Conferences, etc.

360|Flex and MO Adobe Camp aftermath

Attending 2 conferences in 1 week is plenty, let alone speaking at both, and on different topics. Phew.

At 360|Flex I spoke on Logical Design for Developers – Design isn’t a 4 letter word, and At the Adobe Camp in Columbia MO, it was on Flash Catalyst. I have my slides up online of course, but also had some links I wanted to share with people who attended the sessions.

Flash Catalyst:

and the Design for Developers one is here:

So below are some random notes I took while creating the slides, and the slides themselves are here —

Why design? Something that isn’t logical -at – all; empathy. Designers try and put themselves in the shoes of the user. Trying to understand how they think, how they navigate a site or an application for instance, thus the UX designer. Which is why we’ll be talking about the logistics of design, the rules, but this is an important fact we need to keep in mind.

Avoid graphical applications, except ones you are already familiar with. On twitter I see tons of devs curse Photoshop. I almost never hear them talking about Fireworks however. I know more devs who use that than anything else, which is why we’ll be using it for the majority of what we do today. If you can design with code, do so. There is nothing wrong without that, just remember some of the rules we’ll talk about here.

Play it safe. Follow the logic of design, make it usable

5 major areas

Design is just a process with rules, patterns and conventions

Acronyms – UI – UX
UI is what the user sees and controls,
UX is what the user feels (wait times, steps in a process, shifts in attention

It is important to understand the audience, who will consume the data. What do they expect?

If you aren’t sure which to pick, maybe white. grey and a color, or black and a color.

Great icons are a must – tons out there. bitbox, etc.

Selecting imagery can be tricky but here are a few suggestions that will point you in the right direction…
•    Avoid animation.
•    Choose images with a strong foreground element.
•    Compress your imagery but not too much!
•    Use faces, people are naturally drawn to them.
•    Avoid clipart illustrations

eyedropper for color — keep colors minimal — an all grey web page/ application can be interesting if a splash of color is thrown in.

We know when something is attractive, it is the Why we don’t always understand

Google vs Yahoo or MSN

Create an inspiration folder, just like you probably do for devs you admire

Rules for what not to do, and what to do — line height! Let your users read your text.
If we were talking we, I’d tell you 1.4 – 2.0 ems depending on your text hight of course.

Rules of thumb. column width – 2 alphabets wide

2 – 3 TOPS for type faces on a page/application/site

San serif looks better on the web for any body copy, Georgia works great as a header — why people hate flash sites. Good looking enough, but a very short loop guitar lick and just repeats. Obviously they want you to turn it off. I get the idea, I am at a music site. The grunge type for the navigate  just doesn’t make sense. Neither does all the tape, and the fact it is a notebook, which makes me believe it was a bought Flash site.

Type faces:

Generous spacing
Personal Choice (You just like it)
Plan your hierarchy
What have others done?
Avoid Anachronisms
Avoid trite correlations
•    Don’t use Papyrus just because your topic is “ancient” in some way, especially if it’s about Ancient Egypt. (Better yet, don’t use Papyrus at all)
•    Don’t use Comic Sans just because your topic is humorous. (Better yet, don’t use Comic Sans at all)
•    Don’t use Lithos just because your topic is about Greek restaurants.
•    Don’t use Futura just because your topic deals with “the future”.
Stick with the classics

Golden Ratio
Fibonacci number
A Fibonacci spiral created by drawing arcs connecting the opposite corners of squares in the Fibonacci tiling; this one uses squares of sizes 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and 34; see Golden spiral

The ratio of 3:5 (or 5:3) is special to professional designers. This ratio is known as the Golden Proportion

More links

Geeky design sites
Color theory is a lot like math – harmony, complementary (blue and orange), monochromatic, tetrad,
Additive, subtractive primaries, split complementary

Hope that helps someone.


Year 2 for D2W conference

I put on my first conference this year. It almost didn’t happen. I had a lot of people against me, although not sure why. Aren’t you suppose to be happy for and support your friends? It was also people like Hallmark, and Garmin who didn’t want to send their people to a first year conference. Their loss, for sure. I could still almost cry remembering how amazing the content was for the conference. I have a lot of amazing friends, but the combination of designer and developer at the conference was incredible. I beam every time I see the speakers talking to each other on twitter. Designers and developers talking… who knew I’d be so emotional at that. Every session seemed to compliment each other. The attendees were in rapt attention and followed the speakers out of the room. Have rarely seen that at conferences.

So we are doing it again this year. We had 3 tracks this year, designer, developer and hybrid. Instead of hybrid for D2W v2, we’ll be changing it to mobile. I work for Sprint now, so it seemed only fitting to add mobile to the line up. It is still about workflow, and that will continue to be the unifying factor for the entire conference. Doug Winnie, James Polanco and Aaron Pedersen wrote a book about workflow called Adobe Flash Platform from Start to Finish. Doug and I had been of the same mind about workflow when I first met him at a Community Summit. Then I introduced myself to him again at Adobe MAX 3 years ago. Luckily Scott Fegette was there to solidify I wasn’t a stalker, and Doug and I became friends. Now the 4 of us put on D2WPodcast together and they all spoke at the first D2W with Doug as the keynote speaker. It certainly wasn’t a coincidence Doug was the keynote speaker with workflow being his passion.

This year we already have a great lineup of speakers. As today is the last day for submissions, I expect things to change a bit but here is a sampling. Returning speakers: Doug Winnie, James Polanco, Aaron Pedersen, JP Revel,  Andy Matthews, Paul Trani, Vince Vaughan (no not the actor), Tom Green,  Chad Udell, Ben Stucki, Chris Griffith, Kevin Stohlmeyer, Rob Huddleston, John Farrar. New speakers to D2W: David Ortinau, Jim Babbage, Rob Rusher, Kai Koenig (who is coming the furthest, New Zealand), Michele Yaiser, Justin Seeley, Dave Hogue, Steve Withington, Sean Schroeder (with our sponsor MuraCMS), Elad Elrom and more to come. I have accepted a few more, but haven’t added them to the Lanyard site yet. I am hoping for a return of Pariah Burke but haven’t solidified the detail of that yet. If he does return, he’ll be doing a day long class.

Which brings me to what we are doing different this year. We will be doing pre-conference hands-on classes. The thing about workflow is it is hard to talk about it in 60 minutes. So we have also extended our sessions to 90 minutes, and have added another room. We’ve got such great content, that we’ll be doing some sessions online only also. We’ll still have the sessions live and recorded for the normal sessions, but adding more as well.

Now, we are still looking for sponsors. For me, that is probably my most difficult task. I am not good at asking for money, but I really want it to be mutually beneficial for both of us. I need sponsors, but sponsors that the attendees will want to visit and be interested in their product. O’Reilly and Peachpit always come though. Balsamiq gave us several licenses of their wireframing product and that is the perfect example of something attendees would be excited about. What would a workflow conference be with wireframing tools.

The cost has been increased a bit more also. Well, we have that much more going on, so I had to increase the cost to offset the increase in cost to put it on. It is still cheaper than most conferences, and where else do you get this kind of content… no where. I am really looking forward to 2011 and D2W version 2.

Adobe MAX 2010

Yet another MAX. Phew. Exhausting, but SO much fun. It seems like it was harder to recover this year, than previous years, but it was worth it.

I made a mistake in when I was coming out to MAX this year, and seems someone else did also. I was able to remedy my error by planning a trip to Sequoia National Park/Forest with a friend, which is way better hanging out in downtown LA for a few days. We both got there on the 21st and drove to Bakersfield since it was about half way between. We spent the night and drove up to Sequoia bright and early the next morning. From the moment we got into the park, we could see the fog up higher and was hoping it might burn off. Still, the scenery was amazing and I was already taking dozens of pictures before we had really even set much of a foot into the area. Thank goodness for digital.

My favorite part of a trip like that where we ended up going all the way up to 8200 feet, was how much the terrain changes along the way. So cool. Literally cool as well at 8200 feet. heh. The fog didn’t let up at all unfortunately. It was a mixed blessing really. Both my friend and myself are a bit afraid of heights, so you couldn’t see a thing other than a surreal, otherworldly mist that would often waft across the road in a very Stephen King-ish way.

Eventually we got to where the Sequoias were. More mist and very, very large trees later, we were both disappointed that our day was ending. We took a crazy amount of pictures of large trees it got to be funny. Without something beside them, it was hard to see the sheer scale of how extra large they are. Anyway, here are my pics on Flickr.

After a very long, wrong way decent from the mountains, we settled in for the evening to finish up our materials for our sessions. Couldn’t be done early, nope, couldn’t happen. When we retured to LA, that night we had a Community dinner. Last year we had about 15, so this year I planned early and had an invitation up online. We ended up with 34 people all together. It was a blast, but hard to visit with everyone. Nothing I love more than my community of Adobe peeps. To quote a commercial, priceless.

We had a horrible mix up with the rooms that still isn’t fixed, so I won’t go into that at the moment.

The conference itself was riddled with devices. Everyone received 2 free devices, and some of us got some more at a BlackBerry/RIM event. Mobile this, and mobile that. Tablet this, and tablet that. So many cool things going on it was crazy.

From the keynotes, to the Unconfrences, I’d say this was by far the best MAX I’ve attended. As usual, I was a TA, starting with Doug Winnie’s full day Actionscript 1:1 class. The Community Summit was going on at the same time, so I had to run down as often as I could. I hated missing most of the Summit. Nothing is more important than Community for me, but I had promised I’d help TA that class.

The evening event was ok. I am not a fan of that bowling alley as it is loud enough that it is hard to talk to everyone. I left early that night as I was presenting the next day, and had more work to do on my presentation. I was also a TA for, well, the entire conference, so I doubt I ever got more than 4-5 hours sleep the entire week.

I also spoke at the unconference for 360|Flex, on wireframing for RIA. Whoever was the speaker after me, was super rude. Not nice person at all. Wireframing never gets much love, and while the conference organizers keep choosing that, not that many people ever show up to listen. Maybe I need to change the title of the presentation to something else to get more people listening.

My sessions were ok, but of course could have gone better. I’ll write more about this topic later. For now, I am exhausted and not feeling that great, so more on this in another post.

St. Louis Flash Camp

I had the honor to be asked back to the St. Louis Flash Camp as speaker this year. Last year it was 1 room for a full day, this year it was 2 rooms for a full day. I did just 1 session this time, on yes, you guessed it, Flash Catalyst. About 3 people in the room even knew what it was. Sad, but that has been my experience lately.  I’ve done 3 demos on CS5 for the AIGA in different parts of the country lately, and I have found no one seems to even know what Flash Catalyst is, amazing.

There was a keynote by Paul Trani, Matthew Wallace presented, David Ortinau, Ben Stucki and many others. It was held as usual at the City Museum, which was a blast as Paul, Myra and myself explored after we presented. I even went up to the top to slide down the 10 story slide. There was no way however I was going all the way to the top for the Ferris Wheel. No way.

Anyway, both the conference and the time spent shopping and hanging out in St. Louis was fantastic. A great trip. Thanks to J.P. Revel (who also spoke at my conference) for inviting me yet again for such a wonderful experience.

The last CFUnited

The last CFUNITED. Wow, it seems a bit weird to see it written down on paper. It was even stranger being the last person to walk out of the conference area the last day. Very surreal.

So what was the last one like? Certainly no one was talking about whether ColdFusion was dead or not. Not once did I hear anyone talking about that, thank goodness. The conversations were about four things mostly. The first was of course, it being the last, then talk about community, then about the sessions and perhaps the future of conferences.

I’ll get to that list in a second. Let’s start with the beginning. At Dulles I ran into my friend, Ben Nadel. I saw the scar on the back of his head and knew it had to be him. Yup, Ben. So, things were off to a good start, I had already re-connected with one friend. I was on my way to meet Michael Evangelista and his lovely wife Avery for lunch, and Ben joined us. ( and

When we got to the hotel, we could see they were starting to set up for registration later that day. Of course we were all thinking what the conference would be like, and anxious to see old friends. As a matter of fact, someone asked me, who had never been to a CFUNITED before about that. He said, “On line, I just see people talking about how anxious they are to see each other. Isn’t the content of the conference any good? Will I be disappointed?” Of course, I had to laugh. I told him that the content was a given, so we were concentrating on seeing each other.

Later that night, we had our community event. There has almost always been a User Group managers event, but since this was the last, and the first Liz Fredrick was on the community side and not running the conference, we had a reception for all the User Group Managers, and the Community Professionals as well. I have to say, as someone who prides their self on knowing the majority of the community, I did meet some new folks that night. It is always nice to see the community growing.

Wednesday morning was the keynote by Adobe. Adam Lehman and Terry Ryan were the main keynote speakers. I guess I missed Michael Smith talking as I was a few minutes late. Adam talked about the past CFUNITEDs and had some pics he apparently stole off of a few Flickr pages. I guess Steven Erat saw some tweet pics and was surprised to see some of his photos up on the screen. At least it was just for the keynote and no real harm done. I recognized the majority of the photos and reminisced about years past.

( and

Then it was on to the future of CF. Exciting stuff here. Terry showed his new tool to create extensions, and they also talked about how many open CF projects there are, and let me tell you, there are a lot. In the past year alone, there have been 153 new Open Source CFML projects, and 113 of them are on RiaForge alone. That is pretty impressive. There was so much talk about open source projects; no wonder there was no talk about CF dying! It is more than alive and well. I have to say that I am leaning more on the side of using the phrase CFML instead of just CF these days. It seems to me, to include both Adobe’s version (since they invented CFML) and open source projects.

Also during the keynote, Adam pointed out some amazing applications of CFML in the wild like It is a great example of how CFML is shaping the web. He talked about Frameworks and of course, had to bring up the documentation king, Luis Majano, who is such a nice guy for being that crazy smart. He did a demonstration, and there was another one by a member of the CF team. It was once of those keynotes where after you thought, we laughed, we cried, but in the end, we were sent on our way to the first sessions. (Adam Lehman pointed outt that I omitted the Adobe donation to Apache. To be honest, I took extensive notes, then later I had problems with my machine, and ended up pressing the power button to restart, and lost all my unsaved notes of the keynote)(

Charlie Arehart gave the 2nd day keynote, and it was on, of course Community. Charlie had a little fun with us in the beginning and brought some folks up on stage. He talked about his site and how it lists all, or as many as he knows about, links to almost anything you’d want to know about CFML. Open source projects, books, conferences (mine was listed, yay me), blogs, and even to other people who also have made lists like that. I am a hybrid, both a designer and a developer (to a degree) so I can honestly say that there is no other community that matches the passion the ColdFusion Community has. So much work goes into sharing with the community. The ColdFusion community is as strong as any I’ve seen, and they are only getting stronger.

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I tried to visit the sponsors portion of the conference because, as a conference organizer I understand they are needed. I have known Sean Corfield since 2006 and Mark Drew since 2008 (and finally got to know Gert this conference) and now that they are a part of Railo,  I invested more time this conference in really seeing what it is all about. They were pushing the consulting more this conference. What a dream team, seriously. I am impressed for sure, and will be looking into it in the future to use perhaps with Mura CMS. Too bad Epicenter didn’t make it. I don’t think most people understand how great Clark Valberg is at marketing and so much more. He is a powerhouse and more people should talk with them. At least Ben and Ryan were there to sport the shirt.

I personally had two sessions I was giving, so I was very specific about the sessions I attended. All-in-all, there weren’t as many folks there as I expected, this being the last. There are two levels of rooms, the bigger rooms being downstairs and the smaller rooms, upstairs. You also got a sense the lower tier sessions were upstairs as well. Makes sense, right?

We did have one major speaker issue. I was a bit jealous because I had two speakers bail on me for
my conference
at the last minute, and one no-show, so only one major issue seemed fantastic to me. Poor Shannon Hicks, of fame, came down with a super high fever and they wouldn’t let him on the plane. I think Shannon was too sick to contact anyone, and so they canceled his session that day, but as it was on solr, I was able to find Ray Camden, and at the last minute, and I mean that literally, did an impromptu Solr session. After I asked folks how it was, and they all said, for a Ray not to have prepared before-hand, it was a pretty good session. Not many slides, but a bit of code and some good tips and tricks.

Of course, I am not a CFML developer, I just play one on TV. OK, sorry, couldn’t resist. I am a CSS, UX/UI geek, but since I work with CFML developers and have to rummage around in the code, I understand the language to a degree. I put together, design-wise, FAQU (Fusion Authority Quarterly Update) since 2006 and you know, I actually read the majority of the articles. I even surprise myself sometimes with the knowledge I have picked up over the years thanks to that and that Judith and Michael Dinowitz made me come to my first CFUNITED that year. I guess you could say, the rest is history.

Of all the sessions, my favorite was done in a private showing after one of the days. There were several of us who had missed Christian Ready’s HTML 5 session, so he was kind enough to do it for us that night. About two hours later, we all had a much better understanding of HTML 5. Thanks Christian! Great info from him, as always.

Here are the sessions I either saw and liked, or heard how good they were, because either the content was awesome, or the speaker, and sometimes both. Charlie Arehart’s Hidden Gems talk. Sam Farmer’s CF one liners, Cache me if you can by Mike Brunt and the always amazing Dan Wilson. (I still like Dan even if he is an Apple hater.) Elliot Sprehn blew people away with how smart he was, but Elliot is a new speaker. His session was I bet you didn’t know you could do that with ColdFusion. The general consensus was, no, a lot of people did not indeed know you could do some of those things with ColdFusion. I heard even the Adobe engineers were furiously writing down things while looking at each other like, “Did you know that could be done?”. Of course, Pete Freitag always blows people away with his Writing Secure CFML, and he is just the nicest guy.

Really, there were some great speakers there. Luis Majano, Dan Wilson, Jim Priest, Jason Dean, Simon Free, Laura Arguello, Ezra parker, Gert Franz, Chaz Chumley, Sean Corfield, Selene Bainum, Bob Silverberg, Charlie Arehart, Brian Kotek (who was another one people kept talking about after the session), Jeff Coughlin and SO many others. I am not listing enough here, and I am sorry for that. It is a long list. One thing you are struck with at an event with a list of speakers like this, is there are a lot of crazy smart people under one roof, and that is pretty cool.

I had two sessions this year, CSS and the CMS, where the twitter peeps chose Mura for the CMS I’d talk about. I really came to love Mura CMS and got to know the Brinteractive guys a bit better in the process of preparing for the presentation. With their help, I really got a much better look into how it works, so thanks guys, and thanks for a stack of Mura CMS t-shirts for my User Group members. I also did a session on Flash Catalyst. It was suppose to be about preparing files to hand off to the developer, but no one in the room had seen Flash Catalyst before. Good thing I added the “What is FC” slides in while preparing for the session.

Of course, with the ending of this CFUNITED, we lose one of the bigger conferences. Some say this filled the first gap of beginner to intermediate level ColdFusion topics. I heard from an attendee that he didn’t think there were enough advanced sessions, while talking with Bob Silverberg who didn’t think there were going to be enough, was surprised how many advanced sessions he found. So that may mean that there were just too many tracks and some attendees were lost as to which session to choose.

I can say there was no Bootcamp sessions this year, and perhaps one could say there should also be a level attached to the session as well as the track it fits in. Tara and Cara (so much talk about the demise of Teratech and how the girls basically ran the conference for free, which explains SO much) did a decent job for the final CFUNITED. Could things have gone smoother? Well we are use to Liz and Nafisa, who did the conference for years, so sure, it could have been better. Did they do a good job considering? Absolutely. My personal hat off to them for tackling such a large conference. I don’t think folks realize just how much work goes into putting something like that on. So, good job girls!


The main take away is the community is growing. We need more regional conferences to fill in where CFUNITED left off. cf.Objective() is now the only large ColdFusion-centric large conference left. There is a need for more “grow your own developer” User Group meetings and day conferences, as well as advanced information. A lot of good talks came out of this last event, and I already know of some new UGs that will start because of this, which is never a bad thing.

Of course there were evening events. Above I mentioned how passionate the community is about the CFML language. Well they are just as passionate about beer, and hanging out with each other. Socializing is every bit as important at these events as the actual content of the sessions. The Adobe pool party this year had jousting, but certainly not as popular as the Sumo wrestling last year. We had a lot of fun just hanging out in the bar together, or down by the fire pit. Outside you were often joined by wildlife and I am not talking about Jason Dean. (I am just teasing) There were tons of deer and many raccoons rummaging through the trash. The hotel gives out smore kits to take to the fire pit, and the leftovers make the raccoons very brave.

There were several of us speakers that ended up saying Saturday night. We hung out by the fire pit and became better friends. I already miss everyone, which is pretty typical for me. For me, reconnecting and meeting new friends is what the conference experience is about. We all talk online, but I can say from experience, you make the best connections face-to-face. I’ve made a lot of life-long friends by going to events like this, and this last CFUNITED was no exception. It was a surreal experience I won’t soon forget.

See more on my CFUNITED Flickr page and the general CFUNITED Flickr page.


This was my first year at NCDevCon, formally a different name. I had heard great things about it, and I was thrilled to be accepted to speak twice. It was a fantastic experience and again, I got to see many friends I don’t normally see. (Dave Powell, that means you!) The cool thing was it was at a textiles college, which meant it was recorded. Below are my recordings for my FLash Catalyst and Wireframing talks.


Flash and the City

I’ve submitted topics to multiple conferences this year. Flash and the City is one of those conferences. I love speaking at conferences, but my favorite part is seeing friends. I live in Kansas City, so in other words, a fly over State. It isn’t often enough I get to see my friends, so any time I get to is fantastic. Also, I had spent more time in NY this year than at home doing both the videos for Total Training in New York instead of at home because of my noisy house. Both times, I spent weeks in NY, but never going into the big city itself, so this was a treat.

Upon getting to the hotel, and catching up with Leif Wells, Aaron Pedersen and James Polanco, I realize the rooms look out over ground zero. It was a very sobering experience I can assure you. We check out our surroundings, see some other speakers for the event, and get some grub.

The next day was the conference. When we get there, there is a huge line of people lined up. They weren’t letting people inside however. A few of us offered to help. Actually, I think my words were, “You need help” but it was refused. There were several of us accustomed to being at conferences, and certainly know how things go. Or should go. We could have easily helped. Instead it was 9am and no one was in the doors yet, and not registered either. Geesh. Liz finally took control and told them to let everyone in and they could register them after the keynote.

Of course there had to continue to be a parody or comedy of errors, right? Yep. The tables set up were fairly rickety, and not much room, and the projector really wanted to be 800X600, but the keynote finally happened. Lots of good workflow stuff there. After the keynote, before everyone could register however, there was break dancing. Yep, break dancing. Then there was a video. People were starting to get restless. It was 20 minutes after they were suppose to be done and still no one was registered.

RiaRadio was there. They were set up in a bizarre dark room with equally bizarre abstract videos being played. At least there were couches in there. I think that is where I spent the majority of my time.

When it came time for my press, I was given the strangest introduction ever. I don’t even want to put it down on paper, but it was like I was being insulted. He made it out like I was forced upon him by Adobe. Nice.

All-in-all the weirdest conference I had been at, let alone where I had spoken. This was great though, because all last year I attended about 9 conferences where they all ran great. No hiccups, so I wanted to be prepared for my conference in June. I have to take private notes to make sure mine runs great. Onward to the next conference, NCDevCon run by my good friend, Dan Wilson. Can’t wait!

San Francisco Flash Camp/Muir Woods

I am so excited that I got to come to California and San Francisco this time of year to go to the Flash Camp. I love being at Adobe, and these Flash Camp’s are always a blast. Lots on Multi-touch and devices. Of course, my favorite part is seeing my friends.

I stayed in the Moser this time. I hope this record reminds me that I don’t want to do that again. Super, super small. It is a quaint hotel though, right in the middle of Union Square, so it was convenient to take cabs to Townsend street. It is very deco-ish and I did have a room that had its own bathroom, however small. At least I wasn’t sharing a bathroom with the floor like other rooms did. So, I am grateful for that.

I was there a day prior to work on some articles, so I got to hang out at Adobe, which is always fantastic. The event itself was great. You don’t often besides MAX, get to see the Adobe peeps speak all in one night, so it was fun to see what was in the agenda. There was a ton of candy, and give aways, and great information.

The next day I went on a tour of Muir Woods and Sonoma Valley. Very cool. Well, I should say I loved Muir Woods but didn’t see enough of Sonoma. I apparently misread the brochure and we were just on a wine tasting tour. I don’t care for wine, so it wasn’t what I expected. I did manage to get some decent shots however with my brand new Canon 7D, which I’d marry if it were a guy. 😉

New conference in Kansas City

Last year was a great year for conferences. I even spoke at several. I am a user group manager so I speak to my group a lot, but also to other groups around the country via connect, which I love. I am a social butterfly, an instructor and apparently you can’t shut me up, so I like speaking. No, seriously, I really like sharing. I spoke at CFUnited in August of 09 and had 2 sessions, and even was one of the repeats for the Saturday crew. It was exhausting but a very rewarding experience. I did a hands-on CSS class as well as a Flash Catalyst session. Unfortunately, the Flash Catalyst session was the first thing in the AM after the Adobe pool party the night before. Luckily, I did the session again 2 months later for the St. Louis Flash Camp. That was a great conference. Thanks JP.

The next month was Adobe MAX. I had a few friends who were speaking so I volunteered to TA (teaching assistant) for them. Apparently I know too many people because next thing I know, I am a TA for 8 sessions. Craziness. Last day of MAX I TA’d 4 sessions and then was a speaker for the local LA group fro their Mini MAX that night. I was so tired, but what a great experience MAX was for me. My only regret was I wasn’t able to see anyone else’s sessions but the ones I assisted at. Only spent a while in the Community lounge, and if you happen to know me, that was torture. I am known for taking tons of pictures, and my networking. I wasn’t able to do any of that. I did meet a few new folks and of course I organized an evening event while I was there. It’s what I do after all. I am the social director of our Adobe community. I make sure people connect with each other. I’m Julie from Love Boat.

I went on to other conferences like BFlex|BFusion and didn’t plan on it, but TA’d the 2nd day for 2 all day sessions. OK, that isn’t physically possible, I did one on the morning, and the other in the afternoon. I wasn’t suppose to TA, there just wasn’t enough people to do so. I still had a blast and meet some fellow geeks whom I had only known online previously. You know, people you follow on Twitter and when you walk into the room you say, I know them, and them, and them, and them… but you’ve never actually met them in public before. Isn’t social media great! Finally I ended up at Brian Rinaldi’s RIA Unleashed. A 1 day event in Boston.

At this point, I realize to myself that I was finally, finally in a position to put my own conference on in Kansas City. I had been studying other conferences all year, and I had the technical network to pull together some of the best and brightest for a conference. But what kind of conference would I attempt? Developer, designer, workflow, what? That’s it! A designer/developer workflow conference. It’s what I had been talking about for 2 years. It’s basically the theme of my life. I am a hybrid. A designer who codes. I want nothing more than to have a better workflow between them, so why not center a conference around that premise.

If you’ve been around for awhile, you know there was a HUGE conference planned a few year back from I can’t remember the name but it was something very similar to mine. It didn’t happen. Not enough registration I think. So why do I think mine will be OK? For one it’s several years into the future. We’ve had some hard economic times since then. People have been forced to be more than just whatever they were before. Designer have to code more, developers are expected to do some design. If you don’t believe me take a look at a job description there days. They want the person to be an expert at Photoshop, Illustrator, print work, able to draw logos and branding, know PHP, Flash, AS 3.0, .NET, jQuery, ColdFusion and some Flex but would love if they also knew 3D and video. OK, so be an expert at everything apparently. Sorry, that isn’t how most of us were trained.

So in June, Kansas City will have the first conference we’ve had for years. We get passed up for everything. Concerts, tech conferences, you name it. Well, no more. For gosh sake, we have companies like Garmin, Sprint, Hallmark and 4 international Ad agencies here. We have some very talented folks in Kansas City.

The name of this conference is D2W and the URL is and 200 designer, developer and hybrids will ascend upon downtown KC the 19-20 of June, 2010. I can’t tell you how exciting this is. I have a post on the site, so if you might be interested being a speaker or volunteer, fill out a form there. I have an advisory board and a speaker board and will be deciding speakers soon. I’ll be sure and update this post when we have some selections.

I know that in as of itself isn’t the least bit remarkable, but I had a bigger purpose in mind than just attending.

CFUnited 09

I have been to several CFUnited’s in the past, an CFUnited Alumni if you will. I am typically there to help Fusion Authority Quarterly Update, as I am the Creative Director and weirdly enough now know more CF people then almost anyone else. I am a designer who codes, not a hardcore CF developer like Ray Camden or Sean Corfield. (I secretly would love to be, but not sure I have what it takes — a logical mind) I’ve learned a lot about CF from making sure it all looks great from inside the comfort of InDesign. I’ve also learned a lot going to the conferences and sitting in on the sessions. Sean’s last year actually made perfect sense to me. Of course, Sean is an amazing speaker, so that helped. If he can make me understand Edmund, hey, anyone will get it.  🙂

This next year though, I finally made the speaker deadline and submitted 3 sessions and 2 BOF’s (birds of a feather). They put it up for a vote this year for the first time. As a past attendee, I really thought that was great. You can’t complain about the sessions if you helped pick them. So I submitted a Hands-on CSS session, and 2 Flash Catalyst sessions. I assumed of course that Catalyst might be out by August of next year. Ya never know though about betas and when they’ll be released. I had hoped for a public beta by then at least. I am pretty excited about Catalyst and am hoping it will do wonders for bridging the gap between designer and developer which is my current passion.

I submitted the Hands-on session for CSS because you can’t really learn something you aren’t touching, and these are developers, they need to touch some code, right? So what will they learn? Since CF developers spend a lot of time with tables, for data consumption only of course, we’ll make sure they can style a table first. Then we’ll go into how easy it is to lay out a page with pure CSS then styling navigation. If we can’t finish, we’ll end up in the bar or the pool coding CSS on napkins. 🙂

My 2 Flash Catalyst sessions aren’t picked so far, but the CSS one is. Yippee. It might take awhile for people to see the true benefit for Flash Catalyst. For me, right now, it’s a fantastic wireframing tool. Use Catalyst to lay out the page, then it can be handed to the developer in Flex to make it function, then when the artwork is ready, brought back into Catalyst then back into Flex without missing a beat. It’ll save tons of time making sure the app works correctly, and the client is happy. Since Catalyst takes a design from Photoshop Illustrator or Fireworks (not yet, but it will), the designer will feel like he/she finally gets the pixel perfect feel to their designs. Sounds great, right?

Now I have 2 BOF’s I need to decide from. My first is a Personal Brand BOF. There are a ton of things to make sure your personal brand is up to date. Why should you care? Are you kidding, in this economy, having a good personal brand can make the difference if you are hired by an employer, or if you are freelancing, it’s even more important. Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more? That isn’t all to a personal brand, but that’s a part of getting your name out.

My second idea for a BOF, I’ve blogged about before. I see developers complain about designers on blogs all the time. Wondering why they don’t design properly in the first place. Many of us work or have worked where we are the last to see the approved design, making our job more difficult when it comes to implementing the design. Some designers do the craziest things expecting us to make it happen. Can’t you do anything I design? Yes, but done correctly, and in a timely fashion, maybe not.  So whar I want to do is start a checklist for designers and a standards document that can be shared on the web like Google docs, and Adobe Buzzword. Then the developer can alter to meet his/her needs and had the designer and their boss/supervisor the checklist, and ask to be brought in before the client sees the work. That way we can make sure things are done in a way to make it easier for everyone.

For instance, not all designers understand for Usability purposes that a search box should always be in the upper right corner, or at least somewhere where the user n to look for it. Hey designers, CSS is big these days, we can use background images for many things, now if they have never looked into CSS, they wouldn’t understand. Maybe a few links to some CSS sites might help them understand. Hey, CSSZenGarden at the very least.

So, it’s a current fight of mine to do all I can to bring designers and developers together.

I’m really looking forward to CFUnited 09 it seems. Another reason is I get to see all my friends. Since I am a User group manager and a Community Expert, I know a lot of the guys, and girls from our Summit in San Jose, CA. With the lay offs at Adobe recently, I am not convinced that we are having a Summit this year. We also increased the managers and co-managers to the point where logistically meeting in person might be hard as well. I just saw many at MAX NA 2008, so that was great, but Summit and other conferences like CFUnited let me see the ones I don’t see otherwise. Adam Bell always does a Mini MAX at CFUnited, and I’ve never got there early enough to see it, so looking forward to having a Manager 2 Manager meeting at CFunited this year as well.

More to come later, and congrats to all my friends whose sessions were voted on and accepted as well.

See ya soon!