360|Flex 2011 mobile apps

360 Flex 2011 DenverThe annual 360|Flex conference is right around the corner, and we have your mobile conference apps ready to go! You will have easy access to the full schedule, speaker bio, the ability to submit session surveys, and more.

For the iPhone users you can download the free app from the App Store.

For the Android users you can download the free app from the Android Market.

Note: But there is a small bug that snuck into to the iOS app :(. I introduced a issue around data updates. With the long approval processes, there is no solution for a rapid fix. The app will properly update for the first time, but if there are more updates, you will need to delete the app, then reload it. I am hoping we don’t have any more changes between now and the end of the show. If James Talbot is listed in the speaker list, you have the latest information. Sorry about that.


360|Flex Session Change

Some of you might have noticed that my session topic at the upcoming 360|Flex conference has changed. I initially had to planned to talk about the new features and capabilities in Flash Catalyst, like I had done in my recent Ask A CS Pro session.  But the team at Adobe has decided to bring Jacob Surber, Product Manager for Flash Catalyst, and Peter Flynn, an engineer on Flash Catalyst out to Denver to introduce the latest features and capabilities. Trust me, you will want to attend their lunch session on Tuesday. 😉

After several conversation with John and Jacob, we decided that having two “Intro” level talks on Flash Catalyst did not make sense. So, back to the drawing board. As you might know I am also a mobile app developer, so instead I am going to presenting on Designing Great Mobile Applications. This talk is going to cover a lot of mobile UX principles, common design patterns and general observations form the trenches.

I hope to see you there!


Speaking at Adobe MAX!

I have been accepted to speak at this year’s Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles. The session is titled “Creating Compelling Mobile User Experiences: What You Need to Know” on Monday afternoon at 5pm. I did not blog about the session earlier because the session filled up. Well, the powers that be moved the session to a larger room, so there are now seats available!

The talk is going to focus on how to use prototyping as part of your workflow to help discover issues when developing mobile applications. I will be giving examples of how prototyping resolved various design challenges when creating mobile apps.

I hope it will be an informative session. The session will be recorded and on Adobe TV sometime after the show. I will post that information once I know.

On Tuesday, I will be presenting at the FiTC unconference about the process of creating the Adobe MAX unconference application. This will be a more code level type of talk. Hope to see you there! If you have an Android device (running Froyo), you can down the app from the Android Market.

360|Flex East, yeah there are apps for that!

I know John Wilker has mentioned this on the 360|Flex blog and twitter streams, but I want to let others know that my latest conference apps were available. Yes, you read that right plural. The iPhone version can be downloaded for free from the App Store. It has all the usual features one would want in a conference app, sessions, speakers, the ability to mark your sessions for easy viewing, and where the local beer pubs are!

But with the Adobe’s announcement of AIR for Android, I decided to also create a version based on the runtime. In the past, I had made a jQTouch website for the non-iPhone users. Now I can create a more native applications (and in a technology I love!). Not all the features made it into the Android version, but enough. There might be an update shortly, and since I don’t have to wait 7-14 days for someone to approve the update, I can push it out to you once I am ready!

Schedule screen for the AIR for Android version

This application was built with Flash Professional CS5. I thought about using the Flex framework, but currently the components are not very touch-friendly. This will change with the upcoming release of “Hero”, but until then I will use Flash.

The data is stored in a SQLLite database, in fact the same database the powers the iPhone version.

One of the major changes between this version, and its precursor app for FITC San Francisco, is the ability to submit session surveys.

This took a little bit of work to develop the user interface for this. One thing that is not available to AIR for Android is direct access to native style components. For this I turned to Kevin Hoyt’s components. I have extended them to include a radio button, as well as a few other tweaks. Once I have cleaned them up, I will release my modifications.

I hope attendees at 360|Flex East who have either an AIR for Android capable device or an iOS device find these apps useful.

You can download the app directly here.

For those of you attending Adobe’s MAX conference in Los Angeles, I will be speaking on developing AIR for Android at the FITC unconference.

Designer/Developer Workflow Recap & Slides

Designer / Developer Workflow Conference

Last weekend I had the pleasure of both attending and speaking at the inaugural Designer/Developer Workflow Conference (D2WC), held in Kansas City, MO. The conference is the brainchild of Dee Sadler. For those you who are not familiar with the name, Dee has long been an Adobe community leader. So, it is no surprise that she would create a conference exploring the connections between the designer and the developer.

The conference had many top-level speakers, including Doug Winnie, Adobe Principal Product Manager for Adobe Flash Catalyst, Flash Platform Workflow and WorkflowLab (as he put it: “the longest title at Adobe”); Ben Stucki; Chad Udell; Rob Huddleston; and the dynamic duo of Aaron Pedersen and James Polanco.

Doug Winnie's Keynote

Doug kicked off the conference with a great keynote that explored some very familiar workflows in “The Real Designers and Developers of Kansas City”. I really enjoyed Doug’s presentation, as it was a refreshing change from typical keynotes. Doug obviously understands workflow issues and is passionate about them. Each of six personas were grounded in recognizable situations (almost everyone in the room would nod in agreement as each of the workflow issues were presented). I later found out the ‘Chris’ persona was modeled after me. Thankfully, he chose not to use my photo.


I personally had the pleasure of presenting two sessions. The first was “Prototyping: A Component for Successful Projects”. You can read a review of the talk on Doug Boude’s blog. I have placed the slide deck on SlideShare. I am not sure how useful they will be without commentary.

The other presentation was “Practical Design and Development with Flash on Mobile and Devices”. Originally, Scott Janousek was scheduled to present, but business issues forced his cancellation. Hopefully, I was a suitable replacement to talk about mobile development ;). I also have placed that slide deck on SlideShare. In case you were wondering, I once again created a mobile application for the conference.

Some of the great sessions I attended were Rob Huddleston’s “Flash Catalyst for Developers”, James Polanco’s (I never get first billing) and Aaron Pedersen’s “10 ways to please your Flex Dev”, and “Flash Game Design” given by Seb Lee-Delisle. But like any good conference, it is the conversations in the hallways and evenings that truly make the event. One thing I can offer as a piece of advice to any conference attendee, strike up a conversation with the speakers, they usually like to talk about stuff 😉 .

The biggest take away from all the sessions was, “having great communication within your team will solve a lot of problems (world-class tools help too!)”. I was reminded of a workflow issue I had about 14 years ago, but which highlights this so issue so clearly even today. I was working for an educational game company, using Macromedia Director (yes, I called it Macromedia Director!). In that version, image rotation was not possible. The interaction designer was not aware of this limitation, and had the art department (an actual art studio that had produced feature films), create an hour hand and a minute hand. She assumed that programmatically we could rotate the clock hand to the correct position. So the spec was written, the asset list delivered to the studio, then finally it was all given to the development team in massive three-ring binders, who had NEVER been involved with the project until that point (I love Waterfall development!). We quickly identified the rotation issue and informed the game designer. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to formally modify the art assets (version control issues), so a formal change request had to be made to the studio, that request was then placed in the studio’s queue, and 2-3 weeks later we would have a series of clock hands. I know, I know, this all seems incredibly maddening, and it was. It took all of 10 minutes inside Photoshop for the programmer to generate the proper assets and continue their programming of the game. How much time and effort could have been saved by having a developer involved in the process from the start? As you start your next project, look to your team and ask yourself how can you better work together?

Again, many thanks to Dee (and her two key helpers: Leif Wells and Lisa Heselton), for organizing (and inviting me to) this amazing conference. It was a huge success. Hopefully all of you will be able to attend next year and experience a first-class series of presentations and great conversations.

Flash and the City: mobile app saga

I thought I would take a few moments to talk about the Flash and the City conference’s mobile app. I knew the FATC crew was working on a great iPhone app based on the Flash Profession CS5 Packager for iPhone solution. Then section 3.3.1 was modified in the iPhone TOS and that was the end of that effort. I had originally planned on attending the conference, so I offered my conference schedule application framework to them to build a replacement. So I set about grabbing the various bits of data and coding up a new schedule application.

A new feature I was hoping to deploy was some geo-location. I had a map for my FlashCamp San Francisco app I wrote (but did not release).
Last Sunday, I put the finishing touches on the app after some testing by my Jr. Developers, and submitted into Apple.

Well, Wednesday afternoon rolls around and the application was still awaiting approval. I was not going to let the FATC crew down, and began creating a web app version of the schedule. I turned to the jQTouch library to use as my framework. With some careful find and replace work in TextWrangler, I soon had converted the major portions of the application from the Titanium Appcelerator version to a jQTouch version.

The following day I tweaked the code a bit more to improve the user experience (the upside of a web app over a native app). Another bonus was folks with an Android based device, would have a useful mobile friendly version of the conference schedule. The app can be viewed here.

I am wonder how many flags were triggered in Apple’s application screening process. Heck, I bet Mr. SJ probably has to view the app before it’s fate is decided. At this point, the app is worthless with one day left in the conference (Although I am collecting a great set of bios on many in the Flash community).

My new effort is to create a similar application for Designer/Developer Workflow Conference in mid-June. I now plan to have the various versions of that application done as soon as possible to avoid this issue again.

Update: The app was approved yesterday. Feel free to download it and see what we built.

More iPhone Development

Well I just finished up developing another iPhone app! This time for the upcoming 360iDev Conference. Although the app I wrote for the 360Flex conference worked great, there is always room for improvements. The most notable change is that this app is built using the 1.1 version of the Titanium SDK. This has given the app a nice performance boost. It also gave me some user interface elements that were not previously available, the A-Z index control for the speaker list.

Unfortunately, it did require quite a bit of recoding. The new SDK has moved away from WebViews as their primary view source, so I had to redesign most of the screens to use the faster native views. I also took the time to expand the update engine, to allow more flexibility for last minute schedule changes.

One planned feature for the 1.0 release that was dropped, was the ability to mark a session as a favorite. With the launch of the iPad, I thought it best to make sure that the app got into the approval process to make sure it was ready before the conference. I am currently testing the feature, and hope to have an update submitted shortly.

I forgot, one more new feature is a map of the eBay Town Hall. I didn’t know John had one for 360Flex (but a fair number of us were repeat attendees, so it was not as important). So, for the 360iDev attendees they are covered.

The app can be downloaded for free at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/360idev-san-jose/id365225079?mt=8

FlashCamp San Francisco : April 16th : Flash Player 10.1, Flash CS5, Flash Mobile

FlashCamp San Francisco is a free one night event hosted by Adobe covering everything you need to know about about the latest Flash Platform tools and technologies, including Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Flash CS5, Adobe Flash Builder 4 and mobile design and development.

I was at the last FlashCamp in San Francisco and it was a great event! It is an awesome way to talk directly to the folks who make the platform and tools that we all use. They usually have lots of goodies to had out, so if you can’t afford attending MAX, a cheap flight to San Francisco might be in order. I got my ticket, get yours before they are gone.

360Flex, there’s an app for that!

With 360|Flex San Jose right around the corner, I am happy to announce that the OFFICIAL conference iPhone app that I wrote is now available!!

After the Adobe MAX show, I began talking with John about doing something for 360|Flex. I attended the first one, and have always admired their energy and passion they put into their conferences, so I knew I needed to try to create something that reflected what 360|Flex is all about.

The app has the standard information: session times and details, speaker bios, and sponsor information.

But the app also allows users to fill out those all important session surveys right from your iPhone.

In my original design documents for the MAX app, I had some Twitter integration mapped out, so I made sure we had some Twitter functionality in it as well.

Like most projects, there was a list of cool ideas that did not make into this version, but there is always the next 360|Flex conference! I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the conference, and come tell me what you think of the app.

RIA Radio, Live at Adobe MAX – Day 1 Keynote

RIA Radio Logo

I was honored to be a guest on RIA Radio during the recent Adobe MAX show. I joined the hosts, Garth BraithwaiteLeif Wells and  Zach Stepek, along with fellow guest Kevin Schmidt. We discussed the announcements from the Day 1 keynote (Flash for the iPhone, Flash 10.1 on mobile, TVs, and netbooks.)  Throughout the entire show, they sat down with a lot of cool folks, so take a listen.

RIA Radio

Listen to this podcast ( mp3). You can also subscribe to the RIA Radio Podcast in iTunes.

Kevin Schmidt to discuss the big MAX announcements and give our take on what they mean. Topics covered include: Flash for the iPhone, Flash 10.1 on mobile, TVs, and netbooks.
Experts: Leif Wells and  Zach Stepek
Listen to this week’s podcast ( mp3). You can also subscribe to the RIA Radio Podcast in iTunes.
Read more from Garth Braithwaite.