Adobe MAX Chicago Keynote

I was liveblogging during the keynote at Adobe MAX. Here's a summary and the notes I took during the session.


The only big announcement that was made was regarding Astro (Flash Player 10). Astro will feature a new text engine that supports true RTL text (for languages like Hebrew) as well as multi-column editable text layouts, new 3D features, and a custom bitmap effects language codenamed Hydra (part of the cross-platform Adobe Image Foundation (AIF) Toolkit).

Flash Lite 3, with support for video playback and streaming, Flex 3 Beta 2, the Adobe Media Player were also mentioned.

There was lots of talk of Flash video (especially H.264) and Adobe AIR. The newly revamped DevNet, now called the Adobe Developer Network, was also shown.

Liveblogged notes

(emphasis: my comments).

Kevin Lynch is talking about the new Adobe Developer Network. He also shows off a networking app.

Adobe's COO has taken the stage and he's talking about "making good experiences great". He's throwing about some buzz phrases "content is king", "make it personal", "less is more", etc. I guess this is the boring marketing bit that you have to sit through to get to the good stuff! :)

He's showing two mobile phones with different interfaces, one for a middle-aged user and one for a teenage user. He's demoing it on an elmo. Should have used an N95 with direct video out (the quality of the image was not good at all).

For "less is more", he's showing the Video Remixer in Premiere Express. The timeline looks like the one in Jumpcut. Looks like Adobe's answer to iMovie. Seems very easy to use and yet far better featured than iMovie '08. I should check Premiere out again (it's been a while).

He's talking about how "movement has meaning" and is going to demo the Adobe Media Player. Finally, he's talking about "creating an experience not a UI" and showing the 2007 Tour of California web site which integrates video, GPS data, Flickr pictures, real-time chat, etc. to create an experience.

"Technology is finally catching up with our vision." I agree with that.

Kevin is taking the stage again.

Flash is the #1 video format on the web. He's talking about H.264 and embedding it into the Flash player. They've been working with Yahoo! on this.

He's showing us a video of Yahoo! developers talking about video and how excited they are about Flash and video.

Yahoo! is using the Flash player, Flash Media Server and CS3 Production Premium.

Summary: Adobe is really big on video.

Video in Flash: 1080p, multi-core CPU boost, full-screen hardware scaling, 50% faster bitmap downscaling, etc.

He's showing a demo of 480p video. Lots of artifacts. 720p. Much nicer. (It's playing on MovieStar). Even on full-screen. He's not showing a demo of 1080p.

He's showing a demo of the Halo 3 web site. "A great job of Microsoft using Flash on their web site." (Audience laughs).

He's showing Adobe Media Player which lets you take RSS feeds of video and watch the videos. You can use them offline. CBS, PBS and Yahoo are all providing content. As well as Blip TV, etc. There are shows like Make, CSI, digg, Wired, etc.

Adobe Media Player has ads. You can even add ads to the video itself. It's available in beta on Labs today.

Now he's talking about Flash Lite 3 and video on mobile devices. Over 300,000,000 phones with Flash. (But which version?) He showing the same CSI video he showed previously on an Nokia N95. You can also do live streams to Flash Lite 3. Available next month on Labs.

He's now talking about web sites. Showing a demo of United Way's web site. Built with Coldfusion 7 and Dreamweaver.

I'm just not sold on any server-side technology that isn't open source -- application servers have become a commodity today. Ben Forta and another developer from Adobe are demoing CF stuff. I'm switching off until there's something that excites me (CF doesn't!)

Still waiting for something interesting (i.e., for the Coldfusion/LiveCycle stuff to end).

Yay, the CF bit is over.

Kevin's back on stage, talking about RIAs. He's showing off Scrapblog.

He's now talking about moving outside of the browser with Adobe AIR. "Take your web development skills to build desktop apps."

Ed Rowe, head of the AIR dev team is on stage now. He's giving an overview of how AIR works.

He notes that as of AIR Beta 1, AIR has an embedded SQL database.

He's showing a customer manager app written by Nitobi. You can drag and drop from the desktop to an AIR app.

They're getting very close to AIR 1.0. Today, as of right now, Beta 2 of AIR is available on, as well as Beta 2 of Flex 3 and updates the Dreamweaver extension and Flash extension for AIR development.

Kevin's back on stage.

You can use Flash, Flex, Ajax to build AIR apps.

The next version of Flex, codenamed Moxy. Heidi Williams is talking about the next version of Flex now.

She's going to show four highly requested features: Flex profiler, language intelligence (and code refactoring) advanced data visualization, flex framework caching.

(All of these were previously demoed at FlashForward Boston the other week.)

She shows a demo of refactoring by changing a method name. It gets a lot of applause. I guess a lot of people here haven't seen JDT! Are there any other refactoring tools in the latest beta (pull out, etc.?)

The audience likes the new data grid and the Flex framework caching.

Kevin's back to announce the Flex AIR Derby winners: Spaz.AIR, Ora Time Tracker, Agile Agenda, SearchCoders, and Digimix.

Overall winner: Agile Agenda (a project manager).

Ebay is releasing the beta of their AIR application today.

AOL is working on an AIR app: Top 100 videos. They're launching it today too.

SAP, PayPal, etc. are building business apps on AIR. And a bunch of media apps being developed.

Disney is developing an app. Bob (Disney) and Cary (frog design) are taking the stage. They're talking about their "B2B web sites", etc. (OK, this is _really_ corporate dudes!.. Yawn!) The AIR app they built is really quite cool though.

Kevin is running through a bunch of AIR apps being developed now: Tweetr 2.1.

We can see Ryan Stewarts Twitter on the Adobe purchase of Buzzword.

Snippage: Very cool - make your own widgets by cutting up web sites.

Technical difficulty. The keyboard's not working.

Pronto: An email app. Looks very cool.

Google Analytics Reporting Suite. Nice!

OK, so AIR is really going to revolutionize _desktop_ apps by actually making them easy to build.

Drag and drop between AIR applications. (He dragged a chart from the PayPal app to the Pronto mail client.)

Looks like I have 8 minutes of battery left so I don't think I'm going to get the whole keynote. They haven't announced anything new yet!

There's a Facebook chat app on AIR (Wave IM).

He create a song using an AIR app, output it to a Quicktime file and then shared it with his friends by dragging it to the Pownce app.

H.264 is going to be in air in the next beta.

See, the difference between Flash/Flex/AIR and Silverlight/etc. is that the Adobe stuff is easy to understand and work with. Nice stuff!

Kevin's demoing the Adobe Buzzword AIR application. So Adobe's getting into the Office space. Interesting move.

OK, seriously out of juice...

Plugged in!

So, of course, they showed the Big New Thing the moment I ran out of juice! Astro: The code name for Flash Player 10.

They demoed RTL text, the next text controls (multi-column, flowing, editable text), the new 3D features, and Hydra, the new custom bitmap effects language.

I'm going to upload a video of the Astro announcements in a little bit.