David Hassoun


26 January 2009

What (Adobe and non-Adobe) technologies are you currently using?

The majority of my day is spent using Adobe Flex Builder and, occassionally, Adobe Flash for application development and UI work. Nowadays I also spend a lot of time integrating and using Adobe Flash Media Server 3.5 (and 3.0) as well as Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder for a variety of video-based applications, samples, and tools. Now and then I jump into Adobe Premiere Pro or Adobe After Effects for some capturing or motion graphics work, and I've been using Adobe Media Encoder (and recently a lot of Flash Media Encoding Server) for some real horsepower and fine-tuned control.

Honestly, though, the program I probably use more than anything else is Microsoft Outlook for e-mail—it seems to run my life—and either Microsoft Outlook OneNote or good old-fashioned Notepad if I am feeling low-tech.

What is your most recent project you've built and what (Adobe and non-Adobe) technologies have you used?

In January our team will be launching a new, large Flex-based store application for Beatport.com. It is a really slick site with a great UI design from Beatport and some heavy collaboration and development done with our team and theirs. We used Flash, Flex, and the basic design tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks to make this site happen.

What excites you, inspires you, or makes you say, "Wow that's really cool" about the technologies you work with?

Probably the thing that gets me the most excited is when I see what kind of cool ways I can extend the products that we work with or control them from accessible APIs. I really love building helper tools and utilities that help us leverage the tools and tasks we face. When we have the opportunity to extend and automate the exciting tools we already have, it really just makes me all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Also just about anything cool and new with video brings a grin to my face and gets me all jazzed to go to work.

Where do you get your information about technology?

Google is usually a good place to start, with a hefty side order of blogs, and the occasional book off Amazon to wrap up a nice meal. If I am needing a late-night snack, I will swing by some community sites, or a forum or two.

What are some of your favorite community resources, websites, or blogs?

I think the best place to start is the Adobe Developer Connection. From there, it breaks out to more technology-specific locations. I like CG Channel for fun 3D stuff. For Flash Media Server goodies, I go to FMSGuru.com, the FlexCoders mailing list, and a too-wide selection of blogs to narrow down.

How are you involved with the community?

I have been the Rocky Mountain Adobe User Group manager for a few years. It's a general Adobe user group in Denver, Colorado, that has a few hundred members. I also recently took up the post of user group manager for the Flash Media Server User Group, an international, virtual user group that launched in late 2008. I also teach as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver on the topic of advanced rich Internet application development using Flash and Flex.

I have written a bunch of articles for the Adobe Developer Connection, as well as co-authoring a couple Flash/Flex books. Last but not least, I usually speak at a heavy handful of conferences throughout the year—nationally and internationally.

What is your favorite or most useful electronic gadget that you own?

My iPhone—probably the most cliché answer but, seriously, it is an amazing device. The only thing really missing from it is Adobe Flash Player! I love what it offers out of box, then added with the applications and the semi-acceptable development platform, it is a great package. The user experience is pretty dang good and provides a nice treat for my rich media tooth on top of my critical business needs.

What's the one thing you'd love to see in web technologies in the future?

Extensibility and enhanced desktop features really get me excited. There is also always room to grow the development tools to be better, stronger, and faster as well as the delivery platforms. I am really excited to see where video over the web paired with the growing visual and data power of Internet applications is going. The blockades holding that area back for years are tumbling down and it will be exciting to see what the future holds that many people haven't even thought possible.

Continued workflow integration from design to development to delivery are exciting areas of focus and growth. This really breaks down the barriers between designers and developers and enhances the whole end-to-end workflow. Bring on the Adobe Flash Catalyst and "Gumbo" (Flex 4) magic!

What was the genesis/origin/history for your existing work?

I started as a graphic designer hating anything to do with programming and drooling over anything to do with motion and interactivity. Naturally I was drawn to Flash after an on and off relationship with trusty old Macromedia Director. As Flash matured from a purely visual platform to more of a robust application platform, I evolved with it—begrudgingly at times.

Along the path I spent a fair bit of time gaining experience with video production and post-production. As time progressed, I became to really enjoy the architecture and programming aspect of Flash-based development, and Flex was a path that continued to foster the growing application direction that the technology and myself was following.

Nowadays I still get to leverage my UI design and usability skills at a small level, and spend most of my time either managing our teams and clients, or leading application architecture and strategy for our clients. Last year we renewed our focus on the Flash Media Server family of products, such as Flash Media Server and Flash Media Encoding Server, and have been building some really exciting solutions and tools utilizing those media products.

What's next for you? For technology?

For me what's next is a big jump in the Flash video/media game, first by starting to add a new focus on video encoding/transcoding and building a powerful automated workflow for managing large jobs using Adobe AIR and other Adobe products. From there we will continue down the path of RIA development with Flash and Flex, and have fun along the way using all the latest and greatest technologies whenever we can.

For technology, I have many hopes and believe things will continue on a solid path. Hard to say what great and new thing will come out that changes the whole playing field, but it's bound to happen sooner or later. We are looking forward to Flash Catalyst and Flex 4 and where things are headed on the mobile frontier. I'm also really hoping that AIR solidifies up with what you can truly bring to the desktop.