Adobe Product Manager, designer, and developer geek Doug Winnie discusses (and acts out) the most common designer/ developer issues, and offers predictions on how Adobe will help ease the pain in 2011.
Julie Campagna: Hi, I'm Julie Campagna, and I manage The Edge newsletter. Today I'm with Doug Winnie. He's a product manager at Adobe. He's a coder, he's a teacher, he's an, I would say, community activist. He just really gets embedded. I've asked Doug to join us because, you know, I figure it's the new year, and I wanted to know what Doug's predictions are for how are we going to help out our designer/developer community in 2011? Doug, first, before we go into predictionland, why don't you tell us a little bit about your process?
Doug Winnie: A big part of being a product manager is understanding your product, and if you're not actually out there using it, you don't really know. So, a lot of times when customers come up to me and say, hey Doug, I'm having a problem with x or y or z, I'm the kind of guy that needs to actually feel the pain. So, I get inside of it. I start coding, I start designing with them, and I see where things are broken.
Julie: Great. So, what are the most common pain points that our designer/developer community is experiencing right now?
Doug: Well, technology changes with the landscapes, the devices, the hardware, the software. Everything is changing, so if you want, I can talk about the top five.
Julie: The top five predictions for pain relief from Adobe in 2011, according to Doug.
Doug: Developing and designing for multiscreen. In 2010, all the technology came to play. So, we have Froyo, we have Flash Player, we have AIR. I mean, it's all out there. But ultimately, when I'm actually sitting in front of my desk and I'm playing with all this stuff and I have to test all these different phones and, do it one way on this phone, do it another on this phone, and don't really have any tools to do it? I ultimately just get frustrated and I say forget it, this is just ridiculous. So, I predict Adobe is going to be making tools that allow designers and developers to make multiscreen apps, whether it's with the Flash platform or with web standards and HTML.
Julie: Now, is that a prediction, or is that like a promise?
Doug: [whispers] I can't tell you. [music]
Doug: Making a successful online business when you don't have a lot of money. If you're a large company, you have a team that can do that for you. But if you're a small company, you don't have that, so you rely on the developer-like me-to try and come up with a way of how I can do email trafficking, inventory, credit card processing, blogs, all this kind of stuff. But, you're a small business. You don't have a lot of money to do that, and to do that entirely from scratch today? As a developer, I can't afford to do that at the cost of what a company wants. I predict that Adobe, through online platforms and tools, will make it easier and more cost-effective for developers and designers to make online businesses for their customers.
Julie: And number three? [music]
Doug: Capturing an idea in the moment it happens. When I'm out, I'm out for a walk, I'm completely away from my computer. I'm not doing anything else, and I get this great idea inside of my head, OK? If you don't bring that idea into reality quickly, it's going to fade away. I predict that Adobe is going to make it easier so that when you're in the moment, whether you have a mobile device, a tablet, you'll have the tools that you need to get that idea and bring it into reality.
Julie: OK, and number four?
Doug: I think that you just told me that you just got your first game on your phone, right?
Doug: OK. [music]
Doug: With Flash, it's really easy and powerful to make these really great games. But as a developer you put all this time, you put all your sweat, love and tears into these games, and a lot of times all you end up with is pocket change because it's really hard to monetize all this stuff. So, I predict that Adobe is going to be releasing services and capabilities so that when you release your game you won't just get money from the sale of the game, but also from in-app purchases and other opportunities.
Julie: And finally, number five. [music]
Doug: Figuring out HTML5. There's a lot of confusion with it. A lot of people, when they look at websites that they call HTML5, a lot of times it's just CSS3. I recently just sat down and tried to work with it, and ultimately it feels like you're in a therapy session and you're just sitting there on the couch and you are just like, "I cannot figure this out." And then the therapist says, "So how does that make you feel?" And it's like, "I want to cry." Because, it's so hard and it's so foreign to what I'm used to from coming from Flash. I predict that Adobe is going to be making tools and working with web frameworks to make it easier to work with HTML5, but also fight for the designer and the developer that need to make sure that the web standards bodies understand their pain.
Julie: Does that mean we're going to make it easier for people to learn and use HTML5?
Doug: I hope so, because therapy's expensive. I can't do it! I can't do it!
Julie: Well, Doug, thanks so much for sharing your predictions with us.
Doug: That's it?
Julie: Yes, it was the top five. Those were five.
Doug: Oh, right! Well, can you keep a secret?
Julie: Of course I can.
Doug: Can they?
Julie: Probably not.
Doug: OK, well, I'm going to tell you anyway.
Doug: You know that totally secret project that no one at the company knows about?
Julie: I have no idea what you're talking about.
Doug: That's right, because it's secret, right?
Julie: That's right.
Doug: All right. I'm going to tell you and your audience exactly what's going on. I want you to imagine that if we have this...[cell phone rings] Hold on. Hello, yes? Oh, Kevin, hi! [to Julie] I'm very sorry.
Julie: [whispers] Is that Kevin Lynch?
Doug: [whispers] Yes, shh. [to Kevin] Yes. No, no, no, no, I'm just down here with Julie. No, I'm not saying anything. No, I haven't revealed any...secrets...yet. Oh, you're with Shantanu. Yes, and oh, right now? In your office? Yes, sir. OK, bye-bye. [to Julie] I have to go.
Julie: Are you in trouble?
Doug: I will find out in a minute.
Julie: [to audience] Well, there you have it. Doug's predictions for Adobe in 2011 and ways that we hope to offer pain relief to our designer and developer community. I hope you have a great new year and I hope you enjoyed this edition of The Edge. [music]