360Flex was not an typical conference. This was the conference for developers and by developers, indeed. That set the tone for all presentations and aftertalks.
Here is my list of the most impressive presentations I had chance to listen to (sorry if I missed anyone – I had chance to be only @ one place @ a time) :
1. David Zuckerman provided an invaluable insight into FlexBuilder undocumented (or under-documented) features. He will be publishing it shortly (keep an eye on http://davidzuckerman.com/adobe/). Grab it and learn it by heart – this will save you countless of wasted hours in the FB environment.
2. Joe Berkovitz provided 2 sessions: one on automating FlexBuilder builds with ANT, and one on the lightweight framework. Both sessions should have been recorded and published as an excellent overview and hands-on training on the subjects. I felt compelled to make some adjustments in the way we generate ANT files in our Flex2Ant plugin – will blog on it separately.
As to frameworks, I hope their time with RIA will be limited – will explain why in one of the future blogs. It was interesting to watch the audience during Joe’s talk – he’s definetely is one of the best thinkers and speakers in Flex community. If someone can make things simple – he is the one.
3. Mark Piller of Midnight coders showed very compelling solution for a non-Java Flex development and deployment. Their code generators and class libraries provide efficient and comprehensive solution for all data layer functions and communications. If you work in a .NET shop and exploring Flex, they are your first (and honestly the only) choice. I will be watching closely their commercial offering for PHP and Ruby.
4. In his third day keynote, Ted presented refactoring and usage reference view in Flex 3, which is great help. For me, profiler is the most important feature – I am tired of getting requests like, “Can you make our application mush faster and use less memory” – and spend hours to pinpoint the problems. It will go long way in also improving quality and reliability of the apps.
Here comes a little self-promotion.
I have been showing a bunch of Flex Builder plugins that we’ve developed and are about to start marketing. They are facilitating crucial areas of the application development – data layer, reporting, data entry, visual logging, documentation, building and hot deployments. These plugins complement FlexBuilder and FDS and make Java applications more “aware” of the new kid on the block. As a result, we established environment in which Flex and Java are active participants in each others spaces eliminating double coding and miscommunications. I also showed our FlexBI report writer working inside Eclipse as a 2-way approach to code reports with aggregates, expressions and computed styles. Reports can be edited by hand as a bunch of mxml tags and simultaneously you edit and test it visually directly in Eclipse. Reports also can be created by the end users on the fly.
We are proud to say that FlexBI was selected and presented by Adobe at the third day’s keynote.
That’s all for now – don’t miss your second chance to attend 360Flex in August in Boston. We are definitely be there – if not as presenters then as attendees.