donderdag, oktober 18, 2007

Adobe MAX 2007: Day two & three


We stayed up pretty late the first day so we had about 4 and a half hours of sleep. Then already I got the feeling this was not going to change the coming days.

So to get our heads cleared we thought attending Lee Thomason's session would be a good idea:

1. Inside the flash player
This was definitely one of the most interesting sessions. We all work with flash, just doing our thing everyday. But we never actually realize what really is going on under the hood.

Lee Thomason gave us a some very good insights without making it too complex. I'll sum some of his key-points up for you.

1. Flash is retained rendering vs immediate rendering.
This means Flash always waits for the frame (updateAfterEvent) to do the rendering.
Except for Bitmap data in AS3 which is always immediate.

A tip for performance testing. Use bitmaps to measure time because they are immediately rendered to the screen.

2. Just in time compiling.
This is a standard for compiling actionsctript into bytecode.
Also known as the famous Tamarin open source project.

3. Coding tips for optimization
Used sealed classes
Integer array access
avoid globals in deeply nested code (keep globals out of loops)

4. Garbage collection
The main thing to remember is that Adobe will not release a public API for garbage collection.
This strategy is well chosen, because the garbage collector will be due to many engineering changes in the future.
If a public API would be available, the team would be tight too much to this API for future changes.

5. Text rendering
Animations ons 'Saffron' text, which actually is the method for advanced anti-aliasing on embedded fonts, should be better in flashplayer 10 version.
Font/text rendering is a difficult issue to tackle because of the many varieties and specifications around the world.

6. Some points on Flashplayer 10: code-name Moviestar
cross domain caching
fullscreen will support hardware acceleration
H264/AAC audio encoding
multi threaded rendering
encrypted streams
AS3 sampling profiler but only for Flexbuilder3, not in Flash :-(
mip mapped bitmaps downscaling of images without quality loss or artifacts.

2. Closed session on Mobile
In the afternoon Nicolas and I attended a closed session for +/- 20 developers organized by the Flash Mobile Team. Kathy Charneco did a great job in taking care of us and leading the session.
Present were Carlos Ulloa, Stefan Richter, team from Blueskynorth, team from Lightmaker, Mike Jones, Steven Verbruggen, Frederik Claerhout, Koen De Weggheleire and people from the Adobe team.
To me its seems now that most flash developers underestimate the flash mobile platform.
As Chris Petty from Blueskynorth stated, flash lite is present in many phones and is standard in almost every new model that is released on the market.

For developers it seems that maintaining 2 code-bases is mostly too much overflow and the incapability to adress specific api's, like bluetooth or text messaging are 2 big issues. The latter is of course very platform dependent, but when working on mobile platforms I think there is more to gain with giving up some independency in order to be able to create full functional mobile applications. Let's face it, developing for mobile already is very difficult because of the different screen sizes, platforms, keypads, etc... you. So why not create platform depend api's to address these extra features? This being said, FlashLite 3 is out and Flash Home for mobile is coming up. This is a complete operating system in Flash, yeah!

For consumers initiatives like a marketplace with new applications, the latest downloads/updates, etc... would be very useful. It seems user need to be more aware of the fact that they have Flash on their phones. Everybody in the world now knows what a Flash website is, so this perception of the technology should be consolidated on mobile phones as well.

I was very pleased with this initiative. It seems Adobe is aware of their community and what they have to say. Thumbs up!

3. Koen De Weggheleire: Playing with pixels.
Koen from newmovieclip and the leader of our belgian Adobe user group hit us with his knowledge about pixels and bitmapdata. Koen is a bright guy and he has a special style of presenting like nobody can. He can combine fun things with complex technical stuff without anyone getting bored. It's just hilarious to see Koen waving, jumping, turning at the stage, demoing his creations. Nice one Koen!

4. Closing party
The higlight of the day for sure!
It was a great party. There was lots of booze, there was a great live band, there we casino games and great card magiacians to entertain us. Richard, Nicolas and I dragged lot's of people like Justin Everett Church, Ben Forta, Serge Jespers, Aral Balkan, Carlos Ulloa, Andrew Shorten, Stephanie Sullivan, Thibault Imbert, Benjamin Dobler and many more in front of our camera. We had a great time and a montage will be available soon.


Things to remember:

1. Watch out for the new release of Flash:
Live preview of flv's in the IDE
New tweening system with bezier curves (bye bye motion guide) and tweens are now attached to the timeline and not the the object anymore
Kinematics! yeah!

2. The release of flash player 10
3D support
Advanced text layout
Custom filters, effects, etc.. Hydra
C/C++ support

3. Flash Home
The flash operating system for mobile

4. Thermo
A new software package for designers to create Rich Internet Applications

5. AIR
AIR is taking on the world. It seems everybody is finding his/her way into AIR.

The New Creatives: Cheap, fast and good.
Hoss Gifford

I saw Hoss Gifford last year at Flash on the Beach and his session blew me away back then.
Maybe it's just me but in session like this, I always leave the room with my sketchbook filled with idea's.
Wise words from Hoss:
Cheap, fast and good. A project can only be 2 of these at the same time.

AS3 Design patterns
Leo Schuman

Leo talked about, in his own unique way, some of the basics of the observer and the singleton pattern.
Important to remember is that programming to interfaces really works and that composition is to be preferred over inheritance.

Advanced Video Encoding
Giovanni Antico

This was a good last session for me. I am not the world's most renown video expert, so Giovanni's clear explanation of video was quite enlightening.
Check out his files of the presentation.

For more fine pictures visit

The crew hanging out with Serge Jespers

Me and Carlos. Say hi to your mom from me dude!

Me and Mike Jones.
Mike is a very nice guy and I am glad to have met him.

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