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Flash Goddess
SPOTLIGHT
April, 2007
Stacey Mulcahy

Stacey Mulcahy

SNL Merger Model


my360zone


Celebritys Europe

Stacey Mulcahy

Stacey Mulcahy is a Flex, Flash and Apollo developer who once had a torrid love affair with Macromedia Director. When she's not building rich Internet applications that even designers like, she can be found showing others how to do the same thing as a Flash instructor. She rants more than raves on her Flash-centric blog www.bitchwhocodes.com. Recent career highlights include being profiled by Adobe for Flash's 10th anniversary celebration, and being asked to speak at FITC in Toronto, 2007.

Why the name bitchwhocodes?

The name started off as joke with an old boss. He kinda gave me the nickname, I like to think it was a term of endearment, and I just ran with it. If you can't laugh at yourself... People either love the name or hate it, and trust me, if they hate it, I hear about it. And once you get to know me, you realize how ironic it is.


When and how did you get started using Flash?

I started using Flash seriously with version 6. So – probably around 2001? Getting into Flash was an accident – I loved Director and had a hard time wrapping myself around the conceptual changes that Flash brought to the table at that time. I got into Flash because I had to make changes to a file – more of a must do than want to do situation.


What do you like most about Flash? Do you find any setbacks / limitations with it?

I like the fact that there is no prescribed use for it. People use it for so many things – user interfaces, animation shorts, videos, presentations, visual art.

Setbacks and limitations would have to be workflow – it would be nice to have a more seamless roundtrip experience with all the Adobe products. At times, team development can be trying.


What was the most challenging project you've ever worked on?

Without a doubt, Teknision's SNL Merger Model, which is a branded application that performs insane merger and acquisition analysis. Just the data wrangling and management alone was enough to make you shiver. I had to jump into an existing codebase and add features – but it's definitely the most rewarding project I've worked on.


Is there a project that you're really proud of?

I'm my own worst critic. I'd have to say no, because I tend to really be proud of certain parts or pieces. If I was forced to say one, it might the work on a side project called my360Zone – it was a Flex 2.0 project I did with a developer, Jeff Conrad, remotely and was a labour of love. I learned so much from someone I have never met in person.


What uses of Flash are inspiring to you?

Experiences that incorporate well planned and executed usability are usually the ones that I wish I had created. Enabling the backbutton, deeplinking – that kinda thing. I also think the finetunes' (finetune.com) player, deployed on the various platforms (embedded player, Wii, Apollo), is incredibly inspiring – it's as much about deployment and lowering the barrier to access than it is the application.


What are you currently working on?

I just finished my first client Apollo application- or more of a prototype – a product selection application and the update feature is by far my favorite one. I'm starting on a variety of mini-sites after this conference. I'm also contributing to a publication that is somewhat related to the topic of my seminar.


You're giving a talk at FITC this year “AS2 to AS3 Migration”. Could you tell us a bit about this? Do you ever speak at other conferences or user groups? Are you naturally a good speaker or was it a skill you needed to acquire? Any ideas on why there is a lack of women speakers at conferences?

My seminar is about moving forward, as a developer or designer, and using AS3, coming from AS2. It's intended to be a bit of a quick start into AS3 by showing the differences between the two side by side. Sorry folks, there is gonna be some code shown. I've spoken at other user groups – and was an instructor at Algonquin college teaching ActionScript – but this is my first time at a conference.

I'm not sure I'm naturally a good speaker – that's for others to judge, but I'm not afraid to share what I think, and that has to be half the battle.

The lack of women speaking at conferences directly reflects the community – it's not a very female thing to do – to put yourself out there.


What has your experience been with the Flash community?

In general, I love the Flash community. It's amazing to have such an array of resources available. Learning Flash, people were really good to me, to help me out. I get super frustrated when people abuse those resources.


What do you suppose can account for the lack of female developers?

They are out there. I worked with a really good one. I just don't think they choose to participate openly in the community, for a variety of reasons. For a long time, despite my moniker of BitchWhoCodes, people still made the assumption that I was male. That's a compliment, right?


How do you see Flash progressing in the future?

It's interesting – with the all the new stuff coming our way as Flash developers – its hard to imagine a platform or arena where a flash project couldn't be deployed. I would hope, and imagine, that anything with a screen, Flash could be the UI layer for that. On the other end of the spectrum, it would be cool to see more interactive installations and spatial experiences created using Flash.


Do you have any last words of advice for newcomers and aspiring coders? Can you recommend any good resources?

Hacking existing code is not always bad practice, but at times, a necessary evil to learn. Don't be afraid to ask for help – but make sure you did some research before asking questions – chances are, someone else asked that same question. Learn to love the docs. Visit adobe labs and read the blogs on mxna. Spend each day surfing to see what is going on. Finally, remember that Flash is but a small piece of the puzzle.


Thank you Stacey! Looking forward to seeing you at FITC.

 

Interviewed by Ann-Marie Cheung
Founder, creator and editor
www.FlashGoddess.com
Freelance Creative
www.FGNewMedia.com