FITC 2007 Retrospective

Web conferences are paradoxical in that you usually have the worst Internet access ever at them so I've essentially been offline for the duration of the otherwise excellent FITC conference in Toronto.

FITC for me was three days of being reunited with friends and attending inspiring and informational sessions. There was a really great line-up this year and I actually preferred the new venue at the Hilton hotel. I felt that having the conference rooms closer together made it easier for me to attend more of the talks and the event just felt more focussed, somehow, thanks to the layout of the venue.

I also enjoyed being in downtown Toronto with its myriad of dining options and spectacular city views.

The highlights of the conference for me were the awards ceremony where Papervision3D won Best Experimental and the all important People's Choice award (congratulations to Carlos, Ralph, and John as well as Liber for convincing Carlos to go open source with the project), John Grden's guitar solos and Chris Allen's trombone playing during their Red5 session, John Maeda's talk on simplicity (a theme that I am quite fond of myself), Dave Yang and Dongyub Lee's talk on Flash Lite and Mobile Development, Mario's talk on image analysis and generative art, and Grant's talk on the new AS3 components in Flash CS3 (it's always great to hear about things straight from the horse's mouth -- not that Grant's mouth is anything like that of a horse!)

I took notes feverishly during Grant and Dave's talks and will blog them shortly (once I type out the hand-written bits that I scribbled down when I ran out of juice on my Mac).

I also felt that my own talk on Rediscovering Fun was really well received. It was wonderful to present SWX for the first time at an international conference. Based on conversations I had with some of my friends at FITC, it looks like they are getting excited about SWX.

One point that became increasingly clear in my conversations is that SWX is going to be the way to create data-driven Flash Lite applications.

I quickly hacked together a simple Flash Lite demo to show SWX running on my mobile phone. (One caveat, currently, is that POST doesn't appear to work with LoadMovie on Flash Lite 2.1 so you have to use GET. This should not be a big deal since the data you send from the client to the server in mobile applications is usually minimal in size.) As SWX uses native SWF bytecode for data exchange and has no processing hit for deserializaion, it is a far better solution to parsing XML or using LoadVars on processor-challenged mobile devices. In short, if you are building Flash Lite applications, you should start looking into SWX.

I also had a great conversation with Mike Downey that was filmed and should be released on the web shortly. I'll post a link to it when it becomes available.

In short, FITC was a blast! Thanks go to Shawn, Naomi, and the rest of the organizational committee, as well as the tireless FITC volunteers for staging a wonderful conference.

Here's looking forward to FITC Amsterdam!