Autumn 2012 Presentations

I have a lot of presentations coming up for the next two months and it’s often helpful to high-lite them in a blog post like this. Normally at this time of the year, I detail all of the Adobe MAX related sessions I’m involved with… and we all know that ain’t happening. In place of MAX this year, I have the following to look forward to!

I am quite EXCITED for all of these!!!

October 24 2012 | 7:00pm MT: Ignite Denver 12

Absinthe: Artistic Rituals, Intestinal Parasites, and Psychoactive Madness!
Denver, Colorado

An artistic muse, drinking rituals for snobs, multi-functional health tonic, or the bane of sanity? Absinthe is perhaps the most misunderstood spirit in history – one thing is for sure though… it is absolutely delicious if you can find the genuine thing. Learn all about “la fée verte” and her sordid history! Let’s louche!

October 25 2012 | 5:00pm ET: Hawaii Flash User Group

Getting Familiar with Adobe Edge Animate
Worldwide via Connect

With the rising popularity of using HTML & Friends for motion and basic activity on the web – wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool with familiar controls and workflow concepts that could be leveraged toward the creation of such content?

Edge Animate is a new tool from Adobe which targets HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to create the kind of compelling web experiences people have gotten used to (through use of the Adobe Flash Player); but with the ability to target the native browser environment across desktops and devices regardless of plugin support.

This session aims to provide a solid overview of Edge Animate as a tool – and also place useful comparisons to similar applications such as Flash Professional, InDesign, and After Effects, when appropriate.

November 9 2012 | 2:10pm ET: Adobe Education Exchange Live (alongside DesignThinkers)

VideoManager: Using Flash® Technology and HTML5 together for University Media Consumption and Distribution
Toronto, Canada

VideoManager emerged at the University of Denver from the need to organize all public videos at the university in a central repository to improve tracking, management, and communication. The final outcome is a central web-based video portal used to showcase all significant public university videos.

This session is an overview of the University of Denver VideoManager application and covers:

  • Technologies involved; HTML5 and Flash Technology working together for an ideal user experience
  • Unique server configuration; ColdFusion, server-based Adobe AIR, and Flash Media Server
  • Usage by university videographers, staff and faculty contributors, and students
  • Expected teaching and learning outcomes

November 13 2012 | 11:00am MT: National Association of Government Webmasters

Getting Familiar with Adobe Edge Tools and Services
Worldwide via Connect

With the rising popularity of HTML & Friends for both motion and interactivity on the web – wouldn’t it be great if there were a set of tools and services with familiar controls and workflow concepts that could be leveraged toward the creation of such content? Wouldn’t it be killer if these tools and services were free of charge?

Edge Animate is one of these new tools from Adobe which targets HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to create the kind of compelling web experiences people have gotten used to (through use of the Adobe Flash Player); but with the ability to target the native browser environment across desktops and devices regardless of plugin support.

This session aims to provide a solid overview of Edge Animate as a creative application – and as part of the wider Edge Tools and Services offering.

Create the Web: A Look Back

I was fortunate to be able to attend the Create the Web event that Adobe put on in San Francisco early last week. During this one day event, Adobe basically revealed their plans for tooling and services around web standards with a series of announcements, walkthroughs, and deep dives. As someone who is heavily invested in the Flash Platform but has also worked extensively in HTML & Friends over an even longer amount of time, I came away from the event with some very positive feelings in the direction they are taking all of this.

Note that some of this post takes on a more journalistic tone than many of my others. If you don’t want to know the more personal details of my trip – you may want to simply skip to the bottom for major take-aways :)

I flew in late Sunday morning from Denver and landed in San Francisco around noon. A quick taxi ride to the Marriot Marquis and I was all checked in. There was nothing on the official schedule for the day or evening, but some of the community people who had traveled to the event were arranging a small get together that evening and I had some time to kill beforehand. Fellow Denver AEL, Matthew Leach, and I decided to walk around the city and explore some of the local attractions. In many ways, San Francisco reminded me of the 16th Street Mall here in Denver – just spread out over a much wider area. Evening was spent with Matthew, Tom Green, Dee Sadler & co., and Doug Winnie; drinks, dinner, and a really interesting trolley ride!

Fun Fact (1): This was my first time back in San Francisco since Adobe MAX 2008!

Fun Fact (2): Same hotel, too!

Monday was the event itself: an entire day (and evening) of presentations and gatherings around Adobe and the web. After a nice little breakfast, I checked into the event and had some nice conversations with a whole assortment of fine people from the general community and from the Adobe and Animate teams.

Doors opened around 10:00 and I was able to get some nice seats up front. The keynote itself started with a good overview of contributions Adobe has made to WebKit, the W3C, jQuery Mobile, and such. It’s actually really impressive that they’ve been able to get features like magazine-type layouts and CSS Shaders into the spec (and into some browsers!) as quickly as they have. An online tool, CSS FilterLab, is available to see a bunch of filters and custom shaders in action – it is quite impressive.

The second half of the keynote was focused on tooling and services. Specifically, a new suite called Edge Tools and Services; Edge Animate, Edge Code, Edge Reflow, Edge Inspect, Edge WebFonts, and PhoneGap Build. This is an entirely new suite of products and services targeting web standards in a way which Adobe has not traditionally been involved in; rapid, transparent development practices, feedback from the community early and often, even including community contributions in core application codebases. It really is what open source Adobe Flex should have been and it is good to see that some have learned a lesson or two from how that was handled. I am excited for this new family of tools and am glad to be a part of it from the very beginning with my work through the Edge Advisory Board.

A presentation on “The Graphical Web” followed the keynote. It was honestly a bit dry… if you’ve have been involved in the Flash community for the past 15 years of so – the immediate takeaway is that the 7 different technologies showcased during the presentation were sort of retreading old areas. It’s great that the web can do a lot of this natively, do not get me wrong – I am happy to see it all coming together, but it is hard to get excited for “new” things you’ve been doing for 10+ years already. Sorry – I am hard to please!

The remainder of the day consisted of time for lunch and a number of sessions focused upon different tools in the new suite and beyond. The session on Animate was very good and including both Sarah Hunt and Lee Brimelow together for this portion was brilliant. One aspect of Animate I’ve always tried to focus on are the similarities with Flash Professional and how simple it is to pick up and just start using this new tool for those already familiar with Flash Pro. The other stand-out session for me included the experimental Pipeline demos from Tara Jane Feener and company. Some really neat web inspection with Chrome… I want to see more of what they are working on!

After the conclusion of the event, a few of us AELs gathered in the hotel lobby to talk about what we’d seen that day. I think all of us came away quite positive from the experience – though questions around how to teach around these tools and services will remain with us for quite some time. The good thing is that many of us are already teaching Animate, Inspect, and the technologies around them… so I’m sure we’ll figure something out :)

That evening, the Animate team threw a sort of release party for Edge Animate 1.0 and I couldn’t be happier to see this go gold! After working on my soon to be published book, Learning Adobe Edge Animate, for over a year now – amidst all of the changes that were thrown in at the strangest times during the production cycle… and some of the most bizarre scheduling I’ve ever seen in my nearly 8 years of Adobe prerelease experience: again… I could not be happier.

The great thing on top of this is that the final product really is a killer application. It’s fun to use and even after working with it so closely over the past year or more – I am still learning all sorts of neat things with every project and demo I build with it. Big congrats to Sarah Hunt, Mark Anders, Rich Lee, and the rest of the team! (and thanks for putting up with us cranky authors)

The night wrapped with a splendid dinner with members of the Adobe Education team and a few fellow AELs. (Thank you, Claire!)

The day after. Not much to say, really. I spent a good part of the morning simply gathering everything from my hotel room and packing. I was a bit nervous for my flight seeing the thick fog that had engulfed the area. Turns out to be not a huge deal though as my flight was able to leave on time. After gathering my things and checking out, Tom and I were scheduled to have a quick breakfast with video2brain so that we could finally meet some of the people we’d been working with so much. Additionally, we chatted about some new courses in the works. More on that soon.

A personal challenge for myself during this trip was that I intentionally left my laptop at home. All I had with me was an Android phone and tablet – and I never even powered on the tablet. Looks like I can survive without hauling a huge laptop around, afterall. Good to know for the future!

Impact on Education
As an Adobe Education Leader; at events like this I am always mindful to try and see things from the faculty and student perspective. Teaching complex subjects such as animation, interactivity, and responsive design has been difficult for a number of reasons; primary amoung these are the amount of prerequisite knowledge required to even approach these activities, and the sheer amount of unaided time and effort required. What Adobe is now doing with the Edge Tools and Services is astounding because they are introducing tools which address both of these issues. This allows the instructor to teach concepts and techniques using tangible assets and the student to freely express their vision in a much more direct and familiar way. In terms of emerging web technologies: Adobe has thrown open the doors to a renaissance!

(psst! I’m at 1:24!)

Keep in Mind…
I have a few lingering thoughts after the event on points that I do not think were mentioned at all during the week, glossed over by some, or totally ignored alltogether:

  1. Create the Web is not a Flash event. I knew this, of course – and even though Flash was mentioned a LOT during some of the sessions… no one should expect any major Flash announcements from an event focused on web standards. I saw a bit of grumbling over my Twitter stream around this – it just isn’t the focus of the event. There is a ton of great activity around the runtimes and tooling; new public betas, Flash Builder 4.7, “Hellcat”, project “Monocle”, a new ActionScript Compiler (ASC 2.0), a revision of both the runtime virtual machine and ActionScript language – Flash peeps have a lot to look forward to.
  2. Adobe has been investing in html for years before this. Certainly not as much as they are now – but to frame this as Adobe “waking up” around HTML and web is just off. HTML has been stagnant for years upon years. Now that there is activity in this area, of course Adobe is going to contribute.
  3. Adobe has been involved in many open source and open spec projects in the past. This isn’t new for them. There are open specs around PDF, SWF, RTMP, et cetera… not to mention the Adobe Flex framework, Open Source Media Framework, the oAuth 2.0 Library for ActionScript, and many other great libraries of code. Adobe has been strong on “open” long before HTML5.
  4. Stop assuming anyone involved in web standards is “moving on” from Flash or anything else. I was going to write a whole post about this… drives me insane. Please do not use such dismissive phrases as “moving on” when talking to the Flash crowd: chances are, they were doing the web standards thing before ever touching Flash… and have been using both in parallel for many years. It is frustrating and diminishes the great work that many have done and continue to do with this platform.
  5. A better enabled, more expressive web is good for everyone. I mean… c’mon! Don’t hate on HTML & Friends just because of it’s peculiarities. It is the foundation of the web, after all.

Thanks for reading!

Adobe Education Leader Institute 2012

I’m gearing up in preparation for the Adobe Education Leader Institute [JULY 23-26, 2012] at Adobe’s San Jose offices. That’s two weeks from today! Always a great opportunity to connect with Adobe and others working in both higher education and K-12. This will be my fourth institute and I’ll be presenting a talk on the persistent value of the Flash Platform in education, doing a workshop in Flash game design, and also a few smaller things throughout the week: including a 5 minute talk based upon one of my AS3 Quickies.

Major session details are below – and I will be uploading slides, game assets, and any other materials in a future post following the conference.

What’s Going On with the Adobe® Flash® Platform and why it is still Relevant for Education
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 – Adobe Headquarters

With the recent rise of web technologies like HTML5, it is important that the Flash Player continually evolve to remain the ideal technology platform for advanced interaction on the Web and beyond. Flash has always been an important enabler for education, and remains so. This session details the various enhancements, new functionality, and general improvements available in the new versions of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR®.

It includes the following topics:

  • What’s new in Flash Player 11 and AIR 3
  • New ActionScript® classes, methods, and properties
  • When it is appropriate to use Flash Technology, HTML, AIR—or something else entirely
  • What we can expect in incremental releases of Flash Player 11—and within the entire platform ecosystem

Game Design with Adobe® Flash® Professional CS6
Thursday, July 26, 2012 – Adobe Headquarters

Joseph Labrecque shows you how to build a simple game for mobile devices that teaches concepts. You’ll assemble components into a mobile game that can be deployed to multiple mobile devices. We will cover Timing, Mouse Interaction, Character Movement, Object Rotation, Scrolling Backgrounds, Obstacles, Collision Detection, Game Loop, Scoreboard, Player Health, Asset Skinning, Sound Managers, Game States, Movement Constraints, Packages/Classes, Randomization, Garbage Collection, and Game Cleanup!

Prerequisites: Basic Adobe Flash Professional skills
Software to Install: Adobe Flash Professional CS6 OR Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium OR Master Collection

360|Flex Session Peek

I’m presenting at 360|Flex in Denver this month – talking BlazeDS with Flex and Java! I’m putting the finishing touches on my slides right now and am including a preview below!

Leveraging BlazeDS, Java, and Flex: Dynamic Data Transfer

Flex developers have it easy when using ColdFusion to transfer data over the Action Message Format (AMF) transfer protocol because these services are built into the core ColdFusion server. What if you aren’t using ColdFusion though? Can you get the same benefits of AMF when using Java? Yes – by employing the open source Adobe BlazeDS project!

This talk will include an overview of these technologies, how to configure them to work together, and provide examples of data transfer across systems through a variety of ActionScript/Flex code examples. Additionally we’ll examine a use-case for BlazeDS, Java Spring, and Flex in higher-education to aid in the gathering of a variety of media types to perform assessment activities across departments through a unique system of binary and textual submissions by responder groups within certain participating programs.

So that’s my session, but there are a ton of other great speakers and topics being presented. A bunch of people from Adobe, Appcelerator, and Sencha are going to be there too. Nightly parties and extended training sessions on Sunday. All good stuff!

Check out the schedule!

Have a chance to chat with all the great speakers, sponsors, and attendees!

And don’t forget to REGISTER! It has sold out in the past!

My Adobe MAX 2011 Speaking Schedule

I realized this morning that I have yet to write about the various sessions I’ll be doing during Adobe MAX in Los Angeles this year. Normally, I begin advertising these sessions much earlier… ah well. Here they are!

Adobe MAX - "From Desktop to Mobile: Application Functionality for Small Screens"

Adobe MAX 2011
From Desktop to Mobile: Application Functionality for Small Screens
Tuesday, 4:00-5:00

Explore the issues of moving an established RIA experience from desktop to mobile. Join Joseph Labrecque from the University of Denver as he discusses transitioning the viewing experience for a campus resource from desktop to mobile. This session will examine how to take advantage of new workflow considerations across Adobe toolsets and determine what existing functionality is suitable for mobile applications, investigate device restrictions that can impact the general user experience, and describe how to make users aware of a new mobile application and what to expect.

Adobe Education Summit - "From Desktop to Mobile: Application Functionality for Small Screens (condensed)"

Adobe Education Summit
From Desktop to Mobile: Application Functionality for Small Screens
Sunday, 2:15-2:50?

(This is a condensed version of my official MAX session)

FITC - "UX Concerns across Mobile Platforms"

FITC Unconference
UX Concerns across Mobile Platforms
Tuesday, 12:00-12:30

All three major mobile OS platforms have certain user experience expectations in place. This session will examine existing UX paradigms for Android, iOS, and QNX, the importance of adhering to user expectations through these constructs, and present some circumstances when deviation may be appropriate.

Also be sure to check out CodeBassRadio and Nerd Radio at the Community Pavilion!

UPDATE: I’m now also TA for Matt Gifford’s BYOD Lab!

Adobe MAX - "Mobile Apps from 0 to 90: Powered by ColdFusion"

Adobe MAX 2011
Mobile Apps from 0 to 90: Powered by ColdFusion
Tuesday, 8:00-9:30

In this 90 minute lab, you’ll use Adobe Flash Builder to develop a mobile application from the ground up, compiling it as an Adobe AIR app. Learn how to create and push views, add a tabbed menu interface, and call and manage remote data from a ColdFusion web server. You’ll also debug and deploy the final application to your mobile Android device.