Looking back at 2011… and ahead to 2012…

Twenty-Eleven was a stand out year for me. In my professional life, I had three books published in addition to co-authoring a DVD workshop along with two smaller video courses. Considering I’ve never had my writing or video recordings published before this- it’s a pretty big deal for me. Working with Packt, O’Reilly, Adobe Press/Peachpit, and video2brain was an interesting experience. There are definite differences between how each publisher operates and the methods of communication that occur during the different phases of writing, recording, and publication. It’s been enlightening.

I was fortunate enough to also speak at some great conferences: D2WC, the AEL Institute, Ignite Denver, Adobe MAX, COLTT, WCET, FITC @ MAX, and a bunch of smaller user group (notably RMAUG) and educational events. Speaking gives a person the opportunity to share some bit of their life and work which, through the preparatory process, has been organized and refined into something others can understand. While speaking is almost always a good experience – it really is the networking aspect of these events that I find so likable.

This was my 3rd year as an Adobe Education Leader and my first as an Adobe Community Professional. Many, if not all of my recent successes have been due to interactions with the people I’ve met from both of these wonderful groups. Even with huge shake-ups over the year in both groups… and even in Adobe as a whole [not going to re-hash all that here] – I still feel very fortunate to be able to contribute to these two communities and continue to work with Adobe in whichever ways are most appropriate to my position and interests.

There is a cost to everything, of course. The price I paid was to have a good chunk of the year pass by in what seems like seconds. I feel as though I’ve missed out on some of the more domestic areas of life and this saddens me. I’ve certainly learned some lessons about resource management and the value of setting aside time for myself.

In Twenty-Twelve, I want to cut back somewhat… I plan to attempt to do so, anyhow. Currently, I have two book projects and a major video training already in the works and plan to do some smaller projects as well. I have a few speaking engagements lined up, including D2WC and 360|Flex. Even with a lot of these projects and events already set, I don’t plan on being overwhelmed as I was this past year. I believe the trick is to space things out in manageable ways… and avoid project overlap… when possible. I also hope to have time for more artistic endeavors. With a renewed interest in photography and having had no time for any audio production and composition over the past year, I’m ready to move ahead in this area.

The theme, for me, of the next year is going to be one of balance. Balance of time and projects as I’ve already written above… but also more precisely a professional balance between Flash Platform solutions and those solutions that involve web standards like HTML/CSS/JavaScript. Back at the beginning of my career, I started out as a web designer doing mostly HTML, CSS, layout, and imaging. As Flash became a more capable platform, it became more desirable for me to expand my work in that direction and I learned and grew along with it. I am a huge champion of the Flash Platform and will remain such in Twenty-Twelve. However, this does not exclude my continued work in the field of web standards… the maturity of these technologies and emergence of tooling around them. I’m also hoping to swing back more into the design side of things as well- have been in strict development mode for far too long.

In the past couple years, even with this manufactured battle between Flash and web standards raging in the forefront, I’ve always tried to bring the perspective of balance in the relationship that exists between all of these technologies and platforms. I’ve held the opinion that they are complimentary… that the web is big enough and open enough for a myriad of technologies. The exclusionary and elitist attitude I’ve seen among developers and designers over the past couple years is directly contrary to what I’ve always imagined was among the core ideals behind the world wide web.

My wider hope for Twenty-Twelve is that we will see less of this. It isn’t helping anyone to tear people down for their technology of choice or to exclude them from building great experiences. Let’s continue to work together to move the web forward and experiment with whichever creative technologies we feel the strongest affinity toward. Don’t cut others down for their choice of tools. Don’t chastise them for not “moving on” or “branching out”… and don’t chastise anyone for doing so either. We have the freedom to make such choices- to downplay individual choice is to downplay what makes this field such an extraordinary one.

Peace to you all in this New Year.

2 comments

  1. Congratulations on all the books. I hope all the work you put into those will pay huge dividends.

    Regarding the animosity around languages: I think it’s natural that people who put so much time and effort into becoming proficient at a language will evangelize it to the point of being insulting toward people who make different choices. But I wish we – developers – thought of ourselves as artists and our languages as our tools for creating art. I don’t see artists insulting each other over their choice of brush or paint. Or am I just naive?

    1. You bring up a good point. This sort of animosity bleeds into all areas of human life. Artists are definitely not excluded and, frankly, the venom I’ve seen in those circles dwarfs petty developer squabbles to an extreme. Some of those arguments can reach levels of viciousness that manifest into physical violence!

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