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MAX 2005 Day 2

After staying up until 4 am after a long day 1 of MAX, getting up for an 8 am session on Rich Forms with ColdFusion and Flex was a bit challenging, but worth it. Coming from a strong background in HTML and JavaScript, looking at and understanding XMNL (Flex code) and ActionScript is a breeze. You can very easily provide your flex application data via ColdFusion Components (CFCs). Converting your queries to arrays will cause Flex to work with the data quicker (this will also be the case with Flex 2.0).
I then I snuck in and caught the end of Angela Buraglia session on Killer Dreamweaver Tips. While I hate DW and prefer to stick with HomeSite+ (CF Studio), there was one tip that I thought was pretty awesome. You can do a mass code Replace from within your Find search results. For example, lets say you want to update your web site and replace every instance of "email" with "e-mail". If you search your codebase for every instance of the string "email", you may return a lot of results, some you want to replace (text on web site), and some you don't want to change (code, database column names, form parameters, etc). So first you run a Find command, then you can go in and select all the instances you want to replace, then run the Replace command, and wham-o you are done. Note: Do not run Replace All or the selections you made will be ignored and all the instances will be replaced.
Next was Leo Schuman's preso on Advanced ColdFusion Flash Forms. New in CFMX 7.0.1 you can use the CFFORMITEM type="script" to add blocks of custom ActionScript to your CFFORM. While there are limitation of what you are allowed to do within the CFFORM, you can do a lot, including getting live data from ColdFusion via Flash Remoting. One major thing to look out for is with using dynamic data supplied from ColdFusion in your Flash Forms. If you don't use a special method for doing this, you will cause ColdFusion to compile a new Flash Form for every request, causing page loads to be really slow. Leo suggested reading through the Best Practices guide on this topic as he didn't have the time to properly cover it. I was pretty disappointed that you can't use the "this" object in ActionScript like you can in JavaScript. Using "this" when interacting with Function allows you to write your function ambiguous as to whom is calling them, but with ActionScript it appears you have to have everything hard coded (further research may show otherwise).
Day 2's keynote had a lot to do about video. David Mendels said that teenage males are just as likely to be on-line during prime time TV hours as they are to be watching TV. And I think he said something like 27% of them download video content on-line. Steve Kilisky from Adobe was there to show off some upcoming AfterEffects features, including exporting video ready to be imported into Macromedia Flash.
Jeremy Allaire showed up to demo his new on-line video content distribution system Brightcove. Brightcove looks pretty sweet, allow for standard video metadata, then they have Brightcove specific meta data that you can assign, then finally you can tag your media with any keywords you want a-la Flickr. You can setup video streams to make money, either by paid subscription, or by ad-based content, with full controls. Pretty slick stuff. The best was his comment, "Unfortunately I don't have Adobe HomeSite with me so I will open up Dreamweaver here".
Ben Forta made an appearance via pre-recorded video.
Tom Hale talked about Breeze and a new deal allowing developers to write their own "Room Extensions" that be sold as products or via custom development. He said that there is already 1600 Breeze Enterprise clients out there for developers to sell to.
Oh and if you jump on the Breeze beta you get to use Breeze for business and/or personal items.
The meeting then went to mobile devices using Flash Lite. I think Macromedia briefly admitted that they were wrong last year when they pushed mobile so much, as it really hasn't caught on here in the America's. But they of course said it was coming soon and there is no reason to wait. They showed off some cool apps like one that constantly displayed the latest Flickr photos right on your cell phone.
And finally, the MAX awards. Crash This Trailer won the people choice award (the audience voted via SMS on their cell phones (powered by ColdFusion's Event Gateway)).
After lunch I caught Stephanie Sullivans presentation on Advanced CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). And while very little was really new to me, she did an excellent job covering CSS and little quirks that happen and how to fix them. One comment she made that really struck me and I can agree it happens to me as well was that she finds that her own designs are somewhat limited and basic based on how she always thinks about doing the HTML/CSS layout while designing the page. Whereas designs she gets from designers don't conform to any pre-conceived limitations. This is almost an exact repeat from what was said the previous day at the Great User Experience Birds-of-a-Feather meeting.
I felt the Sneak Peaks session was pretty boring, and left early. I hate to be a downer on that, but I wasn't digging the poor acting and it wasn't really that funny - plus I wanted to try and win an iPod nano downstairs (no luck).
Next was the CFC Birds-of-a-Feather meeting led by Ray Camden. It was pointed out that really long CFCs may be bad to invoke, especially if your CFC contains functions you don't need readily available. It would be best to pull the less used functions out into a separate CFC and only invoke them when required. CFC Docs written by Spike (from CFEclipse) is a great tool for viewing your CFCs. And the new CFC Adapter in Flex 2.0 will keep your complex data objects in tact between ColdFusion and Flex rather than downgrading everything to Structures as is the current case.
After another full day of sessions the evening was topped off with what I think was the best Special Event in the past 4 years I have been attending MAX which was a private party at Disney's California Adventure.
Thank you Macromedia.

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