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Faced with the need to generate ever-greater insight and end-user value, some of the world’s most innovative companies — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Adobe and American Express among them — have turned to graph technologies to tackle the complexity at the heart of their data.

To understand how graphs address data complexity, we need first to understand the nature of the complexity itself. In practical terms, data gets more complex as it gets bigger, more semi-structured, and more densely connected.

We all know about big data. The volume of net new data being created each year is growing exponentially — a trend that is set to continue for the foreseeable future. But increased volume isn’t the only force we have to contend with today: On top of this staggering growth in the volume of data, we are also seeing an increase in both the amount of semi-structure and the degree of connectedness present in that data.

Semi-Structure

Semi-structured data is messy data: data that doesn’t fit into a uniform, one-size-fits-all, rigid relational schema. It is characterized by the presence of sparse tables and lots of null checking logic — all of it necessary to produce a solution that is fast enough and flexible enough to deal with the vagaries of real world data.

Increased semi-structure, then, is another force with which we have to contend, besides increased data volume. As data volumes grow, we trade insight for uniformity; the more data we gather about a group of entities, the more that data is likely to be semi-structured.

Connectedness

But insight and end-user value do not simply result from ramping up volume and variation in our data. Many of the more important questions we want to ask of our data require us to understand how things are connected. Insight depends on us understanding the relationships between entities — and often, the quality of those relationships.

Here are some examples, taken from different domains, of the kinds of important questions we ask of our data:

  • Which friends and colleagues do we have in common?
  • What’s the quickest route between two stations on the metro?
  • What do you recommend I buy based on my previous purchases?
  • Which products, services and subscriptions do I have permission to access and modify? Conversely, given this particular subscription, who can modify or cancel it?
  • What’s the most efficient means of delivering a parcel from A to B?
  • Who has been fraudulently claiming benefits?
  • Who owns all the debt? Who is most at risk of poisoning the financial markets?

To answer each of these questions, we need to understand how the entities in our domain are connected. In other words, these are graph problems.

Why are these graph problems? Because graphs are the best abstraction we have for modeling and querying connectedness. Moreover, the malleability of the graph structure makes it ideal for creating high-fidelity representations of a semi-structured domain. Traditionally relegated to the more obscure applications of computer science, graph data models are today proving to be a powerful way of modeling and interrogating a wide range of common use cases. Put simply, graphs are everywhere.

Graph Databases

Today, if you’ve got a graph data problem, you can tackle it using a graph database — an online transactional system that allows you to store, manage and query your data in the form of a graph. A graph database enables you to represent any kind of data in a highly accessible, elegant way using nodes and relationships, both of which may host properties:

  • Nodes are containers for properties, which are key-value pairs that capture an entity’s attributes. In a graph model of a domain, nodes tend to be used to represent the things in the domain. The connections between these things are expressed using relationships.
  • A relationship has a name and a direction, which together lend semantic clarity and context to the nodes connected by the relationship. Like nodes, relationships can also contain properties: Attaching one or more properties to a relationship allows us to weight that relationship, or describe its quality, or otherwise qualify its applicability for a particular query.

The key thing about such a model is that it makes relations first-class citizens of the data, rather than treating them as metadata. As real data points, they can be queried and understood in their variety, weight and quality: Important capabilities in a world of increasing connectedness.

Graph Databases in Practice

Today, the most innovative organizations are leveraging graph databases as a way to solve the challenges around their connected data. These include major names such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Adobe and American Express. Graph databases are also being used by organizations in a range of fields including finance, education, web, ISV and telecom and data communications.

The following examples offer use case scenarios of graph databases in practice.

  • Adobe Systems currently leverages a graph database to provide social capabilities to its Creative Cloud — a new array of services to media enthusiasts and professionals. A graph offers clear advantages in capturing Adobe’s rich data model fully, while still allowing for high performance queries that range from simple reads to advanced analytics. It also enables Adobe to store large amounts of connected data across three continents, all while maintaining high query performance.
  • Europe’s No. 1 professional network, Viadeo, has integrated a graph database to store all of its users and relationships. Viadeo currently has 40 million professionals in its network and requires a solution that is easy to use and capable of handling major expansion. Upon integrating a graph model, Viadeo has accelerated its system performance by more than 200 percent.
  • Telenor Group is one of the top ten wireless Telco companies in the world, and uses a graph database to manage its customer organizational structures. The ability to model and query complex data such as customer and account structures with high performance has proven to be critical to Telenor’s ongoing success.

An access control graph. Telenor uses a similar data model to manage products and subscriptions.

An access control graph. Telenor uses a similar data model to manage products and subscriptions.

  • Deutsche Telekom leverages a graph database for its highly scalable social soccer fan website attracting tens of thousands of visitors during each soccer match, where it provides painless data modeling, seamless data model extendibility, and high performance and reliability.
  • Squidoo is the popular social publishing platform where users share their passions. They recently created a product called Postcards, which are single-page, beautifully designed recommendations of books, movies, music albums, quotes and other products and media types. A graph database ensures that users have an awesome experience as it provides a primary data store for the Postcards taxonomy and the recommendation engine for what people should be doing next.

Such examples prove the pervasiveness of connections within data and the power of a graph model to optimally map relationships. A graph database allows you to further query and analyze such connections to provide greater insight and end-user value. In short, graphs are poised to deliver true competitive advantage by offering deeper perspective into data as well as a new framework to power today’s revolutionary applications.

A New Way of Thinking

Graphs are a new way of thinking for explicitly modeling the factors that make today’s big data so complex: Semi-structure and connectedness. As more and more organizations recognize the value of modeling data with a graph, they are turning to the use of graph databases to extend this powerful modeling capability to the storage and querying of complex, densely connected structures. The result is the opening up of new opportunities for generating critical insight and end-user value, which can make all the difference in keeping up with today’s competitive business environment.

Emil is the founder of the Neo4j open source graph database project, which is the most widely deployed graph database in the world. As a life-long compulsive programmer who started his first free software project in 1994, Emil has with horror witnessed his recent degradation into a VC-backed powerpoint engineer. As the CEO of Neo4j’s commercial sponsor Neo Technology, Emil is now mainly focused on spreading the word about the powers of graphs and preaching the demise of tabular solutions everywhere. Emil presents regularly at conferences such as JAOO, JavaOne, QCon and OSCON.

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hal380The advent of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Adobe Marketing Cloud demonstrates the need for enterprises to develop new ways of harnessing the vast potential of big data. Yet these marketing clouds beg the question of who will help marketers, the frontline of businesses, maximize marketing spending and ROI and help their brands win in the end. Simply moving software from onsite to hosted servers does not change the capabilities marketers require — real competitive advantage stems from intelligent use of big data.

Marc Benioff, who is famous for declaring that “Software Is Dead,” may face a similar fate with his recent bets on Buddy Media and Radian6. These applications provide data to people who must then analyze, prioritize and act — often at a pace much slower than the digital world. Data, content and platform insights are too massive for mere mortals to handle without costing a fortune. Solutions that leverage big data are poised to win — freeing up people to do the strategy and content creation that is best done by humans, not machines.

Big data is too big for humans to work with, at least in the all-important analytical construct of responding to opportunities in real time — formulating efficient and timely responses to opportunities generated from your marketing cloud, or pursuing the never-ending quest for perfecting search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). The volume, velocity and veracity of raw, unstructured data is overwhelming. Big data pioneers such as Facebook and eBay have moved to massive Hadoop clusters to process their petabytes of information.

In recent years, we’ve gone from analyzing megabytes of data to working with gigabytes, and then terabytes, and then petabytes and exabytes, and beyond. Two years ago, James Rogers, writing in The Street, wrote: “It’s estimated that 1 Petabyte is equal to 20 million four-door filing cabinets full of text.” We’ve become jaded to seeing such figures. But 20 million filing cabinets? If those filing cabinets were a standard 15 inches wide, you could line them up, side by side, all the way from Seattle to New York — and back again. One would need a lot of coffee to peruse so much information, one cabinet at a time. And, a lot of marketing staff.

Of course, we have computers that do the perusing for us, but as big data gets bigger, and as analysts, marketers and others seek to do more with the massive intelligence that can be pulled from big data, we risk running into a human bottleneck. Just how much can one person — or a cubicle farm of persons — accomplish in a timely manner from the dashboard of their marketing cloud? While marketing clouds do a fine job of gathering data, it still comes down to expecting analysts and marketers to interpret and act on it — often with data that has gone out of date by the time they work with it.

Hence, big data solutions leveraging machine learning, language models and prediction, in the form of self-learning solutions that go from using algorithms for harvesting information from big data, to using algorithms to initiate actions based on the data.

Yes, this may sound a bit frightful: Removing the human from the loop. Marketers indeed need to automate some decision-making. But the human touch will still be there, doing what only people can do — creating great content that evokes emotions from consumers — and then monitoring and fine-tuning the overall performance of a system designed to take actions on the basis of big data.

This isn’t a radical idea. Programmed trading algorithms already drive significant activity across stock markets. And, of course, Amazon, eBay and Facebook have become generators of — and consummate users of — big data. Others are jumping on the bandwagon as well. RocketFuel uses big data about consumers, sites, ads and prior ad performance to optimize display advertising. Turn.com uses big data from consumer Web behavior, on-site behaviors and publisher content to create, optimize and buy advertising across the Web for display advertisers.

The big data revolution is just beginning as it moves beyond analytics. If we were building CRM again, we wouldn’t just track sales-force productivity; we’d recommend how you’re doing versus your competitors based on data across the industry. If we were building marketing automation software, we wouldn’t just capture and nurture leads generated by our clients, we’d find and attract more leads for them from across the Web. If we were building a financial application, it wouldn’t just track the financials of your company, it would compare them to public filings in your category so you could benchmark yourself and act on best practices.

Benioff is correct that there’s an undeniable trend that most marketing budgets today are betting more on social and mobile. The ability to manage social, mobile and Web analysis for better marketing has quickly become a real focus — and a big data marketing cloud is needed to do it. However, the real value and ROI comes from the ability to turn big data analysis into action, automatically. There’s clearly big value in big data, but it’s not cost-effective for any company to interpret and act on it before the trend changes or is over. Some reports find that 70 percent of marketers are concerned with making sense of the data and more than 91 percent are concerned with extracting marketing ROI from it. Incorporating big data technologies that create action means that your organization’s marketing can get smarter even while you sleep.

Raj De Datta founded BloomReach with 10 years of enterprise and entrepreneurial experience behind him. Most recently, he was an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Mohr-Davidow Ventures. Previously, he was a Director of Product Marketing at Cisco. Raj also worked in technology investment banking at Lazard Freres. He holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering from Princeton and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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I am no longer committed to supporting any Flash related open-source projects.

Here is why. When I started using the Flash Player it was quite easy to reach its limits. However you were able to get around those limitations with clever hacks and debatable optimization techniques. I was always keen to share my knowledge with the community and to explore all possible options to achieve best performance.

The Flash Player has been hibernating for half a decade now. The only glimpse of performance was finally a set of specialized op-codes which allow you to modify an array of bytes. In layman’s terms this means it was finally possible to do a[b] = c with an acceptable performance. So I wrote a tool which allows you to do just that and many other things. I have spent a good time of my free time trying to improve the performance of the Flash Player and contributing all my code to the community.

As a reminder: I showed some drastic performance improvements at Flash on the Beach in 2009. That was three years ago. It was not necessary to modify the Flash Player and it was not necessary to modify the ActionScript language.

The Adobe roadmap for the Flash runtimes states that Flash Player “Dolores”

  • will support ActionScript Workers
  • comes with improved performance for Apple iOS
  • and ActionScript 3 APIs to access the fast-memory op-codes

This player should be released in the second half of 2012. The “Next” Flash Player will finally include

  • modernizing the core of the Flash runtime
  • work on the VM
  • updates to the ActionScript language

This is planned for 2013 apparently. And what can we expect? Type inference, static typing as a default, and hardware-oriented numeric types. Hooray, so it will be finally possible in 2013 to write a[b] = c without having to use some weird fast-memory op-codes. If we look back to the year 2009 this makes me really sad.

With the introduction of the speed tax you will now have to license your application. No matter if you make money out of it or not. Now I think that 9% is a decent number and I can understand Adobe’s position on this. In fact it is much more friendly than the 30% Google or Apple take. However the AppStore was an invention. What is the invention here? Squeezing money out of an already existing feature, and suddenly making it unavailable after people have been relying on it for years to push the boundaries of the platform and actually innovate?

But for the hell of it, a[b] = c is not a premium feature. Nor are hardware accelerated graphics. That is what I would expect from any decent runtime.

Limiting the capabilities of a runtime — by defaulting back to software rendering for instance — will make it less attractive to use it in the first place. You are probably not interested to go through a signing progress for a small demo. So your performance might be crap, people will complain about the Flash Player taking 100% CPU because its using software rendering (YEY! 2013!), laptop fans will start to dance and you will look like a bad developer because that other guy got the same thing running with hardware acceleration. Or you could use a different technology.

Why is this bad? Because apparently this signing with a $50k threshold targets the enterprise and small developers seem to be acceptable collateral damage. However thinking about the next five to ten years: who is going to write ActionScript code if it is no longer attractive to play around with it in the first place?

We still rely on the Flash Player at audiotool.com. I am still developing for it and we will probably have to use it as long as there is no alternative. Me no longer supporting open-source tools is just me no longer spending my personal time for a platform that I would not use for private stuff. Work is of course not always about fun. But fortunately I am able to spend 90% of my time writing Scala code.

I will finish this blog post with some bad karma:

It’s also worth noting that the new Adobe license will prohibit scenarios where you’d have the first level of a game in the Flash Player, and the full experience inside the Unity Web Player. Alas, this is something you’ll need to be aware of if you were considering such a route.

You will not only pay for the features. You are also welcome to cede some of your rights.

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Adobe has published its roadmap for its Flash browser plugin and its AIR desktop application counterpart. More releases, more features, and more performance, are all planned, but on fewer platforms: Adobe is giving up entirely on supporting smartphone browsers, sticking to the core desktop platforms for its plugin—and with a big question mark when it comes to Windows 8.

The company sees Flash as having two main markets that will resist the onslaught of HTML5: game development, and premium (read: encrypted) video. To that end, the features it has planned for future updates focus on making Flash faster, with greater hardware acceleration and improved script performance, and more application-like, with keyboard input in full-screen applications, and support for middle- and right-mouse buttons.

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Adobe Illustrator is the industry-standard when it comes to the creation of vector graphics. Though a very robust tool - the learning curve involved in mastering it can be high. Thankfully, there are abundant resources on the web that allows you to “learn by doing”.

Video tutorials (in general) enable the learner to witness – step-by-step – how a particular technique works. We often learn best by seeing how things are done and following along with the instructor (much like in a classroom environment).

In this article, we present to you 50 excellent Adobe Illustrator video tutorials. We’ve broken down the video tutorials into several categories that include creating objects, effects, and general tips and techniques.

So fire up Illustrator, watch a few of these videos, and hopefully you will have learned a tip or two by the end of your adventures into these Illustrator video tutorials!

General Tips and Techniques

Patterns and Shapes in Adobe Illustrator
This tutorial is based on an advertisement that uses patterns and shapes to create a unique design effect.

Importing and Manipulating Images in Illustrator - screen shot.

Importing and Manipulating Images in Illustrator
Learn the concepts of importing and manipulating external images in Illustrator.

Importing and Manipulating Images in Illustrator - screen shot.

Creative Masking Techniques
See a method for using complex masking techniques in Illustrator.

Creative Masking Techniques - screen shot.

Making a Custom Art Brush
Create your own custom Art Brush that you can re-use in multiple projects via this Illustrator video tutorial.

Making a Custom Art Brush - screen shot.

Using Kuler with Illustrator
This tutorial walks you through the process of interfacing with kuler (a community website for sharing color themes) via Illustrator so that you can easily select your color pallete.

Using Kuler with Illustrator - screen shot.

Live Color in Illustrator CS3
Learn about the Live Color option in Illustrator.

Live Color in Illustrator CS3 - screen shot.

Complete Guide to the Pen Tool
Master the Pen tool (one of the most used and complex features in Illustrator) in this video tutorial.

Complete Guide to the Pen Tool - screen shot.

All about Masking
Learn the concepts of masking in Illustrator in this video tutorial.

All about Masking - screen shot.

Adobe Illustrator Masking Tutorial
This short and sweet tutorial will cover the basics of masking in Adobe Illustrator.

Adobe Illustrator Masking Tutorial - screen shot.

Opacity Mask
You’ll learn about a technique for performing opacity masking (usually done in Photoshop) in Adobe Illustrator creative selecting with the Marquee tool.

Opacity Mask - screen shot.

Clipping Masks
Learn about clipping masks to streamline the creation of complex objects in this excellent Illustrator video tutorial.

Clipping Masks - screen shot.

Vespa Speed Trace
In this video, you’ll see a method for speed tracing a stock image (in this particular case, a Vespa scooter is used as the reference image).

Vespa Speed Trace - screen shot.

Offset Path tool
Master the Offset Path tool by following along this video tutorial.

Offset Path tool - screen shot.

Using the Paintbrush Tool
You’ll discover the powers of the Paintbrush tool in Illustrator in this excellent video tutorial.

Using the Paintbrush Tool - screen shot.

Working with Layers and Groups
Understanding layers and groups in Illustrator (which is slightly different in Photoshop) can be a daunting task – but not so if you watch this video tutorial.

Working with Layers and Groups - screen shot.

Working with Gradients and Blends
Learn the concepts and techniques behind utilizing gradients and blends to add graduated colors onto your Illustrator objects.

Working with Gradients and Blends - screen shot.

Select Objects Faster and More Efficiently
Maximize your workflow by learning how to select different objects on your Illustrator document in this video tutorial.

Select Objects Faster and More Efficiently - screen shot.

Creating Objects

Creating an iPod
In this video tutorial, you’ll see the process involved in rendering an iPod Nano from scratch using the 3D Effect tool (among other tools and techniques) in Illustrator.

Creating an iPod screen shot.

Creating 3D Shapes in Illustrator
Utilize the Revolve tool in Illustrator to create a great-looking 3-dimensional shape.

Create a 3D Background Using the Revolve Tool - screen shot.

Draw Fluffy Clouds
Create an illustrated cloud using the Pencil tool in Adobe Illustrator via this video tutorial.

Draw Fluffy Clouds screen shot.

How to Draw an Eye
In this video tutorial, you’ll learn the process of drawing an eye in Illustrator.

How to Draw an Eye screen shot.

Drawing Face
Witness a process for creating a vectorized face using a reference photo.

Drawing Face - screen shot.

Create a Gear
You’ll witness the creation of a complex gear object in this Illustrator video tutorial that involves a variety of techniques and tools like the Pathfinder tool.

Create a Gear screen shot.

Drawing a Gel Progress Bar
Learn how to create a stylish progress bar (inspired by the iPod progress bar) using a combination of techniques including the use of gradients and masking techniques.

Drawing a Gel Progress Bar screen shot.

Create Swirling Rainbows with Ease
Create the popular swirling rainbows graphic in Adobe Illustrator by following along this video tutorial.

Make a Fully Vector Metal Help Icon/Button screen shot.

Make a Fully Vector Metal Help Icon/Button
Make a metallic, shiny vector (and thus flexible in scale) icon via this Illustrator video tutorial.

Create Swirling Rainbows with Ease screen shot.

3D Brochure
Add a bit of flare onto your print design mock-ups by making them 3-dimensional. This video tutorial shows you how to do it with a brochure, but it can easily be adapted to CD labels, software boxes, and other print design objects.

3D Brochure screen shot.

Watermelon
Learn how to render a watermelon in Adobe Illustrator via this excellent video tutorial.

Watermelon screen shot.

Vector Drawing: “Dog”
In this fast-paced video, you’ll witness the steps involved in drawing a dog in Illustrator.

 "Dog" screen shot.

Creating Vector Swirls and Swooshes
This tutorial shows you how to create trendy swirls and swooshes using the Pen tool.

Creating Vector Swirls and Swooshes screen shot.

Roundtrip Logo from Illustrator to Photoshop
Find out the methods of an effective workflow that utilizes the power of Illustrator and Photoshop to create a grungy logo design.

Roundtrip Logo from Illustrator to Photoshop screen shot.

Batman Logo
Create the Batman logo via this tutorial that shows you the true powers of the Illustrator’s Pathfinder tool.

Batman Logo screen shot.

Feynman Diagrams
Create a Feynman diagram in Illustrator for presentations and reports.

Feynman Diagrams screen shot.

Create 3D Pyramid
This Illustrator video tutorial will walk you through the creation of a 3-dimensional pyramid.

Create 3D Pyramid - screen shot.

Drawing a Nice Vector Golden Badge Award
In this video tutorial, you’ll be using a variety of Illustrator techniques including masking and working with the Pen tool to create a gold badge.

Drawing a Nice Vector Golden Badge Award screen shot.

Vectoring an EyeBall
Learn to vectorize a human eye using a reference photo.

Vectoring an EyeBall - screen shot.

Creating Seamless Pattern
You’ll be creating a seamless floral pattern in this Illustrator video tutorial.

Creating Seamless Pattern - screen shot.

Tribal Sun Vector
Create a tribal Sun illustration by following along this excellent video tutorial.

Tribal Sun Vector - screen shot.

Effects

Simple Silhouettes in Illustrator CS4
Apply silhouettes onto objects by utilizing the Gradient Mesh tool.

Simple Silhouettes in Illustrator CS4 - screen shot.

Create Wood Effect Using Gradients
Create a wood texture in Illustrator by using the Gradients tool.

Create Wood Effect Using Gradients - screen shot.

Creating a “Firebrush” Logo
Make a fiery, fierce abstract logo design in Adobe Illustrator video tutorial.

Creating a "Firebrush" Logo - screen shot.

Brushed Metal Effect
Give objects scalable “brushed metal” (also known as “brushed aluminum”) texture by following along this Illustrator video tutorial.

Brushed Metal Effect - screen shot.

Vector Grunge Patterns and Distressed Text
Give text a distressed/worn effect via this Illustrator video tutorial.

Vector Grunge Patterns and Distressed Text - screen snot.

Creating Glass, Shining, Reflective, and Vector Text
Go Web 2.0 in Illustrator by creating this sleek, shiny, glossy text effect.

Creating Glass, Shining, Reflective, and Vector Text - screen shot.

Creating Comic Book Style Text
Give your text a comic book look-and-feel by following along this video tutorial.

Creating Comic Book Style Text - screen shot.

Creative Background Effects
In this video tutorial, you’ll learn how to create abstract backgrounds/textures in Illustrator.

Creative Background Effects - screen shot.

Abstract Vector Background
Create a stylish vector background by viewing this excellent Illustrator video tutorial.

Abstract Vector Background - screen shot.

Adding Texture
You’ll learn how to give your vector objects some texture in this video tutorial.

Adding Texture - screen shot.

Create Intricate Patterns
Learn to create complex patterns in Illustrator via this detailed and highly-involved video tutorial.

Create Intricate Patterns - screen shot.

Creating Vectorized Shining and Sparkling Heart Artwork and Icons
Make a vector heart piece by following along this wonderful Illustrator video tutorial.

Creating Vectorized Shining and Sparkling Heart Artwork and Icons - screen shot.

Related content

About the Author

Jacob Gube is a Web developer/designer and author of Six Revisions, a blog on Web development and design. If you want to connect with the author, you can follow him on Twitter.

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Mike Chambers posted that Flash Player 10 is officially live. This completes your 1-2 punch of RIA/game platform releases of Silverlight and Flash this week.

We have just released the shipping version of Flash Player 10 (Mac, Windows and Linux). You can find more information on all of the new features on the Flash Player product page.

You can download the player for Mac, Windows and Linux players from here.

You can grab debug and standalone players from here.

You can grab the release notes from here.

Flash Player 10 is great news. There are so many things in it from a new data structure (Vector), to local FileReference, to Matrix and 3D helpers, to speed improvements and video enhancements being able to play other video types and more (this was actually in a late version of flash player 9 as well but will be used more here). It does take time for flash versions to get out in the wild, about 9 months to where they are in the 90%-95% range where you can convince people to use it in production, but getting those skills now is good.  The scripting platform is still Actionscript 3 so anyone still making Flash Player 8 and AS2 stuff is now two revolutions behind.

Another thing I am looking forward to soon (next week) that is missing from both Flash and Silverlight, is the ability to develop for the iPhone, which Unity3D is dropping the iPhone kit on Oct 22nd. Unity3D has effectively taken Director’s 3d game development (hardware accelerated) market lead away this year and late last year and is a great platform. Director who?

Lots of great tools and platforms to create the innovative new applications, games and markets that are so needed right now. Go create!

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It's been quite a while in the making, but I am very pleased with the news today that Adobe will be embedding Alfresco technology as part of its LiveCycle Suite. A while ago, I wrote a blog about embeddable content repositories. It was clear then and more clear now that the old generation of content repositories is not really designed to be embedded as part of content-oriented applications. Yet, we all know that there is more information in content than there is in databases. Why can't applications use a set of services for managing content the way they manage data in embedded databases?

On this particular news, ComputerWorld reports Raja Hammond, Group Manager for Adobe LiveCycle, as saying, "Alfresco has a fantastic lightweight installation. It
is J2EE server-based, so it is very much aligned with our architecture.
We're able with this release to totally embed it. We've done extensive
customization to the UIs to add additional capabilities to them. We've
integrated them tightly with the various solution components within
LiveCycle."

At InfoWorld, Brian Wick, Director of Product Marketing at Adobe said, "It's much easier, much quicker for our customers to build LiveCycle apps with the content services piece built in." This should be the sentiment of any product manager whose product handles content. This clearly the case of LiveCycle which handles potentially huge numbers of PDFs and forms.

Over at CMS Watch, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a long-time ECM observer, blogged on the announcement that, "It's been a while since there was a big product announcement in the ECM world, but today's announcement by Adobe that they will be embedding Alfresco into their LiveCycle Enterprise Suite will doubtless garner a few headlines. Alfresco, the UK-based open source ECM company, has certainly done a great job of marketing themselves since their launch a couple of years back, stealing some limelight from more established and much bigger vendors such as Interwoven, Vignette, and OpenText. The question we have to ask is whether this announcement is another marketing
  triumph, or whether it suggests something more substantial. First off is the fact that it is a real OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) deal, and the technology will actually get embedded into the Adobe offering, so it is more than simply a paper partnership."

It is also significant that the Alfresco platform is open source. Open source allowed Adobe and our dozens of other OEMs to try out Alfresco before even approaching us. Open source also provides a level of comfort and confidence in a platform for services like content services and content repository. It is much better than providing code in escrow. it actually provides a community as well to ensure the long-term success of the platform.

We look forward to a fruitful and simbiotic relationship with Adobe. We believe that this is the beginning of looking at content management as a peer of database management of an essential component of any enterprise-class application. Congratulations to Adobe on all the hard work and the new release.

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