28 January 2008
I have been utilizing Adobe technologies for quite some time now, as I have always had a great passion for design and programming. To that end, Adobe Photoshop has always been my tool of choice to creatively express myself while the Adobe Flash technology is my preference for facilitating my programming interests.
As far as I remember it was around 1996 when I discovered Future Splash Animator—a predecessor of Adobe Flash. For the time, the design capabilities were impressive, yet even back then I never felt it suited me due to its limited number of built-in actions (e.g.
gotoAndPlay) and subsequent lack of programming features. However, it wasn't long until ActionScript emerged and Flash became a more advanced programming and designing tool. I fell in love with it on the spot and have been using it ever since. It simply allows me to realize myself.
I am involved in several projects at any given time, both brand new, from the ground up development and from ongoing support and maintenance of large rich Internet applications (RIAs), so it's difficult to say which one is the latest. That being said, my recent commercial projects include: a multimedia interactive game for Telekomunikacja Polska, a dedicated Flex and J2EE application for The Washington Times, a corporate website with Adobe AIR and Flex interactive elements for Mindshare Worldwide, and an Adobe AIR/Flex and J2EE application called the Rainforest Timetracker used by Janmedia for internal project tracking initiatives.
My most recent Flash creation is a mini-site for the GlaxoSmithKline product "Niquitin—Polska Rzuca". My most recent development outside of work in my "freetime" is an automated Flex-based prototyping tool. This application extrapolates UML models (including RT-UML) directly from XMI format files based on class, sequence, and activity diagrams with additional time constraints. I have to say it's a fun project to work on as it is heavily tied to my PhD dissertation.
The answer is simple in that Adobe Flex, Adobe AIR and all Flash technologies excite me! They were developed to push the limits of web-based content delivery and enable me to make products that spark the reaction of WOW! I have yet to receive a set of requirements from any client that Flash, Flex or Adobe AIR wasn't the optimal front office technology. In one word, these technologies are a creatively usable standard—ok so it's three words but they really convey the power of these technologies.
What inspires me? It's the enormous advancement and ongoing improvements of these technologies that have happened over the decade. I remember when I was working on a hybrid presentation for NASA TRMM. At the time, I wished it could have read PDF format using built-in classes; nowadays it can. When I was working on an ActionScript-based, SCORM-compliant eLearing implementation, I wished it had allowed me to create functional components and store them in CVS for integration with web services (e.g. WSDL or Resful). Now with Flex I can do it.
I can answer that question very specifically as I am currently working for Mindshare developing a 3D chat room using Papervision 3D 2.0. It would be great to have built-in 3D transformation classes in ActionScript, as well as hardware acceleration support in Flash Player. Additionally, the Flash Player's sound engine could also use an upgrade, as it has been several years since it was developed. For instance, having multichannel sound support would be great.
I believe that a well constructed UML editor that enables the efficient transformation from RT-UML to Flex will be truly revolutionary. Such an application should have formal language support, which will enable an analyst (designer) to smoothly transition (with verification tests) from the initial model of a multimedia application into both the graphical project and source code in Flex, creating an extremely usable tool.
In addition to the revolution of production process described above, I also envision quite the revolution in terms of speed to market as a project traverses the RIA production life cycle, once Thermo is release and works together with Flex.
The prominent activity of current user groups here in Poland has been mainly centered around the creative suite of applications (such as Photoshop and Flash); therefore, some of my colleagues and I have opted to create our own community specializing and concentrating on Flex and Adobe AIR technologies. We called it FlexTech and it has been rapidly gaining momentum since its creation. We plan to release a portal, flextech.pl, in the coming months, which will help to both present our experience in Flex and Adobe AIR development as well as to simply discuss these technologies with other likeminded individuals.
I have also personally contributed to the community as a whole, as an author of several journalistic and scientific articles, which are focused on RIA/Flex topics, ranging from technological, modeling (UML,E-LOTOS), and managing (telecommuting, adaptive processes, organizational structures) perspectives.