Thursday, February 21, 2008

What the Hello World

I know what the world needs - another weblog! There's surely not enough of them out there already...

Welcome to my new weblog, Codedependent (a term which comes from this joke on my humor blog). I intend to use this blog for random discussions of graphics software; demos, tutorials, how-tos, snippets, announcements, algorithms, whatever. I'm also not above the odd humor piece or two (which can be even funnier when people take it seriously, despite my best efforts to be completely ridiculous).

I've recently joined Adobe Systems to work on the Flex SDK. Much of the material I write will be about Flex, Flash, AIR, ActionScript, and related technologies, although I also intend to have non-technology-specific pieces as interesting graphics software topics arise.

I feel the need to offer some kind of explanation to justify my writing this blog. Given some of the stuff out there in the blogosphere, all that bloggers really seem to need is an internet connection and a vague sense of where the keyboard is. But I’m after a higher goal here – I actually want people to read the articles, enjoy them, interact with me, and maybe even learn a thing or two as I, too, will be learning from working on the material.

Anyway, here’s me in brief (not "me in briefs"; this is not that kind of blog): I’ve been developing graphics software for my entire career, after a short-lived stint doing Network Communications, where I realized just how dull that work was. I work on anything that puts the pixels on the screen. I’ve worked on graphics technology at the application level, at the API level, in library development, and even down to the drivers for graphics chips. I was recently at Sun Microsystems, where I was an architect in the desktop client group for the last several years. I worked with all of the technologies in desktop Java, such as the Swing GUI toolkit and the Java 2D rendering layer. Some of my efforts there included hardware-acceleration for Java 2D rendering and, more recently, animation and whizzy graphical effects for Swing. On the topic of nifty graphical effects, I published a book last year with Romain Guy, entitled Filthy Rich Clients.

One of the things that attracted me to Flex, and to Adobe, was a client platform that enables very rich user experiences; transitions, animations, filters, and just darned good-looking UIs are all pretty exciting to this graphics geek. I hope to be able to help make Flex an even richer platform going forward.

As part of my recent stint at Sun, I kept a weblog on java.net; you can check out that blog if you want an idea of the kinds of things that interest me. That blog's postings are pretty Java-specific, since that was the intent, so I probably won't be adding to it in my newfangled life here at Adobe. Instead, I’ve started this new blog to be able to talk about Flex and, well, anything else that seems appropriate.

This should be fun - I hope you can join me. I promise to get more technical in future pieces. I just needed to get this "Who the heck are you?" piece out of the way so that I could get to more interesting material. For example, I've just finished writing a simple vector-drawing application as a way to teach myself about various elements of Flex and Flash. I'll be posting that application and going over the code in upcoming articles for anyone that's interested in learning along with me.

By the way, I also have a humor weblog that I post to when I want to write stuff that has nothing whatsoever to do with software (although I have been known to post jokes of a geeky nature there). If it’s technical, look here. If it’s not, look there. And if it's complete junk, look somewhere else.

41 comments:

Christophe said...

Hi Chet!

Welcome to the Flex world ;) I have been using Swing & Java2D for years in ILOG JViews, and now Flex in ILOG Elixir.
I'm impressed by some of the facilities of the Flex platform even though some core graphics API stuff like dashed stroke are still missing which puts on us the responsibility of implementing them. I hope you joining the Flex team is a good sign that even more graphics feature will be added to the platform!

One more blog to read now ;)

kozmoz said...

The most prominent Java architect of the Swing team at Sun Microsystems now joins Adobe Systems. That does not sound good to me (for client side Java/ Swing).

Can we read somewhere why you decided to leave Sun?

Anonymous said...

Hi Chet!

Java Desktop technologies are competing with Flex for taking RIA niche while one of the best people of Java Desktop leaves Sun and prefer Adobe Flex. Which are the reasons? Don't you believe in Java desktop future any more?

Craig said...

Hi Chet!

It's a sad day for Java UI geeks everywhere :-(

That said, I hope your new role brings you everything you want, and thanks for all the great work you did whilst you were at Sun.

deans4j said...

So Filthy Rich Clients next edition will base on Flex/AIR and ActionScript, huh?

softwarevisualization said...

I can't help but be sad to see you leave Sun and Swing. I hope you find what you're looking for at Adobe and you have a wonderful and fulfilling career.

Anonymous said...

Sad to see you leaving the Java camp; I enjoyed your blogs and enthusiasm for geeky graphics stuff. By the way, when is the second edition of FLEXible Rich Clients coming out? :)
Good luck with your new gig! Patrick

Joe Walker said...

Hope you turned the lights out when you left. ;-)

Do you have a new email? joe@getahead.org

Chet Haase said...

Hi everyone -

I seem to be getting a few "how come?" comments, as well as some not unexepected and ever-amusing conspiracy theories about why I made the job switch.

I don't really want to go down the road of explaining myself in life (that'd take years and more therapy than I can afford), but here are some candidates for consideration:
- The commute: Oh, wait - my commute got worse...
- Better coffee: This is a fact. Sorry, Sun, but the coffee at the Adobe offices is way better. Of course, I would never make a job change based on such a petty, superficial aspect of company life. At least I would never admit to that as a reason.
- Geeks like shiny objects: One of the things that attracts us to software engineering is, I think, our desire to make new stuff. Along with that comes a feeling that we need to learn and work on new technologies. Wake up the brain, test ourselves, and generally play around with new things. I'm still in the graphics/client space, but working on a completely different technology stack - how fun is that?!
- It could also just be the engineer's equivalent to when the baby's breaching and the obstetrician is nowhere to be found (it's a midwife crisis).

Jin Chun said...

Best of luck Chet!

I'm a little shocked to be honest ;-).

Brian Kreider said...

I am sad to see you leave sun and the swing team.

For your future blogs, I would love to see some articles on how a swing developer can transition to flex. What is needed, what tools to use and side by side example programs.

I wish you well at Adobe.

Jonathan Giles said...

What a shock to see you leave Sun! I'm a Swing developer and held you in the highest regard.

Good luck in your new job.

Cheers,
Jonathan Giles.

Anonymous said...

So, Swing is really dead?

Jonathan Giles said...

Swing is hardly dead. There is still plenty going on and a lot of hard working developers still focus on Swing, both inside Sun and outside of it.

Jeff said...

Congrats on the new position, Chet!

As a Java developer, I would like to know whether there is a difference in the media abilities of Adobe AIR applications vs Flex web based apps. The reason I ask is that the adobe media player plays much more than your typical flv videos.

Anonymous said...

To Jonathan Giles

"Profetia e ca vorba bate gandul la final!"
This means "The prophecy is that the words will overcome the thought at the end".

Never mind ...

Regards,
Shao

Chet Haase said...

Thanks, Jonathan - I'd put the "Swing is really dead?" comment squarely in the conspiracy-theory camp. Fantasy ego-trips aside, I hardly think that one person's personal career decisions should reflect the state or future of a platform that has plenty of great people working on and with it.

Brian: I don't plan on writing any Swing->Flex tutorials, but I do plan on presenting applications that I'm working on, where I'm learning the Flex platform from my particular persepctive. Those articles might be interesting to people coming to Flex from a similar perspective of desktop development.

Joe Nuxoll said...

Congrats Chet! I too have picked up a new gig... 'Tis the season for new jobs!

Jonathan Giles said...

Cheers for the backup Chet,

It's all too easy these days for people (informed or otherwise) to bag Swing, but I've been using it for a number of years and really do love using it.

Needless to say though, it's a shame that you have left though, as if I ever did move from little old New Zealand to the US, I would've loved to have worked within Sun on Swing, and you were definitely one of the people in there that I looked up to.

Cheers,
Jonathan.

Anonymous said...

To Chet:
Swing is really dead? was just a honest question not a conspiracy theory. Cobol is not dead either right so why should Swing be dead?

How can a technology evolve if it looses it's innovators ( like yourself ) and promoters everyday? How can Swing compete with Silverlight and AIR? Well maybe it's not dead but it's not evolving or responding to the competition either ...

If Romain or other strong figures will jump ship it will mean nothing right? The Swing prevails at all costs and against all evidence.

Pity you left.

Regards,
Shao

Stephan Janssen said...

Hey Chet, (again) congrats with your move... see you at JavaOne ;)

-Stephan

Dean said...

Congrats Chet!

As a fan of Swing, I'm sorry to see you go. But on the other hand, it's always fun to learn about new technologies. So count me in and lead the way, sir.

When is the first article? :-)

Dmitri said...

Hey Chet! We'll be watching you =)

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, about your comment about our coffee!

Dmitri

Jo Voordeckers said...

Hey Chet,

Best of luck at Adobe!

I agree with most of us Swing guys, we'll miss your talks and blogs!

I hope we meet again at JavaOne.

Chet Haase said...

Dean said: "When is the first article?"

Well, I guess it's going to be sooner than I was originally intending. This blog caught people's attention a little more quickly than I expected, and now I feel like I need something more interesting to read here than a fluffy "who is Chet?" intro piece.

I'm working on some pieces based on a demo app I've written - kind of a tutorial on some basic Flash/Flex/ActionScript things that I'm learning. The app is written (well, mostly); I just need to put some words together to walk through and explain it. I'll see if I can start that ball rolling this week sometime...

Chet.

Brian Beck said...

Wow - that was short. Did Apple not agree with you? What happened?

Volker said...

Hi Chet,

wish you all the best...

How can you be reached now?

Regards,
Volker

Kishore said...

Shocked.

Pavan said...

De-Motivating and shocking to say the least

Peter A Pilgrim said...

Hi Chet


Good luck on your new role.
Congratulations on your Filthy Rich Clients book and also past presentations on Swing/Java 2D.
I will be at JavaOne 2008 also.

ps: I had Ben Forsaith of Adobe present to the JAVAWUG in London last year, if you want to double up with Ben again this year then you know where to find me!


Best.
"You da Bomb!"
Peter Pilgrim, SCEA 5

Anonymous said...

Chet,

I knew it would only be a matter of time before someone lured you away from Sun. I cannot thank you enough for the contributions you've made to the platform. Java 6 was a leap forward for desktop Java. The fonts were better and the gray rect problem went away. I know you will be missed dearly by those of us who build RIAs in Java. Despite your modesty you will be very hard to replace.

Rob Abbe

Mark Davidson said...

Congrats Chet!

I'm very happy for you and I'm glad that you landed at Adobe. We have been looking at Flex and are very impressed with the technology. The fact that you have joined the Flex team is a great endorsement for the platform. This is great news.

Dylan said...

Congratulations!

Flex is really an amazing platform; I'm a little sad to see you leaving Java but I'm excited to see what you can do in the Flex space.

I've recently made a similar transition from Java to Flex and am enjoying Flex quite a bit. In some ways Flex Builder still seems to lag behind Matisse, but it is decent and the framework is fantastic. I'm hoping the new constraint stuff will bring it the rest of the way.

For the Java people here, ActionScript 3 (the language behind Flex/Air) is an (optionally) static language that is very similar to Java or C#. It has packages (laid out in the same way as Java), classes, and interfaces. It has familiar scoping and access modifiers. If you know Java then AS3 will be fairly simple to learn. Similar complexity to learning any new API. There is more in there, but you don't need to know it to get started.

Flex Builder plugs right into Eclipse so many people will not even have to learn a new IDE; I found the quickest way to learn was to download the trial of Flex Builder and go through a few of the quick demos.

Here are some quick from Java to Flex tutorials with code: http://coenraets.org/testdrive/flex4j/index.htm

Sorry to hijack your blog comments Chet. I'll be looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Dylan said...

On a related topic, your Java.net blog still says you are an architect at Sun; you might want to add a new link and update the heading. Stale data can be misleading for people who don't look for clear dates.

nj said...

Welcome to the team Chet! Apropos of your joining Adobe for the coffee, I think it's time we let you know that we only hired you because of the jokes. In fact, I have it on good authority that your performance bonuses will be directly tied to the daily moving average of the Laff-O-Meter[tm] we've surreptitiously placed in your cube.

Oh yeah, all that graphics whatchamacallit will probably come in handy at some point as well, I guess. Kids these days, with their affine transformations and offscreen buffers and whatnot. Back in my day, we painted each pixel by hand, uphill both ways.

nj

Chet Haase said...

nj:
Ah - I thought that device was a motion sensor. I guess it's more like an emotion sensor. I wondered why it kept groaning all the time.

Graphics, I can hack. But making engineers amused - that's no laughing matter.

Dhilshuk Reddy said...

Hello Chet ,
First of all congrats for your new Job and new Platform.
It is quite common people changing companies and platforms for many reasons.
But I personally feel that Java has lost one of its expert.
Two things I want to ask you.
First One:
Do you completely stop working on Java which you have been working on for years or do you work on something with Adobe Flex SDK that adds certain features which are not with Java ,provides interoperability between Java and flex along with rich applications.
Second one:
Are you now an expert in Adobe Flex or starting as beginner.
If your beginner I too will be your student.
Working on Multiple technologies is always good.
But I hope You want criticize Java once your through with the Adobe as I am great fan of Java and Swing.

Wish you to do great.
cheers,
Dhilshuk Reddy

Dean said...

Bah. All this doom and gloom for Java. You nattering neighbobs of negativity should consider that perhaps Chet just felt his work was done in Java.

Maybe he likes working on whatever fills in the blank in the following sentence:

"______________? I heard that is really slow."

Maybe Chet has made it his mission in life to find and fix every underperforming graphics pipeline in existence.

Just saying it's possible...

Anonymous said...

It's over. I'm uninstalling the jdk, taking down my James Gosling poster, putting my java one hat in storage and downloading Silverlight...

Common people. I imagine Chet has just got that feeling you get when you been on a project for a long time and you feel you're sloshing in mud and the idea of starting from scratch sounds very appealing.

gary said...

Hi Chet,

I've recently bought the FRC book and really enjoying it. I am surprised, like everyone here, that you decided to move on. But desktop or web-based client, the relevant point is have it filthy rich style. I envy you have the courage to pursue your passion. peace.

Anonymous said...

ERETNEK!

Sy