Why I started working on Zorn

Before working on Zorn, I oversaw development for Dreamweaver and several related products. I’d been working on Dreamweaver for years (started as an engineer on 1.0), and in a lot of ways, I’d come to feel like Dreamweaver was my baby.

During that time, I had kept a healthy skepticism about Flash-based apps. Being a strong HTML advocate within the company, I kept pushing for the possibilities of HTML.

At a certain point, though, my point of view shifted, and I decided that I could do more by joining forces with the Flex team to help push that technology forward.


We all go to work for different reasons. For me, I like to feel that what I do every day makes a difference to as many people as possible. Writing software can be gratifying in that way. I’ve had the opportunity to work on Dreamweaver, Contribute, and other tools which hundreds of thousands of people use every single day.

The feature decisions matter. The late nights matter. It is fun to come into work when what you do matters.

Having said that, the larger picture of the Web world had changed a lot since 1.0.

When we first did Dreamweaver, the Web was still in its very early years. It’s hard to say what impact we had on the Web as a whole (some people would say that we had a negative impact on the Web!), but I like to think that we did our small part to help foster the growth of the early Web.

On balance, I think the Web has made the world a better place. Once you’ve bought your own airline tickets or shared photos of your kid with your family (mine is 9 months old!) you never want to go back.

In recent years, though, I’ve come to feel that the Web has stabilized. Yes, innovation keeps happening (Ajax in particular is interesting.. more on that in a later post), but fundamentally, it is no longer the catalyst for change in people’s lives.

Will Flex/Zorn change the world? I don’t know. But I do know that there is so much potential out there. HTML/JS/CSS has some incredibly frustrating limitations. I believe that the next wave of connected applications will be more functional, usable, and engaging, and that the combination will change the world in whole new ways (take a look at Breeze, for example…).

Our goal with Flex and Zorn is to change what is possible on the Web.

So anyway, I’ve thrown my lot in with the Flex folks. It’s fun and it’s nerve wracking. In the Dreamweaver world, we were always chasing technology. We would spend all of our time trying to understand what people were doing as deeply as possible. In the Flex world, we need to imagine what people will need to do, and invent it. Are we getting everything right? Probably not. But hopefully we are getting enough things right to make a difference.

12 Responses to “Why I started working on Zorn”

  1. nielz

    First of all: Thanks a lot for making the web a better place. Dreamweaver got me to learn HTML and Flash got me into animation/game-design.

    That was years ago, and now I’m studying multimedia at an university. Our current project is all about Flex, it’s a real pleasure to work with.

    All great stuff, but there’s really one thing that has me wondering:
    If you look at all the names for the diffrent applications, they sounds ‘lightweighted’, asif the wind whispers them. “breeeeze” , “Dreeeaaamweaaver”, “Flaaaash”, etc… have an awesome ring to it. But why, for the love of god, is the biggest project, binding everything together (more or less) called ZORN? Zorn? Wasn’t that a alien star-trek race? ZORN, sounds like bad guitar wiring, electrifying the strings! :-)

    For the rest, keep up the great work! Performing a job like yours will always be a dream for a lot of us.

  2. mike chambers

    >But why, for the love of god, is the biggest project, binding everything together (more or less) called ZORN?

    fyi, Zorn is just a code name, and is not the final name.

    mike chambers


  3. e1

    zorn is codename. uber nerdy as u point out. the brand nazis at macromedia would never release somthing called ZORN. much less the bossman adobe.

    8Ball, royale, brady, all get replaced with good names before the launch.

  4. Sho

    One interesting factoid is that Dreamweaver was the codename for the project, and we eventually decided to use it for real!

    Zorn probably won’t suffer the same fate. :-)

  5. e1

    on second thought… this kid is onto something. being that u macromedians are putting it out there, i will re-ask the question in the context of a codename.

    why is it even codenamed ZORN??? that really bites. like us flash types are going to be at work being all “JUST WAIT till ZORN comes out, thats going to be AWESOME”. thats a pretty embarrassing sentince. im sure it has some personal significance to y’all and i dont want to urinate on it. but these codenames discussed on blogs and in the press are serious marketing. and ZORN is really comprimising the cool factor.

  6. Hans Omli

    Zorn will certainly make my life better… and allow me to improve the lives of thousands of people. Thanks for all your efforts!

  7. PaulC

    As someone who’s job is utterly devoid of having impact due to the nature of both management and clients, thanks Sho, for re-affirming that there’s still such a thing as job satisfaction.

  8. Dirk

    The codename Zorn led to some confusion here in Germany as Zorn is the German word for anger :)

  9. nig


    I really like both Naked City and Masada. A lot of the other stuff is hit-and-miss.

  10. Scott Barnes

    heh well Sho, imho you certainly have made your mark on the “internet” – been developing HTML since 1995 and I still remember when the word “Dreamweaver” popped up in a “dude check this app out”.

    One thing stuck with me in your post:

    “..Will Flex/Zorn change the world? I don’t know…”

    Zorn is an IDE, FLEX is a price-sensitive RIA builder that at present is suited to Enterprise level development (with the minor un-enteprise solutions).

    That being said, does that mean FLEX/Zorn combined will be geared towards the Dreamweaver market, ie SOHO etc? In order to change the world, it needs increased adoption and do you see that being the case? (SAP aside of course)


  11. Zdravko

    Is ZORN the only 4 letter word that you could think of ? ;)

  12. shibaji chatterjee

    how i can html to swf converter

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