|You recently wrote an article
about web services in Flash, and you will be speaking
about web services at Flash in the Can. What is
your fascination with web services?
|I have always liked combining Flash
with server side technologies. I think that what
attracts me to it is the challenge of getting
Flash to work with something that's not native
to it. Once you get the two to talk to each other
and have Flash spit out the result, it's very
Web services are especially challenging because
they can be written in so many different languages.
The eternal question of “Will this one
work with Flash?” and the subsequent trying
and prying are what keeps me fascinated by web
|What new features of Flash
MX 2004 do you like the best?
|The support for web services of
|Is this your first time
speaking at a conference? Are you naturally a
good speaker or was it a skill you needed to acquire?
|Yes, this will be my first time
speaking at a conference. The only public speaking
I have done previously were presentations in college
and a recent ActionScript 2.0 primer for a handful
of people. For lack of evidence, I'm not sure
if I'm a naturally good speaker. We will have
to see what happens at Flash
in the Can.
|How do you like your new
job on the Central team?
|I am very excited about my new role,
especially about the AOL API. As you may know,
Macromedia has partnered up with AOL to make AIM
and ICQ available inside of Central.
I am testing these APIs as part of my new job.
People have built some great-looking chat applications
with Flash. But to me, they have always lacked
in usability. One of the main drawbacks of Flash-based
chats is that you don’t know what’s
going on unless you have the chat window focused.
Many of us do lots of other stuff while we’re
chatting. What I really value about “traditional”
chat and instant message programs is that they
can alert you visually when you have received
a new message. When I receive a new IM in Trillian,
for instance, the minimized window blinks at
the bottom of the screen. This sort of cue wasn't
possible with Flash – until now! Since
Central is a host for Desktop applications,
the developer has access to the Central icon
in the Taskbar. She can make it blink and even
display a balloon message when a specific event
takes place in a Central application, even if
that application is currently hidden from view.
I think this feature will be put to good use
in the next generation of Flash-based chats.
|What are you doing to promote
women in technology?
|I try to support the women I know
in the field as much as I can by making them known.
I link to them, mention their work and generally
remind the community of their existence. I especially
make an effort for women who are very technically
minded. I want to expel the stereotype that women
don't use their left brain as much as men do.
I personally am a predominantly logical and mathematical
thinker, and I know I'm not the only female with
Of course the fact that I go the extra mile
to make women heard only highlights the imbalance
present in our society. But somebody has to
do something. I think pointing out women who
are hardcore geeks and successful at it is the
I can't wait till a woman writes a groundbreaking
article on OOP in Flash or a similar topic.
I know it will happen. Just you wait.
|What has your experience
been with the Flash community?
|My experience with the Flash community
has been nothing short of fantastic. Over the
last couple of years I have had numerous email
exchanges with other Flashers, some of which have
led to meetings in person and even friendships.
Ever since I moved to San Francisco, Kristin Henry
and I have been meeting and geeking out on a regular
basis. During a recent trip to Seattle I had dinner
with Jessica Speigel and Aaron Adams from We're
Here. Last December I went to Europe to visit
my family, and while I was there met up with Peter
Hall and Aral
Balkan in London. During that trip I also
attended the ColdFusion User Group meeting in
Düsseldorf where I met Kai
König. Kai and I ended up writing an
article about Flash and ColdFusion web services
together, which just recently appeared in the
German magazine Internet Professionell. And how
could I forget all the fun I have had with my
Flash buddies at conferences such as Flash Forward
not had any bad experiences with people from
the Flash community. Granted our common interest
in Flash makes it easy for the conversation
to flow, but even if you take away Flash, all
of these people are just plain cool.
|Do you have any final thoughts
and what would you like people to take away from
|Keep sharing code, peoples! The
Flash community would never have been the same
if people hadn't shared their code so openly.
Where would each of us be today if it hadn't been
for a more seasoned Flasher's help? The thing
about sharing code is that it definitely helps
the recipient, but more importantly it helps the
originator by feeding his or her reputation. It's
a win-win situation, so I encourage everyone to
keep doing it.
Thank you Vera! Looking forward to seeing you
at the FlashintheCan
More articles by Vera:
Just a bunch of copycats
Day in the Life of a Macromedian
a Handle on Web Services in Flash MX 2004
Building Blocks of a Central Application