April 2010 Archives
Adobe shows some love to the folks who actually make their technologies relevant: developers.
Admit it: without good "3rd party" developers to make it dance and sing, no platform or technology would ever succeed. That's why Adobe is holding its annual "Developer Week" from May 10-14, 2010, to encourage existing developers to delve deeper into their offerings and to entice novices into the fold. The key part of this event are 20 free web training seminars Adobe is running to cover a gamut of Adobe-related development technologies, from Flash and Flex to Coldfusion.
Yes, they are "Web Seminars" and all you need is a browser, the Flash plug-in and an internet connection to participate. Of course Adobe calls them "Webinars". How very "2.0" of them. <cough>
Bonus: anyone who registers and attends a session is eligible to win a copy of Flash Builder 4 Professional or Creative Suite 5 Web Premium, with one copy of FB4 Pro being awarded per session and 3 copies of CS5 Web Premium being drawn among all attendees.
You can register online right here. Enjoy!
If you missed 360|Flex but would like to get some Flex/Flash developer training for free, you definitely should check this out. All sorts of topics will be covered, from introductory level to überflashalicious. Besides, admit it: you've never been trained by industry-leading experts while eating munchies in your pajamas before, have you? Now's your chance, so get on it already.
Seminars I think people (by "people" I of course mean "myself") will find particularly interesting are:
Don't Wait, Educate
If you are a student or are currently unemployed/employed outside of the software development field, this is by far your best chance to start building some salable skills for free. Go fetch a free, legal license to Flash Builder from Adobe and get yourself trained up. I'll see you in the trenches. Kudos to Adobe for making their development tools and experienced trainers available to the next generation of Flash/Flex developers.
Paging Dr. Livecycle
Finally, looking at the seminars on tap, my only real disappointment is that I don't see any Livecycle-related training on tap. As my colleague and friend Kevin would say: "What up?" If Adobe doesn't promote their own flagship enterprise technology to developers, then who the heck will? They should get one of their gurus ( Christophe or Greg, for instance) and spread the word.
As always, I invite your comments. Ciao!
French film-maker Patrick Jean resurrects 80's games and takes over the world. More news at 6:00.
In honour of all you nostalgic souls out there, here is a video to lighten your melancholy mood. I caught wind of this short movie over at Ain't It Cool News. It's a very clever "What if" disaster film called "PIXELS" that serves up a tasty tribute to retro gaming's greatest icons and development studios. Running a terse 2:34, it's a delicious treat for people like me who recall the 80's -- and 80's gaming, in particular -- fondly. (Wow, two food metaphors in a row... I must be hungry.)
Enjoy, and try to see if you can name all of the gaming allusions. There are just so many, and some of them are hidden, so you might need to keep your finger on the pause button. Triple bonus nostalgia points if you can tell me what inspired the style of the special One More Production logo at the beginning of the clip. I recognized it instantly. (Hint: the answer is hidden in the film itself.)
For fun, I welcome you to post your favourite 80's video game in the comments section. Don't hold back, I just know you have one!
Not content to just block the Flash Player, Apple leaves the safe confines of its previous excuses to ban cross-compiled Actionscript from iPhones.
As reported all over the Flash platform blogosphere, Apple has just changed their iPhone Developer Program License Agreement which applies to all iDevices (i.e. iPhone/iPod/iPad). This change, which targets any code not originally written in an Apple-approved language has effectively killed the idea of cross-compiled Actionscript making it onto the App Store... smothering Flash CS5's flagship feature in the crib mere days before its release.
That's not what we generally call "playing well with others".
The Smoking Gun
Here is the offending text:
It's My Party (And I'll License You If I Want To)
Here, to add to the many other voices out there, are my thoughts on this whole unfortunate dust-up:
- Apple's official defense of blocking Flash on iDevices has been that they are looking out for their consumers by attempting to guarantee a minimal level of consistent performance on what are not very powerful devices. I call this the "It's for the children" defense: as long as the ends are all sunshine and roses, it doesn't matter what underhanded things you are actually doing.
- Adobe knew all along that in developing their cross-compiler and threatening Apple's development monopoly, the folks at Apple could easily pants them like this. They were obviously out on a limb, so I assume that the smart folks at Adobe was banking on the idea that Apple wouldn't step outside the safe confines of their previous excuses for blocking Flash. Like the ruthlessly territorial animal that it is, however, Apple chose to bite, not bark. Thus comes to an end the short and tumultuous life of cross-compiled Flash on iPhone. Johnny, we hardly knew ye.
- With this malicious licensing change, Apple has gone well beyond the safe confines of their original (arguably) defensible position. They no longer have the cover of saying that the license is meant to protect users. Au contraire. It is very clearly meant to protect Apple's interests. That's fine. I'll gladly defend the profit motive. I just don't think this is a guaranteed long-term win for Apple.
- With a ream of powerful Android phones and Tegra II tablets on the way anytime now, Apple is about to face a lot of competition in the smart phone and "iPad" or "touch screen, internet-enabled, not quite a laptop" space. At the vanguard of this assault is Adobe with Flash 10.1 (on Palm, Android and Blackberry) and AIR on Android (surely to be followed by AIR on other mobile OSes).
- Granted, Adobe loses this first battle. They invested a lot of money in developing this (open-source-based) iPhone cross-compiler and selling the idea to developers. However, these new non-Apple smartphones and impending tablets are all much more powerful and most likely less expensive than the iPhone and iPad. If both Adobe and we Flash platform developers play our cards right, the technical and functional superiority of this new wave will overcome the iDevices' strengths (i.e. the app store, latte-drinking fanboy base, casual users whose nephew told them that Apple products are always better) and win the war.
- The smart thing to do is not for Adobe to kick back at Apple (as some less temperate souls have suggested), but to continue eroding its monopoly. First, stay the course. Second, make a cross-platform, cross-vendor App Store killer. Enough with the multiplicity of App Store clones (e.g. Android Market, Adobe AIR Marketplace, individual carriers' app stores). Come up with a licensing and profit-sharing scheme and band together for the good of you all. Just make sure you give developers a fair shake because they are the key to your success.
The Big Picture On Small Devices
In the end, as developers, ours isn't a battle to get Flash on iPhone, it's to get our code on the most devices possible, making our non-objective-C skills more valuable. If Flash and AIR-enabled devices eventually get the lion's share of the market over iDevices, then we will have won, no matter what Steve "I'm geniuser than you" Jobs and his many lawyers decide.
I always say that no movie really starts until you know who the bad guy is. In this case, Jobs and his buddies have put their money where their mouths are: the iPhone/iPod/iPad space is closed and they own the keys. Frankly, it's nice to get some clarity here rather than second-hand quotes of The Steve Jobs calling Adobe "lazy" or some such other silly thing.
Now we really know exactly where Jobs and Apple stand: alone. The exact same place you'll find every other kid on the playground who waves his finger at his peers and says "It's my ball and you can't play with it."
That's ok, Stevie. We have our own.
A random event involving a Coke machine at 360|Flex inspired me to write an article on emotion and User Experience (UX). Rather than post it on my blog, I instead submitted it to the fine people at UX Magazine hoping they might be interested. I'm proud to say that it was accepted and that after a few minor edits, has just now been posted.
The principle I discuss is that while we often talk about emotion in UX, it can be difficult to objectively identify what actually triggers a user's emotions. I therefore try to provide some guidance on how to leverage user expectations to elicit positive emotions and avoid setting off negative ones.
Please hop over to UX Magazine and let me know what you think. If you haven't read this fine online publication before, it is written and edited by the leading minds of the UX revolution, so I'm confident you'll find it a great source of wisdom, guidance and inspiration in all things "UX".
You can check out the article here: UX, Emotion and Free Coke Machines.