It’s no secret I’m an Adobe Fan-boy.
Wait… let’s back up a little. I began using Allaire ColdFusion in 1995. At the time, there were no other server side languages that connected to databases (easily) and the whole “interacting with a database” thing was new, exciting, and I was right there on it like white on rice. Eventually Allaire was purchased by Macromedia, who had Director (which I was a huge fan of) and a new animation application based off a recent purchase, “Future Splash Animator”. Of course, they changed the name to “Flash” and the rest was history. When ColdFusion was a baby, the IDE of choice was a program called “HomeSite”. It… was… awesome. Seriously, it was like, the best IDE (at the time) bar none. But in 1997 Macromedia released Dreamweaver, and when they purchased Allaire in 2001, Homesite was put on the death-watch and soon ColdFusion development was folded into Dreamweaver, which was then given center-stage and promoted as the all around IDE champion.
So I started using Dreamweaver early on, and initially it was a tough sell. I was so used to hand-coding in Homesite that the “Designer” view and WYSIWYG (which was rarely “WYG”) was a bit off-putting to me. But over time, and over a couple of Macromedia Developer Conferences (Dev-Con), I warmed up and it became my g0-to IDE.
Which was great, for about 10 years.
Then the inevitability of time caught up to me and I was forced (recently) to take a long hard look at my development process. I decided to switch from the world of ColdFusion, MSSQL, and Windows, and go ahead and switch to a Mac Based environment for PHP and MySQL. I wanted to switch (back, I was a mac user before I went to college in the 90s for CompSci) for a while, and this gave me an opportunity to jump back into MacOS with a vengeance.
Initially, I was focused on switching my IDE because I was interested in Eclipse, TextMate and a couple other tools that friends used and raved about. You’d think I was looking forward to jumping back into the world of “hand-coding” and honestly, I kinda was. I thought, “This will allow me to roll up my sleeves and jump into code, where I wanna be”.
But no matter how I set up my environment, nothing seemed as… well… efficient as setting up a site in Dreamweaver and rocking Split View.
So I began to research people who were doing PHP development (with frameworks like Cake and Zend, which were a personal requirement. I wanted a good framework coming off of the relatively recent development of several ColdFusion MVC-based frameworks) and discovered there were actually some pretty decent resources for PHP/CSS3/HTML5/jQuery/AJAX development using Dreamweaver. After a slow summer of starts and stops, it felt like I had finally arrived at a place where I could have my cake and eat it too. I could develop in a fast, efficient, CSS/Design based tool and develop cutting edge, open-source web apps using languages that were heading in the direction I needed to be heading in. Working at an Ad Agency, I don’t have the luxury really of dictating what language our clients legacy sites, apps, and hosting environments are and it’s bad enough that we’ve shied away from aspx and .Net development, I certainly couldn’t move forward in today’s environment and not fully support development in PHP and MySQL.
Especially once everyone caught the WordPress bug. I mean, that was it for me. Once we started to develop WordPress sites for clients who were looking for the flexibility of a CMS with the ease of a blogging platform, and the WordPress platform reached a mature version 3.0, I saw the writing on the wall. This was where we had to be, and I had to embrace the change or die like a dinosaur.
Then Adobe went and released Dreamweaver CS5.
I mean, seriously, built in CMS integration? Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress support? Extensions right out of the box for CSS3 and HTML5 with full code hinting? I was already a huge fan of developing CSS based layouts in Dreamweaver CS4, and the new features in CS5 just “took it up a notch”. I was sold. I was in the right place, at the right time, and all the pieces I needed were falling nicely into place.
I hadn’t attended Max last year for the first time in (I think) over ten years. I believe the first Max I attended (at the time, Macromedia Dev-Con) was in 2000 at the Walt Disney Dolphin. Since then, every year I had made the annual nerd pilgrimage to Dreamweaver mecca to hone my skills. Now, with the release of CS5 it was time once again to look to the one place I can be guaranteed will fill my head with creative and executional inspiration. It took me all of about half an hour to convince my bosses that I needed to go, because over the years, they’ve seen directly how much benefit the company gets from sending its best and brightest to three days of wholly immersive experiences that overload the senses and fill the head with endless possibilities. I’ve attended a lot of conferences over the years and to this day, nothing even comes close. The mixture of developer, designer, creator, manager is like no other that I’ve seen. I work in a design-intensive world and have to regularly execute creative ideas with a team of people who don’t all share my particular skill-set or passion for programming, and nothing else on earth could prepare me for that the way this conference always, and I do mean always, does.
So am I excited? You tell me. I’ve got a brand new laptop, with a spanking new copy of CS5 on it, PHP loaded up, and more databases on it than you can shake a stick at. I’ve got my Android phone juiced up, and I’ve signed up for some Android developer sessions that should (hopefully) lead to great things. I still have high hopes for Android, having been one of the very first people to jump on that train two years ago when I purchased my G1 and recent developments in the world of mobile and Flash development have piqued my interest.
I’m putting together my agenda, and going over some of the sessions I want to attend, but in the next couple of days I’ll be sure and post my agenda for the trip. It’s October 25-28, but I’ve gotten into an awesome, awesome pre-conference day of training that gets me to Los Angeles a couple days earlier, so I’ll actually be there from the 23rd through the 28th. I’m going to blog extensively before, during and after, with as much photo and video content as I can produce in a hotel room at night, so look forward to a lot of in-depth coverage coming up.
After missing the conference for a year, I believe the term you’re looking for is “back with a vengeance“. I can’t wait. Los Angeles, here I come!