FlashCanon Flash Platform stuff from Jason Fincanon


Speaking at TexFlex 09

TexFlex 09In case you haven’t seen it yet, Miller & Associates will be hosting TexFlex 09 and I’m excited (nervous) to say that I will be a part of the speaker lineup. Be sure to reserve your seat now (space is limited) and come check out my session on Spark Skinning. While your there, you should also be prepared to learn from and be blown away by some of the most awesome names around.

*** UPDATE (10/8/09) ***
I’m very happy and honored to announce that Chris Long will be joining me on the stage to help present Spark Skinning.
*** UPDATE ***

Here’s the full speaker list:

TexFlex 09
Friday, November 13, 2009 from 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM (CT)
Marriott at Legacy Town Center in Plano, TX



One dev’s fluff is another dev’s lesson

I recently put a question on Twitter asking about the difference between an experienced/advanced developer’s “fluff” and and a beginner’s learning tool. The replies I got a indicated that there are at least a couple of different perspectives out there depending on which angle you take as well as where you fall in the beginner-to-advanced experience levels. While there weren’t hundreds of people replying to that tweet, there were enough that I wanted to do a quick post to put them together and extend the question to my blog readers.

My initial tweet:

Would you agree that what some call “fluff” in tech reading/writing, others might call previously unknown info (a.k.a. “learning”)?

A more detailed version of that question with more than 140 characters allowed:
Within many tech books, you’ll find explanations of topics that advanced developers have known for years but beginners have never even known existed. While the simplest answer is to look at the target audience of the book (beginner, intermediate, advanced), the question still presents itself within smaller breakdowns of those experience levels. To take the middle ground, let’s say the book in question is targeted at the intermediate level and that one person from each of the three levels is reading it. Does the beginner dev view the explanation of certain topics as useful information while the advanced dev views it as nothing more than regurgitated information from places like Adobe livedocs? Based on the responses I received, I think the answer may not be a straight up yes or no. So here’s a general breakdown of the different views I’ve seen. They all make complete sense to me if I step back and view them with different thoughts. I’d love to hear more so feel free to add your point of view to the comments.

Definitely fluff
There were a few people replying that felt this kind of information was undeniably considered fluff. They want to get to the meat of the information on which the book was written. If they came across anything they didn’t understand or already know, they would rather turn to livedocs, APIs, etc.

A “necessary evil”
Another thought was that it may be fluff, but someone is learning from it. While reader A may come across information of which he is fully aware, (s)he tends to skip past it without thinking too much of it and knows that reader B may learn a quick lesson while reading the book. (I think I favor this one)

One stop learning
Some people look at it as a sort of “one stop shop” where they could get everything they need without putting the book down. If a developer is reading a book which is covering topics that developer has never worked with, they can learn it all right there. This line of thought may seem a bit lazy on the surface, but may also be efficient for the lesson at hand. If a beginner developer is reading about classes but has no idea when to use private vs protected, they don’t have to stop reading the book to go look it up online. Instead, they get the explanation right there in the book and they continue on with their learning.

So that’s it. There’s the question and those are the general thoughts people presented as answers. Now it’s your turn. How do you view that type of information in a tech book?

Filed under: General 3 Comments

Sharing is great, but it’s just not enough

Unlike my last post, it seems that I should start this one with a few disclaimers, so here they are real quick:

  • I’m only trying to share my views
  • I’m not trying to battle with Ted Patrick
  • I do not think that ALL evangelists are elitists (I have an enormous amount of respect for most evangelists)
  • I do not think that ALL industry leaders are elitists (I have an enormous amount of respect for most industry leaders)

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the post…


Flash Platform community elitism

When I began writing this post, I was starting it out explaining that I was going to try to choose my words carefully in an attempt to keep from upsetting anyone… I’ve changed my mind. This isn’t what I would call a scathing post, but I’ve changed my mind about being careful. With that said, here are my thoughts on some recent (and not-so-recent) experiences and observations within the Flash Platform community.

My, how times have changed
There was a time (not all that long ago) when everyone under the sun wasn’t using Twitter, Facebook and all of the other “new” social media tools. A time when most interaction between members of the Flash community happened in forums and mailing lists like We’re Here and Flashcoders. Well, as they always do, times have changed, technology has continued to advance and people have built new tools and found new ways to communicate with each other even faster than ever before. Gone are the days of posting to a forum and waiting days (or even weeks) for the right person to stumble across your question to help you with a solution. Now you can simply tweet your challenge, question, idea, etc and all of the people following you will be there to help you in an instant. If they can’t help, they may choose to retweet your issue or idea and within minutes you could have literally hundreds (or even thousands) of other members of the Flash Platform community reading that question or idea! Now you will be heard! Now you have a voice! Now you can be the driving force behind new ideas, differences and changes in the community… in the way other developers look at things… in the way Adobe develops the future of the Flash Platform!

Well, maybe…


Speaking at D-Flex

D-FlexNext week I’ll be speaking at the Dallas Flex User Group (D-Flex) August meeting with group manager and Flex awesomeness, Jonathan Campos. Our topic will be Spark skinning in Flex 4. If you’ve read my articles on InsideRIA (here and here) or Jonathan’s post on his blog, you’ve seen an example of what we’ll be covering.

If you aren’t already a member of D-Flex, feel free to join us because we are awesome. And remember, you don’t have to live in Dallas to be a member.

August 20, 2009 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm

The University of Texas at Dallas
School of Management, rm 1.502
800 W Campbell Rd, Richardson, TX
Parking is in LOT J and M

The rest of the meeting details can be found here. We look forward to seeing all who can make it out!

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