Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

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 @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridharabalan, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, Inc., will focus on key challenges in building an Internet of Things solution infrastructure. He will shed light on efficient ways of defining interactions within IoT solutions, leading to cost and time reduction. He will also introduce ways to handle data and how one can develop IoT solutions that are lean, flexible and configurable, thus making IoT infrastructure agile and scalable.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of (at least) three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the back-end service, and the mobile application for the end user’s controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target –...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, provided tips on how to be successful in large scale machine learning...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.