Goodbye 2005, Hello 2006!

By all outward appearances, 2005 was a very successful year. I got to fly around and present at such wonderful conferences as FlashForward and Spark Europe and hang out with my friends on the Flash team in San Francisco as part of the Lego summit and share in the excitement of the Flash 8 launch in person. Practical Web Projects magazine called me one of the three top Flash developers in the world (and I can think of a dozen other developers more worthy of the title at the drop of a hat) and my training courses consistently received glowing reviews. And last, but definitely not least, OSFlash exploded on to the scene and ballooned into an amazing resource on open source for the Flash community. In other words, by all outward appearances, 2005 was a very successful year.

Unfortunately, there are two events that took place towards the end of the year that stop me from celebrating –- one of which will forever define the year as one of the saddest moments in my life. You see, in October, my love of six years –- the person I was closest to in the world –- left to pursue her own dreams. It was a blow, unlike any I have ever experienced. I'm usually proud of my ability to take hits and plough on. I guess I'd never been broadsided by an ocean tanker before because I'm only now realizing that it completely took me out of commission for a couple of months and I'm only now recovering. I realize now that the decision was probably the best one for both of us but it doesn't make it any easier to come to terms with. The loss of someone so close to you is a pain I cannot begin to explain in words.

To make bad worse, at the same time -– and against my better judgment -- I took on a development project, subcontracting for a client with a small company here in the UK. After redesigning the failing application completely, moving it from Flash to Flex, CF to J2EE (to enable us to use complex Value Objects without hacking around CF), putting together a stellar development team (including my good friend and genius developer, Darron Schall) and developing at breakneck speed, the client informed us half-way through –- in place of a thank-you -- that he couldn't pay us. Learn from my mistake: If this happens to you: Stop. And sue. Instead, I naively tried to help and offered to discount our rates substantially and we ended up working for six more weeks before being told again that we wouldn't be paid. I won't go into any details here but suffice it to say that lawyer's letters have been sent and my thank-you for saving this project has been a net financial loss.

I'm so disenchanted with third-party development because of this last project that I'm not going to be doing any more of it. Instead, in 2006, I'm going to concentrate on my training courses, including a new line of online courses, on consulting and on presenting at the various conferences I've been invited to. The only development I will be doing from now on is on my own products. The hassle of developing for third-parties is definitely not worth it –- life's too short.

So 2005 hasn't been the best year for me but I can say this much: 2006 is going to rock!

Those of you on the OSFlash list may have noticed that I was a little distant in the past few months: Well, no longer! I'm back and I am entirely psyched about supporting and growing our wonderful community.

2006 is going to see my new line of training courses which I will be working night and day on to make into the best ActionScript, Flash and Flex learning materials ever. And, as always, you'll find me in the corridors of some conference, passionately defending the importance of development process, Agile Methodologies and User-Centered Product Development :)

I can't wait to see you all at FlashForward Seattle and Flash In The Can and, I'm sure, this year's Spark Europe (Stewart, when're we doing the next one – the last one rocked!)

Here's to an exciting 2006 let the party begin!