Forget the Flex Schlock and the Silverlight Boutiques

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/10/02

Saw something interesting at the Seattle Drupal User’s Group meeting last week. (Background — Drupal is one of the leading open source content management systems.)

Of the 10-12 people there, three of the group’s mainstays had just returned from Drupalcon — the big Drupal developer’s conference in Barcelona.

As they ran down the list of the cool stuff they saw, they mentioned the new Flex Showcase that Adobe revealed at the conference — built on top of Drupal with Flex as the presentation layer.

Folks brought it up on their laptops and seems genuinely impressed — A few piped up with the question, “This is cool but what is Flex?”

And that’s the point in the evening when I saw Adobe’s strategy of engaging this particular developer community begin to pay dividends.

I chimed in and gave a summary of Flex — that it’s a developer friendly way to build Flash applications — to which many of the folks said, “Ahhh, that’s why I haven’t heard of it, Flash, it’s closed source, right?”

I got to detail that while the Flash Player is not open source, the Flex framework is and that there is a free SDK that can be used to build Flex apps. Also mentioned the Tamarin project and how the high performance Javascript engine from Flash had been open sourced and would provide the Javascript functionality for the next version of Firefox.

The picture this particular Drupal community got is that not only does Adobe share some of their ‘open’ ethos — it’s also actively making it easier to do cool stuff (like the Flex Showcase) in their native environments (text editors, not timelines).

And with that, Flex made an inroad into one of the most vibrant developer networks I’ve gotten to know over the last couple of years.

Drupal has a great community of folks like this around the Northwest — and it was cool to see Adobe turn a corner with them, not through marketing ‘schlock’ or shilling for ’boutique’ sites, but through honoring diverse business models and solving people’s dev problems.

This is the same kind of strength that Microsoft’s Silverlight plays to in the ginormous .NET developer community. With the CLR coming in Silverlight 1.1, Microsoft is tapping into the shared ethos and “how can you solve my problem” of theis massive developer group that will likely make or break its Silverlight play.

No matter who you think wears the black hats or the white hats in this discussion, RIA developers everywhere would rather spend their time building cool and robust tools for their users than fighting cross browser CSS rendering and multiple javascript runtimes.



Helping Produce O’Reilly Ignite at Adobe Max

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/10/01

I am in Chicago this week to help produce the O’Reilly Ignite event at Adobe’s MAX conference.

What a blast.

It’s great to see something that started as a grassroots geek gathering in Seattle begin to flow out to national conferences like this. And, I’m working in a new role — slide producer instead of video.

The folks and sessions here at MAX are amazing — some highlights so far —

  1. Brazillian BBQ with guys from Aviary and hearing about the online app suite that seems like it will be the gateway toolset for the Threadless generation.

  2. Meeting someone from Microsoft’s developer tools team who is here to learn what Adobe is doing well in the developer space. Seemed genuinely interested and I continue to think that this ongoing listening that both Adobe and Microsoft seem to be doing with one another is good for the Rich Internet Application industry as a whole.

  3. Laughing out loud with John Wilker at the keynote today as Kevin Lynch mentioned he wanted to show a pretty cool site he’d come across that is using Flash video. He then brings up [this site]((http://halo3.com/believe/shell.html) promoting Microsoft’s Halo 3 — a tongue in cheek dig at Microsoft not dogfooding it’s own Silverlight multimedia plugin on its high profile sites.

photo.jpg

(thanks to flickr user prayyanks for use of this photo)


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