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By Gerard Mason
Hi there,
Day one of WebDU 2008 has wrapped up and all in all it was a pretty informative experience. Since the keynote I caught four more sessions - I'll share some details of those here.

Mike Downey gave us another hours worth of exposure to what is going on with the AIR platform. He didn't dig into the development side of things (there was plenty of that later in the day) but rather he filled us in on Adobe's plans for the platform and some of the cool new things that were popping up. He hinted at the possibility of Photoshop Express coming soon as a desktop AIR app - which had me thinking for a second: "wouldn't a desktop version of photoshop just be photoshop". Not sure I have an answer for that myself but I guess it would be a version that would integrate with the online service. That was one of the major facets of AIR that we heard a lot about today - it's ability to detect whether it was online or offline and sync cached data with the server accordingly. So if you were offline, you could still bring up the Photoshop Express AIR app and edit your photos, knowing that next time you went online those photos would be synced with your online photo service. Perhaps? Hopefully.

Stephanie Sullivan gave us a rundown of the built-in CSS templates in Dreamweaver. I've been using CSS for ages and I'm fairly comfortable with it, but Stephanie is something of a boffin (having actually been hired by Adobe to write the built in Dreamweaver CSS templates) so I thought it would be worthwhile. Although she ran out of time by the end, Stephanie gave as a great rundown of standards compliant techniques for creating CSS layouts. Her delivery was entertaining as well which helps when you are explaining the box model and why IE doesn't do it right to a room full of quiet web developers.

Thor Mitchell from Google gave us a run down on the latest goings on with the Javascript Google Maps API. This was a good start because tomorrow we're diving in to the new Flash API for Google Maps so it was quite worthwhile to hear what Thor had to say. He took us through some simple use cases and gradually built up the complexity. It was very cool to see him driving a buggy around on an actual Google Earth map like it was a game level. Amazing.

Lastly Andrew Spaulding took us through some realtime collaborative applications targeting AIR and Flex. Now, I'm no Flex developer so it wasn't all totally familiar to me but he was able to clearly demo the use of xml, remote services and BlazeDS to create a number of data visualisation apps in minutes. Over my head, late in the day but still very impressive!

Someone has mentioned free beer, food and bowling so that is where I'm headed for now. more tomorrow!

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