Yesterday afternoon I attended the latter half of the Adobe CS3: Creative License Tour’s London date at The Vue, Leicester Square. Unsure whether the day would be more of a marketing pitch for buyers rather than demonstrating the software in any kind of depth for producers, I was pleased to find the one session I did manage to get to pretty informative.
Ben Forsaith, a product specialist at Adobe, gave a two and a half hour presentation entitled ‘Rich Internet Applications Development’, given in two parts, promising full coverage of the Web-end software in the CS3 suite.
The first half centered around my new favourite, Flex, and it’s integration with its sister apps. It was good to get the very latest (and also comprehensive) view straight from an Adobe source and to hear too, where they see it sit within the CS3 family. The main pitch was that Flex brings together designers and developers alike, essentially, that the new Flex Builder IDE with it’s still-evolving ‘Design View’ accommodates the designer far more like the Flash IDE, or even Dreamweaver, than the developer-only Flex SDK.
What I was more interested in was seeing what’s in development right now. Throughout, Forsaith used the Flex 3 beta, Moxie. He also demonstrated it’s seamless integration with Illustrator and Fireworks – generating CSS output from vector-based assets created in Illustrator and now exporting MXML from Fireworks after using Flex-native components from inherently shared libraries.
It was also good to see Flex using live MySQL queries – I’ve only used/seen XML data to bind up until this point.
The second half opened with a good look at ColdFusion 8. I’d never really used ColdFusion to any extent before, so it seems like a completely different program (but then he said it pretty much is now).
Then came Adobe AIR (previously Apollo). Having only seen a brief look at a couple of apps in the showcase, it was good to see them in full swing. He demonstrated a fair amount, including Finetune – streaming music and playlists from your desktop – and Fresh – an RSS aggregator and manager. We also got a look at eBay’s San Dimas, which seems perfect for AIR. It’s exactly the type of thing that works with the online/offline balance and a great sell for eBay without basically having to create a parallel service or having a complete overhaul.
Forsaith then quickly ran through some AIR building, in both Flex Builder and Dreamweaver and ended with a demonstration of AIR SQL Admin, which non-coincidentally runs the same as Google Gears – Google’s implementation of offline-synchronised SQL.
Overall a good session, only really lacking a hands-on workshop.