360flex, San Jose 2010, Day 3

Community Keynote at #360flex is about to start to the sounds of beat sequences. Why hire a DJ if Sean Moore, a remote Flex developer can call in via Skype from Colorado with video camera on and start spinning his disks? Tom is projecting the video on three large screens and the music goes through the speakers.

Great job, @seantheflexguy! If we had more female Flex developers there, all 365 attendees would be dancing. How about introducing discount for girls at the next #360flex?

During the first part of this keynote the audience thanks speakers, volunteers, sponsors, and John “s wife Nicole for making this conference happen.

The second part of the community keynote is like an annual visit to an accountant. The organizers open up the books. Literally. It “s the moment of truth and transparency. The first slide showed the expenses “the money out rdquo;. Then goes the slide with “the money in rdquo;, then the pocket change ndash; the difference between the in and out. I “m not going to publish these slides here to give Tom and John some room to play before they “ll submit the final numbers to IRS.

I sincerely hope that this public bookkeeping will stop soon, which will be a good indication that Tom and John are finally making some real money for all the hard work they put organizing this excellent independent conference for Flex developers.

There “s one more tradition of the community keynote: Tom announces that this was the last time he was organizing this conference, and he quits. I understand his feelings. I have similar state of mind after finishing writing yet another book. Last month it was the 6th time when I said to myself, “Never again! rdquo; But I realize that I “ll write yet another book too.

But let “s observe the protocol and thank Tom for his hard work and say, “@lordbron good luck in your future endeavors! rdquo;

Then the mike goes to @BenStucki who shows a quick demo of the Reflex framework of components that are a lot lighter than their Flex peer: 40Kb SWF vs. 400KB. Ben, as usual, wears his “always on rdquo; baseball cap. @AmyBlankenship posted the following on Twitter: “Wondering if the top of @BenStucki ‘s head exists hellip; rdquo;

Now seriously. Ben has very ambitious task. I “m not sure if Reflex will reach production quality any time soon, but I see at least three possible positive outcomes of this effort:

1. Adobe will learn from Reflex how to create lighter Flex components

2. Ben will create a niche job market for his company ndash; the firms that need fast and light components will be hiring him for development of specialized custom components.

3. Tiny SWF may be in demand among the twenty minus one vendors of Smart Mobile devices.

Then I spent half an hour listening to Renaun Ericskon “s talk “ActionScript Tips for iPhone Games. rdquo; He “s the guy if you need to optimize your iPhone application written in ActionScript.

When I “ve heard that Adobe open sourced the data visualization code, my na iuml;ve mind took the price of Flex Builder Professional ($699 = $249 + datavisualization) and deducted datavisualization. My formula produced the new price, but I “m afraid that Adobe will apply different logic and the price of Flash Builder won “t go lower than $699.

Hint. If you want to be cool this season, keep saying that you never use the Design mode in Flash Builder. Or even better ndash; use IntelliJIdea.

My final three-hour technical session was “Comparing Flex and Silverlight rdquo; presented by Jun Heider and Eric Fickes. These guys did a very good technical comparison of two products. Start taking Silverlight seriously. I “d be very interested to compare the licensing costs of deployment of an enterprise data driven application utilizing binary protocols in Flex/LCDS/BlazeDS vs Silverlight/IIS. Without these numbers it “s hard to recommend one or the other technology to the enterprise customers.

During this presentation I “ve also enjoyed watching the monkey dance of one of the Microsoft “s billionaires.

On the way home, Jeff Tapper told me that the new version of the Flex 4 Training from the Source book will become available. This time it ‘ll consist of two parts, and the first part will be available in April. In the past, I bought the Flex 2 and Flex 3 editions of this well written training manual, and will definitely buy the Flex 4 version too.


Here “s a recap of some things I liked about the #360Flex circa San Jose 2010:

1. Lot “s of power outlets and extenders.

2. A vending machine with disabled dollar slot was dispensing the cans for free.

3. 80% of presentations are done by independent Flex developers.

4. As always, this conference was very friendly and informal

When/where is the next 360flex? Anyone knows? I need to book the flight early.


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