Support Your Local Actionscript User/Developer Group.

I attended the second meeting of the Tampa Flash, Flex and Air Developers Group this evening and, like the first, found it worthwhile. It helps that, in addition to our local Adobe Evangelist Greg Wilson, we also were graced by the presence of Ben Forta and Kevin Hoyt. The connectivity of the Flash Platform and Coldfusion is such that this meeting included the local Tampa Coldfusion Group (though the link has not been working for me this week) so it with something of a blend of Coldfusion and Flash developers which fits me like a glove.

Ben regaled us with live demonstrations of an alpha of the upcoming Coldfusion Bolt as well as a bit of discussion of the advantages of the CF9 with integrated hibernate. It seems like Adobe has set their mark on two Marks - I had this disturbing image of the Centaur Forta trotting around the fallen, arrow pierced bodies of Mark Mandel and Mark Drew. Of course, it is premature to announce the death of Transfer or CFEclipse, my prefered IDE, as we have yet to even begin playing with what Adobe has in store. And all the adobe evangelistas were pointed in their inability/refusal to reveal what business models Adobe will use to monetize their efforts.

Of course, dark humor aside, the direction of Coldfusion 9 looks rather tremendous as they are opening up the services that make up a Coldfusion server instance to outside usage. The promise is that developers of other technologies, like java or php, could make direct use of sub-systems like the database interfaces or the cfmail systems without having to write any CFML. Potentially very cool stuff.

Kevin Hoyt did a good job of pimping Dreamweaver CS4 for AIR based on HTML and Javascript. I guess I had neglected Dreamweaver for awhile as I was surprised by several of the features. Mostly I was happy to see that Dreamweaver features a live previewing that renders the view including scripting. Back when I primarly developed in DHTML, the preview modes were pretty much useless. Now, they seem like they might actually be handy. As an aside, maybe because I have been to Busch Gardens (theme park with large open air zoo) too many times, but Kevin's talk had something of the tempo of the zoo train tour. This is a good thing though. It is also worth mentioning that Kevin demonstrated controlling some embedded control devices with Flex. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, so I was especially interested. Hopefully, I will have some interesting things to say about my own efforts with this in the near future.

Also, Jeremy Grelle of SpringSource discussed Flex, Spring, Java, BlazeDS integration. Unfortunately for me, this is just a bit too obscure for my current needs. His presentation seemed informative and I had a feeling that if I wound up needing this in the near future I'd be kicking myself for not really paying close attention.

Oh, and the swag. This is the second meeting of this group and thus far, the giveaways have been quite generous. The first meeting, I scored an Adobe t-shirt and a copy of Getting Started with Flex 3 and Alex scored a Flex training DVD. This time around, copies of First Steps in Flex to all those who wer interested - I scored a copy - some more copies of Getting Started and everyone also got a copy of the Tour de Flex dvd, chock full of flex goodness. For me, the giveaways were nice as I benefited from the Random Number Generating Gods and walked away with a copy of Flex Builder 3 Professional.

I'm definitely very appreciative of this, and while I will still be working with the open source actionscript ide, FlashDevelop, it is nice having options. Getting Builder Pro right before Flex Camp Miami is just really nice timing.

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