on Wednesday morning to get to the conference.  I got there in time to make my Flex Camp session, but not in time for breakfast.  Hotels that were closer would have been a better alternative.
  • The Food - Wait - food was in the Good. What gives? Well, some of it wasn't the greatest. Actually, not all of the food was bad.  Some of it was VERY good.  I particularly loved the Shrimp Alfredo and the Jalapeno and cheese pretzels.  However, food was inconsistent, some of it was terrible and the snacks were almost always high carb.  I would have appreciated cheese and other low-carb offerings, particularly during snack times.  Worst of all, the food and drink was almost always taken away too early.  Thirty minutes was not enough time for food breaks.  You should have been able to get something whenever you wanted it.  If you were in a hands-on session, you would miss the food break altogether. Food was taken away FAR too early during the event. When the food left, most of the crowd left, myself included.
  • AIR Park - That sucked.  It should have been combined with the pavilion.  I spent almost no time there, and Ted's hype that there would be grass in AIR Park... well, it was astroturf.  Big deal.  There didn't seem to be anything good going on there.
  • Promoting the BOFs - The MAX team did a very poor job at promoting the Birds of a Feather sessions. The only thing that was official was on our chairs at the keynote, but there was nothing beyond that, and the registration and information desks didn't have anything on them until *I* asked for them. After I inquired, they re-printed them and had copies... but if you missed it on the back of page 4, you probably didn't know about the BOFs. This was a gross oversight, and something I hope will not be repeated again.
The Ugly
  • Wireless and wired internet access - That's the only way I can say it - UGGGLLLYYY.  You usually couldn't get a signal, and if you could, the connection speeds were abysmal.  That was why I didn't blog, and had a really hard time dealing with work, as I couldn't function within the VPN if I was able to get connected.  I also wasn't impressed that the internet access wasn't free at the hotels.  I understand three star+ hotels usually charge you, but it would have been nice if it had been given away for a technology conference like MAX.
  • The L Trains (Subway) - Getting to the conference from O'Hare was a pain.  Everyone told us that it was easiest to get to the conference center from O'Hare using the train, but there was construction on the Blue Line, and you couldn't get to the Red Line from the Blue Line.  We gave up and got a cab from the Clark and Lake station.  It took us two hours to get to the conference from O'Hare, and it would have been a lot longer had we not given up on the trains.  More than that, the trains were filled with homeless people.  When it was time to get back to the airport, we decided to take a cab instead, and ran into rush hour traffic.  We got there with time to spare, even with rush hour traffic (thanks to our cab driver, who was obviously experienced working Chicago rush hour traffic), but not without some white knuckles.  Other than providing shuttles to the airport, I don't know what Adobe could have done to prevent this, but it was a pain anyway.

Would I recommend MAX? YES... absolutely.  Even with the Bad and the Ugly, I'd still give the conference as a whole an A.  Quite honestly, you expect problems when you go to one this big, and the problems I experienced were relatively minor. The conference, as a whole, was VERY well organized. If you are a developer using Adobe products, you really should try to get to one of these.

BOF: Promoting ColdFusion to Education

My apologies to the Education group if I seemed critical in a prior post. I should have been more understanding. I was getting a little antsy to post the results based on all the inquiries I have been getting. I should have waited a little longer.

I now have the results on "Promoting ColdFusion Outside the ColdFusion Community" which focussed on Education, and it was well worth the wait! Here are the results:

  1. Find areas outside of traditional Comp Sci programs to promote within education. - How depends on the type of school.
  2. Get user groups and community members involved with local schools.
    • Teach younger. Target high school students.
    • Encourage ColdFusion User Group managers to contact local schools and let them know about ColdFusion resources in the community.
    • Find dates for "career days" and present.

    Awareness - Schools are teaching students PHP and/or ASP at the high school level in many districts. As in all other areas of CF promotion, awareness is key. We should communicate the benefits of ColdFusion to the education sector in order to increase the penetration of ColdFusion in the Enterprise. This will not only help to improve the public perception of CF, but will also increase the number of junior-level developers available over time, helping to alleviate the current shortage of talented developers. So, how do we go about doing this?

    Microsoft - One of the largest barriers to entry at schools is the fact that Microsoft has a very active education evangelism program for their technologies. Most school districts have a district-level technology coordinator who is in contact with a Microsoft Education Evangelist regularly. User group managers or active community members need to get in contact with the district technology coordinator and discuss the benefits of using ColdFusion; Ease of use, low learning curve, declarative language, runs on Java, etc.

    Educational Pricing - We also need to highlight the pricing that is available for educational institutions. Current educational pricing saves around 50% per server license, so around $850 for the standard edition. Hosted ColdFusion accounts are a minimal-cost alternative to installing servers that can be offset by lab fees per student. We should contact hosting companies to see if any of them offer discounted hosting for educational institutions and help to disseminate that information.

    Curriculum - There is already courseware available for teaching ColdFusion. What resources are available for teachers to use without having to jump through hoops? The current Certified Instructor program is not feasible for most teachers, simple because of the monetary and time constraints they have. Are there other options? Can we develop a curriculum geared toward students in high school / college that would be available for a reasonable price?

  3. Job training programs and continuing education, Economic Development Councils
  4. Social Networking - Students use social networking sites. Find a social networking site to tie CF apps to early in the adoption cycle and build CF stuff on top of their APIs.

Since (it appears) that Buzzword does not yet you publish a document (that might be inaccurate), I have posted the results in this Google Doc:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcdhg6m6_12hgh7gm

A big thank you goes out to the group that tackled Education. This team included fellow user group managers Zach Stepek, Mike Cooper (who now runs the Cleveland AUG), Nick Kwiatkowski and Adobe Community Expert Rob Brooks-Bilson, among others. Thanks for these great recommendations!

BOF: Promoting ColdFusion to non-ColdFusion Developers

Here is the strategy that the non-ColdFusion developers group came up with during the Birds of a Feather I hosted at MAX called "Promoting ColdFusion Outside of the ColdFusion Community".

  • Build demo apps
    • look at Yahoo! UI stuff, integration with Amazon.com web services, etc.--anything that shows how you do things in Java, PHP, .NET, etc.--we should duplicate this in CF
      • we as a community should take this on
      • put this on RIAForge
    • show CF integration capabilities
      • ease of integration with Java, .NET, Exchange
        • be aware of holes in this area
    • promote popular application types (blogging, bulletin boards, etc.) written in CF
    • promote CF 8 code snippet server running on Adobe's servers
    • place to host demo apps--free hosting from HostMySite.com?
  • Need single place to point people to get going with CF
    • gotcfm.com
    • promote blog aggregators--MXNA, FeedSquirrel, cfbloggers.org
    • promote user groups
  • Create place that responds to common objections and myths
    • ties in with #2
Thanks to the group that came up with this strategy! The team included, among others, fellow CFUG managers Charlie Arehart, Matt Woodward and Rob Munn. I didn't keep notes on who was in what group, so if you participated in this group or any of the others, thank you so much!!!

BOF: Promoting ColdFusion Outside of the ColdFusion Community - Interim Report

There have been a number of people that have expressed interest in my MAX BOF called "Promoting ColdFusion Outside of the ColdFusion Community" and have wanted to hear what the results of them were.

To clarify the BOF, and considering that we only had an hour, we only focussed on community efforts, not Adobe's.

I started off the BOF with a PowerPoint outlining the ground rules and giving instructions. You can find my PowerPoint here:

http://www.brianmeloche.com/blog/enclosures/PromotingColdFusionBOF.ppt

The people in the BOF then voted on what audiences they felt were the most important audiences to target the messages.  There were two standouts:  IT management and non-ColdFusion developers.  Several other audiences tied for third.  The attendees split into three groups:  One focussed on IT Management, one on non-ColdFusion developers, while the third was given the option which audience they would target.  That group picked Education as their audience.

The first group, IT Management, seemed to have some trouble coming to an agreement on things (from my outside perspective) and seemed to argue when coming up with the ideas, which didn't follow my instructions.  They produced a collection of ideas, found here:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcdhg6m6_10hp2tsg

Unfortunately, they were unable to take it to completion and develop the strategy.  I'll give those team members access to the document, as a chance to continue to develop the strategy as time allows.

The second group, non-ColdFusion developers, were able to follow the process and came up with a strategy, which can be found here:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcdhg6m6_11gvphp6

To my knowledge, the third group, focussed on education, were also able to develop a strategy.  Unfortunately, they did not follow what I did and use Google Docs.  Instead, they used Buzzword.  Now, I wholeheartedly support using Buzzword, except that I don't yet have access to their results, so I can't publish the results at this time.  I have tried contacting the person who took the notes, but to no avail.  I had waited long enough, so I decided to post what I have from the other two groups.

When I get the results of the education group, I'll post them here.

The BOF was a success, although not a complete one. We didn't have enough time, and we didn't get to do what I wanted: Use post-it notes, sharpies and white boards to write down the ideas.  If I get a chance to do this BOF again, I'll ask for more time and have the needed materials. I'll also dictate how the results would be collected, so we don't have another group 3 (where we're still waiting on the results.)

I am going to follow up this blog post with the results from the non-ColdFusion developers group.

I've made it to MAX!

I am writing this from MAX 2007. I am currently in Flex 3 with ColdFusion training class, along with Laura from the office, and Igor, a CF developer Laura used to work with that we met up with on the plane.

The flight in this morning was uneventful, and I even had time to eat something (rare for me to be so early... I'll give credit to my wife for her incredible punctuality for getting me to Hopkins with plenty of time to spare.

We ran into some problems getting here from O'Hare. We took the Blue Line train, but due to construction on the line, we were stopped dead for about 15 minutes. We also couldn't get on our regular red line from where we were. We got off the train at Clark/Lake, and, thankfully, we were able to get a cab the rest of the way.

By the time we got through registration, and used the coat check to check in our bags, the continental breakfast consisted of cold decaf, Sprite and watermelon... but I'm here!!!

I'll be staying at the Palmer House Hilton, for those of you who want to look me up. I haven't checked in over there yet.

It's going to be a busy few days!!!

Name change on BOF: Promoting ColdFusion outside of the CF Community

The name for the 9:30pm BOF I am hosting has been changed. It is now called "Promoting ColdFusion outside of the CF Community." This was originally titled, "Fixing ColdFusion Perceptions and Reputation." We'll cover the same ground.

We have some excellent panelists: Simon Horwith, Charlie Arehart, Rob Munn, Terry Ryan, Nick Kwiatkowski and Mark Kruger, and me (also host). I am still looking for one or two more. Particularly, I'd love a non-CF developer on the panel.

If interested, email me at brianmeloche at gmail dot com.

I am hosting two CF-Related BOF's at MAX 2007!

VERY VERY COOL!!!

I am pleased to announce that I will be hosting two important Birds of a Feather at MAX 2007 in Chicago.

They are titled "ColdFusion in the Enterprise" and, one that is near and dear to my heart, "Fixing ColdFusion Perceptions and Reputation".

"ColdFusion in the Enterprise" is scheduled Monday, October 1st at 8:30pm in Room 185C, and that's followed by "Fixing ColdFusion Perceptions and Reputation" Monday at 9:30pm in Room 184D.

I am pumped! This will be my first (and second) BOFs at a conference, so I am very excited I'll be able to host!

I WILL be at MAX 2007

I was supposed to be at CFUnited this year... but circumstances, both work and personal, got in the way, and I didn't end up going. I never booked the conference, though...

Well, that's not going to be the case for MAX.

For the fourth time, I will be attending MAX this year. I am all booked - conference, training on Sunday, hotel and flight. I will not be making a vacation out of it, like I have in past years, as my wife will probably not be coming to Chicago with me.

I will be staying at the Palmer House Hilton, which is one of the three official hotels for the conference.

MAX looks like it is going to be a fantastic conference, and I am looking forward to it. Hopefully, I'll come up with something to top my last MAX (see the related entries for a hint of that).

Not attending MAX 2006 this year...

Due to work commitments, I cannot attend MAX 2006 this year.

We're grossly short staffed on the web - I am the only web developer on staff right now (we normally have three) and the company can't afford to send me because of it. I understand. I am disappointed, but not exactly surprised. Like last year, the hope was that my wife would come with me, and we'd make a vacation out of it. Unfortunately, with my wife's recent surgery and her being off work for more than a month (returning this past week), that wasn't going to happen. After my last co-worker jumped ship, I knew it was going to be impossible to go.

However, my colleague, Ray Taloyo is going instead. They already registered one guy, who also can't go... so they're sending Ray instead. If you see him, say hello.

I look forward to hearing all about what's going on in Vegas next week. That makes me 0 for all conferences this year. I didn't make CFObjective, Spring <BR />, CFUNITED or MAX. Hopefully, I'll be able to attend next year.

New Fusion Authority article

My latest article is up at FusionAuthority.com. This one is about a program called Crystal Xcelsius. I met with the them at MAX 2005, when the company was Infommersion. Since then, the company was purchased by Business Objects, makers of Crystal Reports.

MAX 2005 - Day 2 pics

Yes, I know that these are a long time coming... but here are pictures from Day 2 at MAX. Included are pics from the Day 2 keynote, the Sneak Peeks, and the event. Included are some pics of my fellow user group managers Lisa, Jeff, Todd and Matt, and also Gabriella of Macromedia at the bottom of the following page:

http://homepage.mac.com/bmeloche/PhotoAlbum6.html

Enjoy!!!

Monday Night in Hollywood

I have finally gotten around to posting some of our many pictures from the trip to California for MAX.

http://homepage.mac.com/bmeloche/PhotoAlbum5.html

These were taken by my wife and I on the Monday night of MAX. We went into Hollywood to take in the sights. My wife's big on 80's rock bands (especially Motley Crue), and pictured some the outside of the legendary bars they used to frequent, including the Whisky and the infamous Viper Room, where River Phoenix died.

Enjoy!

Big News from MAX 2005

With the Adobe acquisition imminent, many attendees thought MAX 2005 would simply be remembered as the last Macromedia conference. Macromedia, on the other hand, thought they would give us more... a lot more.

MAX 2005 will be remembered as a critical point in time for Macromedia, perhaps in web development in general, where the company took steps to make an already close relationship with its developer community even closer, pushed rich internet applications to the developer masses, and paved a direction for Macromedia that will continue long after Adobe takes over the company. Macromedia made bold moves and made big news, especially for a company about to be sold.

Although it was downplayed in the keynote, Macromedia announced something groundbreaking. The company debuted the Macromedia Labs website:

http://labs.macromedia.com

According to Macromedia Chief Software Architect Kevin Lynch, Macromedia Labs "provides an early look at emerging technologies". Labs will be the place to find information and downloads for products, toolkits and new ideas from Macromedia engineering teams. Labs will be the place for developers who want to be on the cutting edge and have early access to new technologies, to be able to learn and evaluate them for upcoming projects or for career and knowledge development.

Everything on Labs will be experimental - works in progress, and should be treated as such. Some of what will be featured on Labs may become new products, or become part of an existing product, while others may not ever make it into a release cycle.

Labs will allow developers to be a greater part of the collaboration process, as products are still being created, rather than being involved in beta programs or after a full release, when it is too late to change features of a product.

As a part of the introduction of Macromedia Labs, the entire new Flex 2 product line Alpha-quality software was released to anyone that wants it.

During the Day 1 keynote, Macromedia CEO Steven Elop outlined the Flash Platform Roadmap, which includes the Flex 2 product line, All of these products within the Flex 2 product line were made available for download on the Macromedia Labs website.

The Flex 2 product line includes the following:

Flex Framework 2 - Includes the programming model, core application services, and class library for rich Internet applications. This will allow developers who have Flex Builder to be able to develop Flex applications without the need for the Flex server (now called Flex Enterprise Services).

Flex Builder 2 - In this release, the previous Dreamweaver engine has been replaced with an all new Eclipse-based IDE, code named Zorn. There are two versions of Zorn - one is a standalone IDE, the other is a plug-in for Eclipse. Although the price has not been made official, they publicly stated that the price will be "less than $1,000". Having Flex Builder 2 and the Flex Framework will allow developers to publish .swf files compiled by the Flex Framework without the need of the Flex server, as was previously the case in Flex 1.0/1.5.

Flex Enterprise Services 2 - J2EE-based runtime services that enable enterprise-class rich Internet applications.

Flex Charting Components 2 - Extensible charting and graphing components for data visualization in Flex applications.

ActionScript 3.0 - ECMAScript-standard object-oriented programming language. Flash Player 8.5 and Flex 2 will use the new version of ActionScript. It was also announced that Flash 8 Professional and Studio owners would be given updates to Flash to allow developers to leverage AS3.

Flash Player 8.5 - This new version of the player will take advantage of the new ActionScript 3. The player is also designed with significant performance increases in mind.

Flex 2 ColdFusion Adapter - The adapter will allow ColdFusion developers to use Flex technologies, without the need for the Flex server, to build rich Internet applications. This was downplayed in the keynote, but it's going to make it really easy to develop Flex applications using ColdFusion... and without the Flex server.

During the Day 1 Keynote, Macromedia also announced their next generation Flash player, code named "Apollo". Apollo has been dubbed "The Universal Client". Apollo will be a "Flash + HTML" client, with such planned features as:

- Scripting & Displaying Integration - Data Synchronization - Online/Offline capabilities - Desktop integration - Notification - One-click installation - Update Management - Secure Sandbox

To explain the potential of Apollo, Macromedia Senior Vice President Mike Sundermeyer presented a concept application where a user's entertainment library was fully indexed and integrated with ecommerce, email, messaging, media center and other dynamic content into one intuitive application.

ColdFusion, although not specific demonstrated in the keynote, was mentioned several times during the Day 1 Keynote. Both Macromedia CEO Steven Elop and Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen, who concluded the Day 1 Keynote, clearly stated ColdFusion along with Flex and Flash as the future. The new Flex ColdFusion adapter fits with Macromedia's vision that ColdFusion is the best solution for rich internet application back end development.

In conclusion, MAX 2005 wasn't the end of days for Macromedia. It was a prelude to wonderful new things to come as part of the Adobe family.

Anyone have more pics of my ladies' t-shirt escapade?

One of my fellow user group managers, Andrew Alderson, reminded me that I am missing a picture that was taken BEFORE I put on that shirt.

I know a lot of people took pictures of the incident... so I am hoping at least one of them can send me pics.

If you have more pics of the incident, or know of a website or blog that posted them, please post a comment, or email me: brianmeloche AT gmail.com.

Pics from the Day 1 Keynote - 2 of 2

I finally have the rest of the pics I took at the Day 1 Keynote available here: http://homepage.mac.com/bmeloche/PhotoAlbum4.html

More pics will be available soon for the Day 2 Keynote and the Sneak Peeks.

I will be covering the details of what's on these pics in a later post.

What I did for $80 at MAX...

By popular demand... I was trying to work on my entries chronologically, but these pics had to get up there...

On the last day of the conference, Ed Sullivan of Macromedia Developer Relations, manager of the user group program, and fellow user group manager Jeff Small dared me $80 to put on a ladies' medium Macromedia Labs t-shirt... well, I am not about to turn down a dare like that...


Jared helping me put on a shirt that's just not going to get on much further!


It's on... and I am so sexy!!!

Hey! What can I say? I needed the money!!! Yeah, I know I look stupid... and please no comments about how fat I am... I already know that - dumb a$$!!! But it was funny as heck... I made people laugh... and it was the easiest $80 I have ever made!

EDIT: I neglected to say in the original post that I actually kept that shirt on for the rest of the day (under the shirt I was wearing)...

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