Well, Devcon 2002 is officially over and we have all gone back to our respective cities ready to take what we learned and apply it. So the question from people who could not attend is “What all happened this year”.
From a Director standpoint, it was a bit quiet this year. The Keynote on Monday showed 2 quick features of the upcoming Director MX, but Macromedia declined to “officially announce it”. There are rules about how far ahead you can announce a product, and it looks like Director MX was just not ready, so we all had to settle for seeing 2 new features. First we got a quick overview of how Director MX will allow better accessibility options for dealing with users that have disabilities. This means built in functionality to accommodate compliance with new government accessibility guidelines.
The second tidbit we all got a look at was the tighter flash integration. Finally connected editing of flash from Director (similar to how the fireworks editor works in Director.)
Sadly that was most of the Director news. The “not ready to ship” MX caused anything else to be kept only to those under NDA, and thus made Director a bit of a Ghost at the show. There were a handful of sessions devoted to Director as well as Integration New Media's booth presence, but sadly that was about it for coverage.
I saw two major problems as the show from a Director perspective. First of all, Macromedia did a very poor job in informing the community that there is now 1 yearly Show. We used to have Devcon (web, flash, etc) and UCON (Director, Authorware and some flash). When Macromedia combined the two, the word did not make it out and this was perceived by most as a web conference. Secondly I think Macromedia did a poor job of planning. With only 5-7 Director related sessions to pick from they had a few running at the same time, still do not have any kind of Director certification, had no Director books at their booth, and Director was the only project not featured on the floor of the booth area. I think it was a bit cyclic as well, as few sessions proposed and few users attending as Director users caused less attention to be paid. I hope they do plan to promote the conference next year as the sole Macromedia conference and not as a web centric event.
On the plus side, Gary Rosenzweig gave a good talk on what Director could do for Flash developers. I was amazed at all the Flash users that really had no idea what Director could do or how it could empower them far beyond Flash's limitations. This is another good reason for Macromedia to promote Director more as there were tons of Flash users looking at Director as if it were a new product. Paul Catanese gave a solid overview of Director's 3d capabilities (and his book is an excellent place to learn about the power of Shockwave 3d). Every one also had a blast at Charles Foreman's talk on building installations and his great use of cheap web cams to create highly interactive video walls and setups. I gave my talk on Imaging lingo which is available for download, there were other sessions on Director 3d from Marty Plumbo, Flash and Director integration by Bruce Epstein, and other general sessions covering Flash and Director as well as general multimedia concepts.
Monday night we had a “Birds of a Feather” discussion on designing for the desktop (lead by Marty Plumbo) and it was followed by a very enjoyable talk about creating games with Shockwave as well as Flash lead by Gary Rosenzweig.
Overall it was a good opportunity to network and talk with other developers, but I would like to see more content in the future from Macromedia. With Director being one of their most powerful and adaptive applications, they need to get someone on the ball to handle better marketing.