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FITC Amsterdam Diary - Workshop Day

<p>Today was day zero of the FITC Amsterdam conference with three workshops being held in the Felix Meritis centre, a gorgeous building inside and out, with some really unusual features. Our workshop was on the first floor and the room had a large ceiling with huge pillars lining the longest sides. The main Concertzaal room is equally impressive and spacious - though it needs to be judging by how popular the event is!</p>

I was booked to attend the Byte My Flash track, hosted by Lee Brimelow and Thibault Imbert, a full day workshop about programming at byte level in Actionscript 3. The two other tracks covered custom events and getting creative using the HYPE framework and both looked good. I was a bit gutted to not get to see Branden Hall and I think this could be a recurring problem with such a talent packed schedule of events!

The ByteArray workshop definitely had the potential to get quite gnarly but for the most part it was kept at a good, understandable level. Lee is an accomplished and excellent speaker about programming flash and Thibault is a crazy French Actionscript ninja so we were in safe hands. The hardest thing seemed to be getting the Flex 4 and AIR 2.0 frameworks set up properly for Thibault's topics - I'll echo Lee's comment about Flex and the trouble it causes! (As a quick side note, check out bytearray.org - it's Thibault's blog and has so much crazy stuff packed into it!)

We covered stuff like making a custom FTP client, decoding PSD and BMP images, creating sounds from code, reading pop mail and finished by making an air app that uses the AIR 2.0 NativeProcess class to encode live microphone data to an mp3 file. Pretty damn cool stuff and only a taster of what is possible when you work at byte level. It's exciting to think how much potential there is to extend the Flash Player.

Even cooler (potential oxymoron coming up) was the World of Warcraft demo from Mike Chambers, showing us a neat app that could send images over a socket to a client on an iPhone developed in Flash CS5. Impressive!

After the workshop I went back to the hotel for a bit and checked on twitter to see what sort of buzz there was about FITC and to see if there was anyone around that fancied chatting about flash over dinner.

One of the things I really enjoy about working with the Flash Platform is the community and tonight was a great example of how strong it is. Five of us (the majority strangers to one another) met at the Pancake Bakery in the North of the city after arranging to meet up on Twitter. It was great, especially given that I'm the only person from Coolpink to head over (all alone in the big city!) and didn't know anyone here in Amsterdam. It was really interesting to see how different nationalities go about their business and how their industry is viewed by their surrounding economy - I never want to work as a Flash Designer in Portugal!

That's it for today, I'm putting my feet up in the hotel bar and getting ready for a really busy day tomorrow. So many good talks, but I'm really excited to see Erik Natzke and Ralph Hauwert. Looking at the schedule I think I'm going to be camping out in the main room!

Ian Thomas

Father of two, Husband and Software Architect currently working at Sky Betting and Gaming

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