I’ve just come back from this year’s Adobe MAX conference, and oh, boy was it a whirlwind! I fell that Adobe outdid themselves this year and set the bar much higher. I guess being in the same location more than one year in a row lets them concentrate on content rather than logistics.
The theme of the conference this year was different from previous years… In years past it was about products coming out soon, product announcements or beating th drum of certain technologies. This year there were virtually no product announcements, and no announcements of things coming soon. It was all about what was out today, and how to use it leverage it going forward. I know this disappointed a lot of people in the audience, but with Adobe launching most of their products (ColdFusion, Flex, CS5, etc.) just a few months ago, there wasn’t much to talk about.
So what was clear from Adobe this year? They have forged LOTS of partnerships with MANY different hardware vendors, and they are making strides so that Adobe users can leverage existing technologies and workflows to these new devices and platforms. From desktops to cellular devices, to tablets and now televisions the mantra of “use our technologies to push your content anywhere” is becoming the reality. The joke that next year will be the year of mobile is finally dead — this is the year of mobile. To back up Adobe’s claims that they were going forward on these promises attendees were given the opportunity to come home with a great variety of cell phones and television devices. I personally was questioned by TSA when they were looking through my bag and noted 5 cell phones, a television developer kit and a whole bunch of other devices.
The sneak peaks this year were very ho-hum. I feel like Adobe is making safer and safer bets with their sneak peek presentations as the years go on. Last year’s sneaks were very polished and showed technologies that shipped or were made public a few months later. This year only two of the sneaks were really impressive in my mind — one dealing with video tapestry and the other dealing with ‘noise to meaning’. The others were all things were either ‘eh’ or had been previewed before.
I felt the sessions this year were top-notch. Because most of the technologies have been around for a while, there weren’t too many surprises, but for the new technologies demonstrated (mobile flex, for example), there were great demos and excellent presentations of the new workflows, etc. I personally spent a lot of time in the labs and ‘bring your own laptop’ sessions where I could learn some of the technologies with an instructor. This year I also mixed in a few sessions on technologies that I knew little on (video, for example) — I think I learned more in those than any other session I attended.
The people of MAX are always what make it an enjoyable event. I had the opportunity to catch up with Dan Florio (Polygeek), Betsy Weber, Jeffery Houser, Ryan Stewart, Kevin Schmitt , Tom Ortega and got to meet many others that I’ve been talking to online for so long (like John Campos). The mixer events were very casual and allowed us to open up to each other which I always enjoy.
All-in-all, I thought it was an excellent event, one which you will see me at again next year. The value Adobe packed into the conference is much higher than other conferences I go to, and I’m glad they set the bar so high for next year 🙂