Notes on FlashCamp Portugal

5th October, 2010

On October 2nd, took place the 2010 edition of FlashCamp Portugal at the auditorium of Universidade Lusófona. An event organized by AUG Portugal mainly for designers and developers working with — or just interested in — the Flash Platform.

It was my first time at this annual event, and at least one thing is for sure: I want to be back for next year’s edition!

Speakers and Talks.

Mike Jones – Designing Flex Components
Maybe because it was the first talk in the morning, or because it was a topic hard on the left side of the brain, it ended up suffering with an audience still in the waking-up process.
There were great tips explained, specially for someone who never built a Flex project, like me. It got me interested in the naming conventions used to create timeline transitions for the Flex Framework.

Paulo Fierro – Mobile projects
In my opinion, this was the best and most interesting talk of the day.
The case studies brought to stage revealed a good showcase of creative ideas pushed to production, just for the fun of it.
This was an inspiring talk. Period.

João Gonçalves / Francisco Costa, Paulo Afonso / Jorge Varandas, Nuno Morgadinho, Nuno Ribeiro – AUGPT Community Showcase
Gathering professionals from the community to show le créme de la créme was also a neat idea. It allowed to get a sense of the current market status. Great samples of work were presented, not only strictly digital, but also interactive installations.
As an extended bonus, some works were complemented with a technical background overview.
The most adverse presentation of the day was probably from Nuno Ribeiro, exposing mostly his personal opinions on the portuguese scene and overall was much of a rant. One to get people thinking nonetheless.

João Saleiro – Skin Flex 4 apps with Spark
If the first talk of the morning suffered with a waking-up audience, this suffered with a falling-asleep one. It was right after lunch.
Though it was an interesting topic, it was very technical and specific. But somehow managed to explain how simple it now is to skin a Flex 4 app from a designer’s point of view.

Niqui Merret – Bugs Catch’em All
Another funny talk. Approaching the debug process with a positive and methodical perspective was the main subject. Practical solutions and tools were presented to help easing the daily routine of every (Flash) developer. Not much new, but one bug caught me off-guard: writing an empty switch statement can crash the player? Gotta try this!

Rui Silva – Internationalization in the Flash Platform
This was a general opinion: the hardest talk to keep people focused in.
But it’s a very important subject, specially if one’s developing a project for multiple international markets.

Lee Brimelow – My Head Hurts
Even being the last talk of the day, it was one that raised most people’s attention. Lee Brimelow is clearly an experienced speaker and brought the hot topics for the table. Handed out arguments to help choosing the right technology for the right project. Sometimes arguments felt a bit biased on Adobe (on Flash versus HTML5 subjects) but in general the pros and cons of both technologies, for both desktop and mobile platforms, were explained.

Generally speaking…

I felt that the whole event was well organized, and that a lot of people invested a lot of time putting it all together.

The coffee breaks were well distributed throughout the schedule. And it was a very good idea the pin swap to enter the prize raffle. As a suggestion: make it harder next time, so more people have to interact with each other. Speakers included! :)

Two negative points that worth mentioning:
– the lighting was mostly too low on the stage;
– the podium was too off-center, making people on the right side of the room adopt the strangest positions to make it till the end of the day without stiff neck pains…

Suggestions for the future.

A Twitter wall would be welcome. It would give realtime feedback from the audience that (hopefully) tends to grow every year.

Wireless mics would be a good bet. Avoiding speakers from having to be stuck behind the podium in order to use the mic.

This goes without saying, but an event like this without wi-fi internet access is so… 1999? Sponsors for this, should not be hard to get! :)

This is a sensitive subject, but having people to pay something for the ticket will act as a filter. Only the ones really interested will reserve a seat, and come. And avoids unpleasant and near disrespectful comments from the audience. Be it online or offline.

And another tough issue: though it’s a portuguese event, there were international speakers present — and hopefully more will come in the next editions — so having more english-spoken talks would be a bonus for them and (who knows!) an international audience.

Just like I said in the beginning of this post, I really enjoyed being present in this event. And unless the sky falls down or something else catastrophic happens, I will be at next year’s edition.

‘Till then, keep up the excellent work!