Here’s the email I sent out to my team with my thoughts about MAX.
Quick wrap-up of thoughts from MAX.
1) The people – I don’t know about you, but for me, I feel it is a real privilege to work on something that so many people care so much about. I met hundreds of people from all over the world this week, and it was both thrilling and energizing. Attendance was up from last year. I hear that there were ~3000 people there.
2) Flex 2, Flex Builder 2, and Flash Player 8.5 — People seem really jazzed. I think some people were in danger of having their heads explode. At the most basic level, they are excited by how fast AS3 is, the fact that we have a real development tool, and that the price is within their reach. There was lots of interest from traditional Flash authors (maybe more than we originally thought?) and there was also lots of interest from CF authors (who now see Flex as an exciting way to build complex front ends more quickly for the apps they are already building). It will be interesting to see what people build with our technology.
3) Flex Enterprise Services — Enterprise services are obviously not targeted at everyone in the MAX audience, but the people who understood what it was universally loved it. I am not exaggerating. I think this is a really good sign. I had several people come up to me to say that the Enterprise product was the thing they were the most excited about at the entire conference.
4) Flex and Flex Builder sneaks — Matt and Todd showed sneaks of Mercury (automated testing) integration, which allows you to record events in your Flex app, play them back, and verify the results. Matt and Todd kept drifting in and out of their Australian accents while they were doing their demo, which was hilarious to us (I was sitting in a row with Ely, Dave G., and Christophe). Heidi, Dave Z., and NJ showed demos of skinning, coding features, and container visualization. It’s nice to think that as more and more people use Flex Builder and run into things that they wish were in the product, we will be able to point back to some of the sneaks to hint at the things we are working on.
5) CFEclipse sneaks — Damon showed an RDS explorer and a query builder implemented inside Eclipse. Imagine that + Flex Builder for end to end coding. WooT!
Other stuff not directly related to our team:
6) Ze Frank — Hilarious intro to the day 1 keynote. He runs a website (http://www.zefrank.com/) that combines humor and art, all done in Flash. Definitely worth seeing him speak if you get a chance.
7) Keynote demos — We showed two cool vision pieces during the keynote. One was focused around a travel scenario, and what a rich online/offline experience might look like. I don’t think Kevin has shown this internally yet. We should get him to run through the demo for the team. The second was one that the XD team did to show how you might interact with media a few years from now: music, movies, games, etc. The design was really beautiful and exciting. For my money, this was my favorite demo of the show.
8) Adobe — Bruce Chizen gave an address during day 1 keynote, but he couldn’t say a lot because the deal hadn’t closed yet. Meanwhile, a product manager for Adobe After Effects got onstage with Mike Downey and did some demos around Flash Video which I thought were pretty compelling.
9) Day 2 keynote skit — The keynotes on day 2 were anchored by a skit based on the “Find your Match” campaign for Studio 8. Tim Buntel MC’d the show, pretending to be a cheesy lounge lizard. If you’ve ever been to a MAX with a Tim Buntel skit, I’m sure you can just picture it. Also, the outtakes from the video shoot for the Studio 8 campaign were especially funny.
10) Dreamweaver — The new Dreamweaver features are great. The coding side feels more and more like HomeSite with each release. The visual features definitely felt more visual than any year I can remember. What I was most excited by was the Ajax demo that Jorge gave during the sneaks. He put together a page with a simple data grid, client side sorting, and updated client-side data without page refreshes, all within about 10 minutes.