Adobe MAX 2007:
Connect, discover, inspire

by Ted Patrick

Ted's top ten things to do at MAX

  1. Improve your skills and learn new ones.
  2. Connect with Adobe customers.
  3. Solicit feedback for product features (mainly Flex).
  4. Attend keynote sessions (always informative, often entertaining).
  5. Get sneak peeks at emerging technology.
  6. Network with like-minded developers.
  7. Eat pizza, drink beer, and talk shop at Birds of a Feather events.
  8. Participate in the MAX Awards (vote for your favorite, meet the nominees and winners).
  9. Attend the special event (you never know what it's going to be until you get there).
  10. Return to your job revitalized and more closely connected to the Adobe community.

As a web developer, I have attended many Macromedia and Adobe user conferences over the years. Like most attendees, I look forward to the annual user conference because it provides a unique opportunity for me to learn about new products and technologies, connect with my peers, interact with members of the product teams, and even influence product direction. In fact, I've attended so many user conferences and have met so many Adobe influencers, that I eventually joined Adobe as a full-time employee.

As a technical evangelist on the Adobe® Flex™ software team, I am now dedicated to making sure this year's MAX conference is better than ever. For the past couple of months, I've been working with the various product teams and reaching out to designers and developers, via my blog, to help me define tracks, identify sessions, and wrangle leaders in the community to present at MAX North America, MAX Europe, and MAX Japan. I've also spent a fair amount of time planning networking events and parties. If you've ever attended MAX, you know that in addition to learning and developing new skills, you also get to schmooze with like-minded individuals and pursue new opportunities.

Five tracks, more than 200 sessions

The main reason I've always attended the annual Adobe (and former Macromedia) user conference is to take part in various sessions and workshops to improve my skills and develop new ones. This year is no different. I am happy to report that MAX 2007 will offer more than 200 unique sessions and 26 hands-on workshops held in five distinct tracks.

While I may be an Adobe employee, I am still a developer. I plan to get on the RIAs track and attend as many sessions and workshops as possible. Below you'll find a description of the five tracks available during MAX:

Sterling speakers

Did I mention the speaker lineup? We've put a lot of time and energy into finding the right people to speak and present at MAX 2007. The lineup reads like a who's-who in the world of web design and development and includes Grant Skinner, Josh Hirsch, Erik Natzke, and John Grden. Additionally, Keith Peters will present "Making Things Move." Keith is one of the best interactive developers in the world and is the leading author for programmatic animation and motion graphics.

Jesse James Garrett, the man who coined the term Ajax and defined a new pattern for architecting web applications, will also be presenting at MAX. And after a long hiatus, Aral Balkin is not only attending MAX but will also present a session, "Rediscovering Fun." Aral's presence and session are sure to be a crowd-pleaser because he works with Flash on the Nintendo Wii and various mobile devices. We continue to add speakers to the list, so check the MAX website often to see the list grow.

So many events, so little time

From the opening keynote and sneak peeks to the special event and informal sessions, there's a lot to do at MAX 2007. The Birds of a Feather (BOF) and Meet the Team (MTT) sessions are my favorite events, and this year these sessions have an added bonus: beer and pizza. I am also happy to report that we are expanding these sessions. This year, we have twelve 50-minute MTT sessions and twenty-four 50-minute BOF sessions. Plus, the community is now in charge of BOF sessions. In fact, anyone can propose a BOF session by joining the MAX 2007 BOF discussion list on Yahoo! Groups. The list will show all appropriate sessions, for which the community can vote, and the most popular 24 BOF sessions get rooms sized accordingly.

Boot Camps are another new addition. They enable you to work directly with the ColdFusion, Flex, Adobe AIR, LiveCycle, and Mobile & Devices development teams for three and a half hours. These camps go way beyond the MTT and BOF sessions because you get to work directly with the development teams in a collaborative environment. The sessions will provide a mixture of short presentations, workshops, and freeform coding. Be sure to bring your laptop, questions, feature requests, and coolest projects to share — and get ready to learn something new. Additionally, the teams will distribute thumb drives with the latest bits so that you can install the software on your computer.

Finally, Adobe has partnered with O'Reilly Ignite to bring 16 new sessions to MAX 2007 in Chicago. These sessions are designed to showcase projects that the community has made and will demonstrate how each project was created using Adobe tools and technologies. Here are the details:

Of the 16 sessions, two will be selected (by SMS voting) to be included in the MAX 2007 Keynotes. This is your opportunity to present at MAX 2007 in Chicago, and better yet, it's your chance to be in the MAX Keynotes.

Participate in the annual MAX Awards

Calling all designers and developers: Don't miss the opportunity to showcase your work. Nominations are now being accepted for the annual MAX Awards (deadline is August 3).

This year, we will award projects in seven categories: Advertising & Branding, Communication & Collaboration, Enterprise, Mobility & Devices, Public Sector, Rich Internet Applications, and Video.

Submit your project today and vie for a chance to win a complimentary pass to MAX 2007 in Chicago and to be the envy of your peers. Submit your project today.

Mark your calendar

MAX 2007 North America takes place September 30 through October 3 in Chicago. If you are one of the many Edge subscribers that reside outside North America, you can attend MAX 2007 Europe or MAX 2007 Japan. To register or learn more about the event, visit the Adobe MAX 2007 home page. 

I hope to see you in Chicago!

Register for MAX 2007


Ted Patrick is a Flex technical evangelist at Adobe Systems, a serial entrepreneur, and passionate software developer.