This is my third 360|Flex event that I've attended, the others (that I spoke at) were 360|Flex unconference at Adobe MAX last year and 360|Flex San Jose earlier this year.
It was actually nice not to speak for a change. I got a lot more out of this conference than other conferences I've been to in recent times. The 360|Flex speakers are the best in their field and the sessions go into a lot of depth. There were a couple of unusual sessions this year as well.
The first day I spent in the litl workshop. Litl for those who don't know is web notebook like computer that can display applications written in HTML or flash, it uses a channels/desk of cards metaphor for the interface and is rugged and simple to use (unlike most laptops). It was a good overview of the platform and where it is going and how easy it is to code for it. The hard bit (like always) is coming up with a good application/idea to run on it. Things will be a bit more exciting when they bring out their next product a web connected TV box that has a really cool remote.
There were a few sessions I was unable to attend because they clashed or I didn't want my brain to melt. Michael Labriola's session Flex 4 Components from the Firehose I'll watch later so I can slow it down to half speed and have some chance of understanding it :-)
The session highlights were:
- Doug McCune's eulogy (weheartdoug.org) (so funny) and his keynote on pursuing tangents and your own interests as a form of career planning (or rather non planning).
- Jeff Tapper's talk on Flex 4 skinning. Now it's finally making more sense!
- Jesse vs Jesse. Debate on using pure ActionScript vs using the Flex Framework. Difficult questions well answered by both, bring it back next year for a rematch!
- Jeff Roberts' talk on Inversion of Control. IoC it seems is the new fashion in frameworks. It nice to know it's history, that most of us have been using it for ages (eg Flex events) and exactly what issues/problems it solves.
- Andrew Powell's session on RIA development and farming. Love sessions like this that are not what you expect at all.
- Jeff Tapper's and Michael Labriola's talk on writing testable code with the Flex framework. Practical session on how design and code so that it can be easily tested and you have confidence in your application. Just fantastic!
- Ben Stucki session on the art of computer science. All about how to avoid and pay back technical debt. Conferences need more sessions like this one.
- The great framework debate. Good overview of 3 of the more widely used and modern frameworks (Mate, Robotlegs and Swiz). Almost but not quite answered where would you use one instead of the other.
- Richard Lord's session on how to run an open source project. Honest and open talk on why he started an open source project, the issues he run into and what was learnt thought the process. If you are involved in a open source project or thinking of starting one up this session is a must catch it again as another conference or watch the video.
Finally it was great to have caught up with so many people I've met in the past and put a few more faces to names that have been involved in the Flash and Flex community for many years.
Thanks goes to John and his team for putting on yet another great conference, and to those who didn't make it to this conference you missed out big time!