Welcome!

Adobe Flex Authors: Matthew Lobas, PR.com Newswire, Shelly Palmer, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Adobe Flex, ColdFusion

Adobe Flex: Article

Vene, Vidi, Adobe!

Adobe takes it to the MAX

Adobe staged its MAX 2006 developer and customer conference under the theme "Beyond Boundaries" to showcase the company's emerging technologies and provide a glimpse of future innovations. Adrian Bridgwater attended to drink it all in.

Adobe's MAX 2006 event was held at The Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from the 23rd to the 26th of October - the company's first event of this kind since joining forces with Macromedia. Adobe's focus was directed at highlighting the newest breed of rich applications and what it likes to call "engaging content and experiences" under the banner of its next-generation technology.

Described by Adobe as a chance for its community of developers and customers to reinvent the future of the Internet and design in virtually every medium, MAX 2006 was billed as both a milestone in the integration of Adobe and Macromedia and a reflection of what's possible when all these creative forces come together.

Typical to large-scale events of this kind, MAX 2006 featured over 100 workshops and hands-on sessions. The event included technical support labs, partner exhibits, certification programs, birds-of-a-feather networking events and presentations from industry experts as well as in-depth technical sessions that covered a range of Adobe products and solutions.

Community Spirit
In addition to the various certification programs it supports, it's encouraging to see a company like Adobe engendering a vibrant level of shared participation in technology among the developer community. The Acrobat User Community (you can sign up at www.acrobatusers.com) has over 5000 users and is growing strong. Spread over 75 countries, the site's users benefit from blogs, news, articles, tips and tutorials. The Web site, Adobe says, is a gathering place where developers can share and exchange ideas and tap into the broad expertise that characterizes the Acrobat community. And most important of all is the long-established Adobe Developer Center (developer.adobe.com), which hosts blogs, articles, tutorials, SDKs, and sample applications, attracting thousands of users every day. The Adobe developer community contributes a large percentage of this content, which makes the Developer Center the "face" of the community.

Adobe held pre-conference sessions for both delegates and press. The press sessions were well presented and the speakers themselves were keen to insist on "interactive" meetings with as many questions as possible. Adobe is far more open than the likes of Apple or Intel - and sets realistic goals in areas where "ubiquitous mass market roll out" (a term it is especially fond of!) of its technologies is still some way off.

The Mobile/Devices Perspective
In mobile, Adobe continues to leverage relationships with handset manufacturers, operators and content aggregators to offer developer communities the fully-integrated technologies necessary to deliver what it calls "breakthrough mobile experiences."

Adobe's mobile and devices guru Anup Murarka gave us an insight into the company's work in the mobile space. He explained that Flash and PDF deployment has proliferated in Asia mainly due to the specific alignment with the mobile phone market - but that increasing growth is starting to show in Europe and the USA. "Deployment of Flash has probably grown more than any other mobile technology in the world over the last three years," said Murarka.

  • Over 150 mobile devices have now been certified to utilize Flash Lite. Many more are expected in the coming twelve months.
  • 210,000 registered users have signed up for Adobe's mobile developer program and this number is expected to mushroom with newly announced handset support for the USA.
  • Flash is increasingly being used to deploy the complete UI for new phones...
...and, UIs are being developed to target precise demographics as the UI can be rolled out so much faster now. New phones have night-and-day backgrounds that feature a sky that changes from sunshine to stars with the time of day. They are also location-aware and will show a picture of the Arc de Triomphe as you travel through Paris and the Opera House when you land in Sydney for example. Commercially, this is good news - as new UIs could also be sold online.

Adobe's partnerships with mobile media publishers who include Flash Lite software in product portfolios present developers with additional opportunities to commercialize Flash mobile content. Also interesting is Flash Cast, originally from the Macromedia side of the bed; this is a flexible client-server solution that effectively delivers rich, intuitive, branded mobile data experiences. Server-hosted broadcasts push content to the phone such as stocks and shares data, your favourite television channel schedule or even games. With content developed in Flash, it could also be used to connect to RSS feeds and download content that has been reformatted for phones.

"This is the kind of rich experience that changed the way the way the Web worked - and now we see that happening in mobile," said Muraka. As yet, NTT DoCoMo is the only company to have made significant headway with this technology. That said, more than two million mobile phone subscribers have signed up for NTT DoCoMo's i-channel news and information delivery service since it was launched in Japan last September.

"We have been astonished by the unprecedented success of i-channel, which proves that consumers embrace data services when they are automatically delivered and presented in a compelling and interactive way," said Takeshi Natsuno, senior vice president at NTT DoCoMo.

In terms of strategy, Adobe's Flash Player technology is installed on over 700 million Internet connected desktops and mobile devices worldwide and it is aiming to see the same level of mass ubiquity on mobile phones. The recently announced acquisition of vector graphics technology developed by Actimagine will help considerably in reaching mass ubiquity on mobile phones.

So mobile is crucial, then. "Flexible user interfaces are a key differentiator and a significant part of the value creation on devices," said John Jackson, senior analyst at Yankee Group, in a statement issued by Adobe. "Flash Lite 2 and Flash Player SDK 7 expand vendors' and operators' U/I options and open the mobile market to a broader base of content and prolific developers."

Day One Keynote
The morning of the keynote came - and we were colorfully awakened by an intro from the Blue Man Group (who by no coincidence play at the Venetian). Adobe president and chief operating officer Shantanu Narayen welcomed an extremely enthusiastic crowd still whooping from the shock of seeing plastic blue men playing rock music at 8:30 in the morning.

Narayen described the acquisition of Macromedia by Adobe as having been rather like any other traditional marriage: the respective chiefs first went into a period of "dating" before the deal was finally sealed. It's true to say, this has been one of the better-received examples of the industry coming together. Not just because the number of employees affected was relatively small (compared to say, the HP-Compaq scenario) - but also because the reaction from users was almost completely positive given the synergy the two companies shared and the opportunity it presented for a better set of tools to soon be developed.

At a high level, the keynote presentations were projected not only to present working examples of emerging Adobe technologies, but also to set the scene for the company's "Apollo" project, which continues to generate pre-release interest among developers and businesses due to its promise to extend the reach and capabilities of today's rich Internet applications, freeing them to run outside of the browser, across multiple operating systems on desktops and devices.

Adobe plans to invest approximately US$100 million in venture capital over the next three to five years in companies leveraging Adobe platform technologies, particularly companies delivering applications via Apollo, as part of Adobe's commitment to building an ecosystem for what it terms the Adobe Engagement Platform.

Narayen closed by introducing the hugely popular Ben Forta, who presented a portion of the keynote. Forta, Adobe's senior technical evangelist, is the author of books on ColdFusion, SQL, Windows 2000, JSP, WAP, Regular Expressions and more. His work emphasis is on Adobe's application server and software development framework ColdFusion as he strives to provide feedback to help shape the future direction of the product. His personal Web site is listed at the end of this feature and is a must-read for self-confessed geeks of all shapes and sizes.

eBook Worms
Also making a splash at this year's event (and featuring up front in the keynote) was news of Adobe Digital Editions, a rich Internet application (RIA) built from the ground up for digital publishing. With native support for PDF as well as an XHTML-based reflow-centric publication format, Digital Editions promises to deliver an engaging way to acquire, read and manage content, including eBooks, digital magazines, digital newspapers and other digital publications.

Initially available as a free public beta for Windows, Digital Editions will support Macintosh systems as a universal binary application, Linux platforms, as well as mobile phones and other embedded devices in future versions.

"Adobe Digital Editions builds on the ubiquitous reach of PDF and Flash and will further energize the eBook and digital publishing market," said Narayen. "By creating a specialized, consumer-friendly application like this, Adobe is ensuring publishers can securely deliver high-impact content to the widest possible audience, across hardware platforms, operating systems and devices."

This is Adobe's first Flex 2.0 application to go commercial and, as Bill McCoy puts it, "Digital publishing has reached a tipping point." McCoy is general manager of the company's ePublishing business and in a later breakout session he explained why consumers are now demanding electronic delivery of data that was previously only published in print data in this way. His justifications included the following points:

  • Public libraries are now lending out eBooks.
  • Textbooks in eBook format are now being used in education.
  • eBooks have been embraced by well-known technical publishers such as O'Reilly.
  • Young people are demanding that their content be delivered digitally.
  • ePublishing brings with it new capabilities such as on-demand, portability, searchability, etc.
  • Sales of laptops and other devices with improved ergonomics are now far outstripping PCs.
Digital Editions delivers a straightforward user experience for reading and managing commercially published digital publications. It builds on the Adobe eBook capabilities that were integrated into previous versions of Adobe Reader and takes them further by adding the ability to incorporate Flash interactivity and rich media, enabling publishers to create next-generation digital publications that McCoy would argue surpass digital forms of paper books.

Digital Editions' support for Flash SWF will enable new levels of interactivity and rich media delivery, McCoy notes. The Digital Editions beta includes integration with Adobe Acrobat 8 and Reader 8, which can install and launch Digital Editions from within their user interface.

Why hasn't ePublishing mushroomed before now, I asked McCoy. "Consumers and content publishers still suffer from format confusion," he replied. Other factors include client software, digital rights management hassles, inordinate costs and Web browser limitations, he added.

"As a result, a whole host of proprietary formats has sprung up (at least a dozen) so that the authoring tools the publishers use could not viably work commercially up until this point," McCoy continued.

Digital Editions aims to rectify this problem as it assures content portability and is lightweight as well as being both consumer-optimized and content-centric rather than application-experience-centric. (As a sidenote, Adobe InDesign will be augmented to embrace and support this technology.)


More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...