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I landed back home last night after flying back from LA and my first MAX as an Adobe employee. This year felt about ten times as tiring as the years in the past. My legs hurt and I feel like I've got about a thousand hours of sleep I need to catch up on. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the conference again this year and just thought I'd share some thoughts.
First off, anyone who missed the keynotes can check out both online: Day One and Day Two. The introduction on the first day was incredible. I wasn't sure where they were going with the violin and dancing, but it ended up being pretty freaking cool. The screen you see on the video is nothing like it was in real life.
The subject matter was interesting. Quite a bit on the tablet as device to create content with, including a pretty darn neat demo of Proto. Proto is a web site prototype application for tablets. I had no idea this was even in the works and for me - it was one of the coolest surprises at MAX. Speaking of tablets, this "commercial" was shown and frankly, I'd love to see it on TV. I don't think the public appreciates how much Adobe does (outside of PDF and Flash of course ;).
There was quite a bit on HTML5, and the message was clear. It isn't Flash versus HTML5 but Flash and HTML5. My take on the message was that Adobe wants to support both. Both have benefits. Both can be used to create wonderful things. Adobe is going to (try to) make it as easy as possible for everyone to create. That's the chief reason I'm happy to be working at this company. Will the tools always be perfect? Heck no. But I'm incredibly happy to see us trying to enable everyone to be creative.
The cloud offerings, focused around the Adobe Creative Cloud, look useful too. As much as "cloud" is a buzz word, you can't deny it's pretty darn useful to have. I'm happy to see our tools beginning to make use of it. Every one at MAX was given a year long subscription to the service so as soon as I get my account I'll share some thoughts on how it works.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to attend many sessions. In fact, I attended one - Adam Lehman's session on Flash Builder and future updates. He reminded folks about some of the cooler features of Flash Builder (I'm still learning all the ins and outs of it) and showcased some cool updates coming in the future. The ability to flag (possible) errors while you type looks to be a huge time saver.
You can check out all (most?) of the MAX sessions here: http://tv.adobe.com/search/?q=%20MAX%202011. I know mine is a bit truncated unfortunately but it's better than nothing I suppose.
The main reason I wasn't able to attend many sessions was due to the ColdFusion Unconference, which, once again, seemed to be a huge success. Almost every session was SRO. We had huge crowds. I want to thank our speakers as well as my co-hosts (Ezra Parker and Scott Stroz) for creating another awesome event. We're already thinking about next year, although I probably will not be a co-manager as I work for the mother ship now. (Although don't think for a minute that I won't be involved in it some way. ;)
So - I'm pleased, and exhausted, and excited for the future. That's why I attend MAX. I'll open the floor to my readers to discuss what they thought. For those I met at MAX for the first time.... thank you for your kind words and sharing your questions, thoughts, etc with me.
p.s. It isn't too early to start thinking about next year. ;) Adobe MAX 2012 will be held in LA again, October 20-24th. Barring any Mayan apocalypse of course.
p.s.s. One sad note at the end, of course, was of hearing of the death of Steve Jobs. I made no secret of my distaste of Apple recently. That being said, Jobs was a titan in our industry. His impact on Apple, and the Internet as we know it, was incredible. My thoughts go out to his family, friends, and everyone at Apple.