Rather then writing the summary of the FOTB conference experience, as I did the last time, from 2 year ago, this year I decided to write some suggestions, or a wish list of the things I’d like to hear about, and perhaps as well, things I don’t want to hear about.
Perhaps now could be the time the speakers (and organizers) are starting to consider the content of the next Flash on the Beach conference in Brighton..
First I need to say, I do love FOTB. I’ve been to the all of them so far (apart from the very first one) and always stayed throughout complete duration of the conference, which hopefully gives me the right to speak about it from the experience ..
So, here are my suggestions:
More advanced level talks!
Let’s consider the target groups, for a sec here.. I think it’s safe to assume, 70-80% of FOTB visitors are professional flash/flex dudes. Amateurs with little interest in this technology would hardly invest in rather steep admission price (around 1000 EUR), price of the hotel accommodation for 3 days plus price of transportation , and journey hundreds of kilometers from all around Europe… Yet for such a large group there seems to be a very few sessions aimed at upper intermediate – advanced level.
While it’s fairly easy to get your hands on beginners level video tutorials, Lee Brimelow’s gotoAndLearn website is an excellent source, there’s Lynda.com and Total Training of course, that is not the case with the more advanced stuff.
Anybody can find a tutorial on how to make a rotating cube in PV3D, but there are very few resources on how to integrate papervision in flex to make a custom transitions for example..
FOTB should be a platform for flash gurus to come and share this kind of advanced knowledge…
More focused skill level sessions!
When you looked at the FTOB schedule there are sessions with levels marked as Level : Beginner – Intermediate – Advanced. I have been to quite a lot of those. Unfortunately; what happens there is a speaker starting with the beginner stuff and by the time he gets to the juicy bits everyone came to hear about, he runs out of time. In better cases, they would have about 10 minutes left to cover it, so they would rush through it with hectic tempo, barely scratching the surface.
I am not saying there shouldn’t be a basic level sessions. Last year for example, I had only a vague idea about Red, so the level of the session was perfect for me. This year, if I went to the same session, it would be a wasted time.
I am saying there should be session DEDICATED to a certain skill level. Not trying to cover all skill levels within the breadth of a session. That’s way too short time!
Have a webspace for sessions follow-up
I would suggest that on the official FOTB website, under the session description, would be a place to post comments, or questions for the speakers about the session, and to have a space for speakers to upload a source files. Although after speaker finished his session there’s usually a little space for Q&A what often happens is that speakers barely manage to finish on time so there’s actually a very little time afterwards. Also sometimes speakers promise to upload a source files on their blogs, but more then often they forget to do so…
Some topic suggestions :
Open source packages
We all know and heard about PV3D of course, but there are other interesting projects that deserve an introduction: e.g: FlexLib, AS3Lib, Box2D…, would be interesting if somebody did a brief overview of about 6-10 of the most accomplished open source flash projects , that have been developed for some time now, and are being used by an increasingly larger group of developers.
Again some top level overview of frameworks, i.e: Pure MVC , Cairngorm, Prana, Mate…their strengths and weaknesses, examples of usage and what their are most suitable for..
– Gumbo, of course, practical sessions for all levels, this would include nuts and bolts of FXG + examples..
– Advanced session about the new Flash plugin 10 text engine (Advanced text layout)
– Advanced session dedicated to new Flash plugin 10 sound capabilities.
– Air 2.0 (I’m hopping by the time of FOTB there will be at least demo version..)
– Advanced practical session on Flash Collaboration Service (Cocomo)
– Advanced session on Alchemy
– Advanced session on how to use Pixel bender for things other than custom effect (i.e. sound, hyperthreading, 3D computations etc..)