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Another Year, Another Exciting Macromedia Developer Conference...

Another Year, Another Exciting Macromedia Developer Conference...

I'm writing this month's editorial from MAX, the 2003 Macromedia conference in Salt Lake City. The conference has undergone both name and location changes over the past few years, but one key thing remains the same and that's the overall level of excitement of Macromedia's developer community. By many reports, attendance is up from last year's show, and if traffic to our booth is any indication, it certainly seems true. It's a fantastic sign in an economic year that has those who are simply breaking even jumping for joy.

It's been a product-filled year for Macromedia. Most interesting to us at CFDJ was obviously the release of CFMX 6.1, along with Studio MX 2004. On the publication front this year, not only have we received great feedback on CFDJ, but we launched MX Developer's Journal, of which the premier edition debuted here at MAX. As I've said in the past, CFDJ isn't going anywhere, but if you'd like to learn even more about ColdFusion and the rest of Macromedia's product line every month, there's now a place: www.sys-con.com/mx.

Macromedia's push here at the conference is once again the rich digital user experience that combines the fields of design and development (and naturally their complete line of software as well).

At the opening keynote, Al Ramadan, executive vice president of marketing at Macromedia, introduced Norm Meyrowitz, Macromedia's president of products, who mastered the rest of the ceremonies. Norm, in his 11th year at Macromedia, spoke of being astounded - as we too at CFDJ often are - by the amazing applications being created with MM software.

Back to the fields of design versus development - that's something that Macromedia sees as a blurring distinction, which is evidenced by the 2004 product line. You can now write code to make beautiful Flash applications, and if you're in Flash and want to connect to a CF or other Web service, it's now just a few non-code clicks away. That's exciting for me, as well as many other developers who would probably never in a million years optimally use Flash timelines, but we can certainly code.

Impressive examples were then shown by the product managers for each bit of the MX product line ranging from Flash to Dreamweaver, showing some of the premier crop of interactive Web development that's been done in MX 2004, and highlighting some of the new Studio MX product features.

Also taking the stage, to talk about "ColdFusion MX and Beyond," was Ben Forta, Macromedia's senior technical evangelist and a CFDJ regular since issue one. Known for spilling the beans about future CF releases at past Macromedia events, Ben didn't disappoint, once again providing lots of good CF news.

First, ColdFusion sales are up this year which is good news for the life of the product - and the state of the industry for us developers. Additionally in the "positive signs column" Ben has spent some heavy time on Google as of late, and proudly reported that there are now 10 million additional indexed CFML pages in Google than there were a year ago. Also Google-ing the U.S. government's public-facing Web sites, the number one technology now in use is ColdFusion. ASP/ASP.NET and JSPs run a distant second and third in those rankings.

So what's next in the world of ColdFusion? Ben gave the audience a glimpse of what's been codenamed "Blackstone," the next version of ColdFusion. Now that the platform is in place with CFMX 6/6.1, this next as-of-yet undated release is based totally on user feedback as to what developers are looking for.

Key themes are:

  • Reporting and printed output: Making RAD more rapid, and simpler ways to create compelling and sophisticated user interfaces
  • Productivity: Radical new productivity gains targeted toward both new and existing developers
  • Deployment: New ways to deploy applications including the often-requested source-code protection
The keynote concluded with David Mendels, senior vice president, Macromedia, who spoke on expanding the MX universe. He spoke about Macromedia Flex (previously codenamed Royale), which is a presentation-level server that sits on top of J2EE, CF, and - in the future - .NET servers designed for creating rich application front ends.

More on this coming up in future issues of CFDJ!

More Stories By Robert Diamond

Robert Diamond is the founder and editor-in-chief of BroadwayWorld.com, the premiere theater site on the net now receiving over 100,000 unique visitors a day. He is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media - a leading designer of entertainment and technology web sites. He is also the lead producer on BroadwayWorld.com's consistently sold-out Joe's Pub concert series, and Standing Ovations benefit concerts. Diamond was also named one of the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by Folio magazine. Robert holds a BS degree in information management and technology from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. Visit his blog at www.robertdiamond.com.

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