A few hours ago Liz Frederick, manager of the Adobe Community Expert program, announced the program name has been changed to Adobe Community Professionals. The history behind the original name and why it has been changed might not be interesting to you, but I'm proud that I was part of the process to help choose a new name. In fact, the entire Adobe Community Experts group was responsible with coming up with candidate program names that were ultimately submitted to Adobe for final approval. I'm quite happy with the new name as I believe it reflects more on what we are tasked to do. Which is...

The Adobe Community Experts Professionals Program is a community based program made up of Adobe customers who share their product expertise with the world-wide Adobe community. The Adobe Community Experts' Professional mission is to provide high caliber peer-to-peer communication educating and improving the product skills of Adobe customers worldwide.

Being an expert in anything is immensely tough to do. In fact, I often argue that there aren't any experts, there are simply people at different stages of understanding and learning. At the moment you consider yourself an expert you're likely to stop working hard, stop investigating, learning, and growing in your field, and ultimately stop being an expert. Being an Adobe Community Professional on the other hand still means you work hard at what you do, you serve as a leader in your online community, and you help others learn and become more skilled by sharing your expertise.

I welcome the switch from expert to professional and am extremely happy to report that my request to stay with the program in 2010 has been accepted. This marks my eighth consecutive year in a program that has gone from Team Macromedia, to Adobe Community Experts, to Adobe Community Professionals. A big "shout out" and thanks to Liz Frederick (Adobe Community Professional Manager), Adam Lehman (ColdFusion Product Manager), Rachel Luxemburg, and the entire ColdFusion team for allowing me to serve the ColdFusion, Flash, and Flex communities yet again.

I also want to send out a hearty welcome to new members of the program! I went through Liz's list and picked out names I a) recognized and b) were new to the program.

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I'm sitting in the Miami International airport with my wife, relaxing a bit after a fantastic RIAdventure cruise and waiting on our flight back to Nashville. I've also started the process of wading through nearly 1,000 e-mails and one in particular jumped out at me, a "welcome back" e-mail regarding the Adobe Community Experts program.

I'm really excited to begin my seventh year in this program (formerly Team Macromedia) and I want to thank Adobe, Rachel Luxemburg, Stacy Sisson, Ted Patrick, John Koch, and John Dowdell for allowing me to continue serving the community. The last six years have been amazing and I firmly believe this year will be no exception!

For more information on the Adobe Community Experts program click here. Or, if you want more info on the Adobe User Group program, click here.


In just a few hours 2008 will come to a close and I'll ring in 2009 with my wife, son, and inlaws. This past year has brought some real challenges into my life many of which were unexpected. Fortunately, most of those challenges were met head on, were turned into opportunities, and then accomplishments. I played a major role in a very large datacenter migration project, one that involved months of planning and careful execution. That project, which migrated several thousand Web sites we host at Dealerskins was one of the most detailed, scary, and involved projects I've ever worked on. In the end it went very smooth. As they say, spend 80% of your time planning and 20% executing. Well, something like that anyhow.

There were several other major projects at work, some that took a matter of weeks and some that took over four months. During one part of the year I was managing over seven simultaneous projects involving four full-time Web developers, one DBA, two SQL Programmers, and one designer. It was super hard and I'm still learning while making a ton of mistakes. Many many thanks to the great folks that work with me at Dealerskins! It's been a pleasure working through the obstacles and challenges (and easy stuff).

Outside the office I was able to work on a few small consulting projects and create two new Web sites. The Nashville ColdFusion User Group site was a reincarnation of our previous site, and my wife and I launched a family blog at aaronandlindy.com. I continued to function as the user group manager for the NCFUG for the third full year.

During the last half of the year I had the pleasure of speaking at the BFlex conference in Bloomington Indiana, I wrote one article for the Fusion Authority Quarterly, and one article for the new magazine Flex Authority. Lastly, I served as an Adobe Community Expert for ColdFusion (Team Macromedia back in the day) for the sixth straight year.

I traveled to nine different cities spanning the east and west coasts of the United States including San Francisco, Cancun Mexico, and Norfolk VA. The year seemed incredibly busy to me but not when I compare it to other friends and developers (some who are both).

When I peer into my crystal ball I see 2009 being much the same as 2008. My travel kick starts again in a few weeks when I head to New Orleans for the NADA conference. Projects at work are more numerous than I've seen in a long time and we have plans to do some really great things for our customers (some of which have launched in the last two weeks).

On a personal front I plan to blog more, continue writing for magazines, and I hope to speak at more conferences next year. I also want to launch a new personal Web site, one that will replace trajiklyhip.com and trajiklyhip.com/blog. It's shaping up to be a fun and busy year.

To everyone who reads this I wish you and your family all the happiness and success you can stand. Happy New Year!!!


Adobe MAX 2008 is likely to be bigger and better than ever this year; it sold out last year! Registration for this years MAX, taking place in San Francisco November 16-19, is now open. Here's the blurb on the registration home page (link below):

Adobe MAX 2008 will bring together forward-thinking designers, developers, and decision-makers interested in shaping the future of engaging experiences.

Attend MAX to gain a competitive edge through intensive skills development and unique networking opportunities. Discover the tools and training you need to create compelling engaging experiences across multiple media, including web, video, and devices.

Over 200 sessions and 50 labs
Regardless of your place in the greater Adobe ecosystem, MAX 2008 offers an unrivaled opportunity to broaden your expertise and hatch new ideas. Choose from over 200 sessions and 50 labs held in three tracks: Envision, Design, and Develop. Industry leaders and Adobe experts will offer everything from highly technical skills development to insightful discussions on our industry's future.



Day three of the Adobe Community Summit was the second day of talks by various folks at Adobe. The day was jam packed with more content and information than presented the previous day. Read on for more...

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This years Summit special event was held at South First Billiards, a rather large pool hall. They must've had 20+ pool tables. For the first hour and a half or so I played pool with Martin Dombroski, Bernie Dolan, and Christine Harold. I used my Flip video camera and shot two short videos of Bernie and I breaking. Check 'em out.

Me opening the game with a decent break.

Bernie Dolan opening the game with a decent break.


The first official day of the Adobe Community Summit was packed full of interesting talks from several key product players. This years summit is my third and every year it seems to get a bit better. The time spent with Adobe folks is invaluable and the information shared allows members of the Adobe community (Adobe Community Experts, User Group Managers, and Adobe Champions) to prepare for the future in ways not quite possible in the past.

The first person on the podium was Michele Turner, manager of the Adobe Technology Platform. She gave the keynote address discussing Adobe's general technology strategy. She also covered an overview of Adobe's 2 year technology roadmap. There are certainly some exciting things coming in the future.

Following Michele, was Scott Fegette, a long time Dreamweaver user, and video/audio production god. Scott talked about what we're likely to see in the next version of Dreamweaver. His talk was very well received as he is a dynamic speaker and always a crowd favorite.

Mike Chambers, another crowd favorite, took the stage next to walk through the current happenings with Adobe AIR. Most of what he covered is already public knowledge and just a recap what has occurred over the last 3 months since the launch of Flex 3 and AIR 1.0. He did share a few new tidbits indicating AIR has a bright future ahead.

After Mike's talk we broke for lunch. During lunch I had some great discussions with Peter Bell, Bernie Dolan, and David Harris on all things ColdFusion. Peter has walked through the fire of what is application generation and has an unbelievable amount of experience in this area. When he talks, I listen.

Kicking things off after lunch, Doug Winnie discussed how Adobe really has a strategy for reaching both the designer and developer and the workflows that integrate the two.

Next up was Steve Heintz who talked about Flex, both today and in the future. I couldn't remember if I had heard Steve speak before but he did a really nice job talking (conceptually) on what Adobe plans to do with Flex in the future.

One of the most impressive presentations was by Jen Taylor and Doug Benson who showed off some of the new features in the next version of the Flash Authoring tool. There were several jaw-dropping moments that caused me to "double-take" to be sure I wasn't seeing things. About all I can say, is Adobe has been busy on the Flash Authoring tool!

After we all wiped off the drool, Steve Heintz joined us again to talk about Thermo. Thermo's been a seemingly super secret tool with very little information about it shared with the community. That didn't change much with Steve's presentation, but he did give the impression Thermo has a clear focus and purpose which. It will be interesting to see how the community takes to Thermo as more information is shared in the future. I'm hoping this years MAX conference will bring more news on Thermo.


Most everyone should know by now Ed Sullivan is moving into a new role within Developer Relations at Adobe and he'll no longer be responsible for managing the user group program. There's no real replacement for someone like Ed, but Rachel Luxemburg will be taking on the task.

To show appreciation for Ed's influence and leadership in the program for so many years, Bob Flynn and the Indianna University Multimedia User Group, and other user group managers, recorded a video where they try to determine the perfect parting gift for Ed. I recorded the video presentation with my Flip camera and have made the the video available below in four parts. The last video is the presentation of some special gifts the user group managers bought for Ed.

Ed Sullivan Farewell Video - Part 1

Ed Sullivan Farewell Video - Part 2

Ed Sullivan Farewell Video - Part 3

Ed Sullivan Farewell Video - Part 4

Ed Sullivan Farewell Gifts Video


Yesterday began rather early with a quick trip to the Nashville airport. After roughly 6 hours in the air (Nashville - LAX - SJC) I landed in San Jose and grabbed a cab to the San Jose Fairmont, a really nice hotel in the downtown area.

Walking into the lobby of the hotel I was greeted by several smiling faces, Dee Sadler, Jim Pickering, David Schmidt, Buck Sommerkamp, and more. After a dropping my bags off in the room and catching up with folks we headed to Cupertino to visit Apple's infamous headquarters. While there we perused the on campus Apple Store, bought swag, and took a photo or two (in Flickr stream below) next to the "1 Infinite Loop" sign. I picked up a few Apple branded goodies including a pen, mouse pad, shirts for the fam, and a coffee mug (I love cool mugs).

Back at the Fairmont everyone gathered in lobby and chatted. Adobe Community Experts and user group managers were arriving one by one with each arrival marked with loud "Heys!" and hugs. While talking with Dee Sadler I described the Adobe Community Summit as the summer camp for adults. Most everyone knows everyone else through the different Internet channels we communicate through every day. Events like the summit work to solidify friendships because we spend an insane amount of time with one another at Adobe HQ, off campus events, hotel lobby chat sessions, and lunches and dinners through downtown San Jose.

Shortly before 6:00pm we headed over to Adobe's offices 4 blocks away. All the experts, user group managers, and several Adobe employees including Ed Sullivan, Stacy Sisson (the new Adobe Community Experts manager), Rachel Luxemburg (the new Adobe user group manager in Developer Relations), Jonathan Wall (Ed and Rachel's boss), and Mike Chambers, occupied the patio area just outside of Adobe's huge cafeteria. Adobe served beer (they ran out again this year) and appetizers to help everyone unwind and visit with friends. I don't know the exact numbers but I heard a report that over 150 managers and experts are in attendance this year. That's at least 50-60 more than last year marking an attendance high since the summit started in 2006.

After mixing and mingling with old (and new) friends we had two breakout sessions. One for the managers and one for the experts. Each grouped discussed their program, what was working and what wasn't and how as members of each respective group we can help the Adobe community grow further. It was a great first day.

I haven't taken many pictures yet, but they'll all be loaded to the Flickr photo stream below if you want to check them out as the week progresses.

Flickr photo stream


MAX 2007 registration has been open for several days now. If you are planning on attending MAX (highly recommended) and you register for MAX through my Web site (click the link below) I would appreciate your mentioning my name during the registration process.

On step 3 there is a box that says: "Check here if you are a member of a community or user group." Checking that box will pop-up a text box that prompts you to enter the name of the community leader or user group manager's name. Enter my first and last name "Aaron West" so that I can be credited with your registration. If you do this, I would also appreciate you letting me know by commenting this blog entry or sending me an e-mail (trajik210 at Google mail).

Click here to register:


It's been nothing short of a stellar week. So many kudos need to be given to all the folks that made this week possible. Ed Sullivan and Christine Lawson for their tireless efforts running the user group and Adobe Community Expert programs (and Ed for spearheading this entire event - I can't express the gratitude), James Talbot, for teaching two absolutely amazing days on Flex, Rob Rusher for helping out as a teaching assistant and Kevin Lynch, Ben Forta, Scott Fegette, Mike Chambers and all the other speakers, and all the UGM's and Adobe Community Experts for participating and making the socializing an event to remember.

I'm now packing up in the hotel at The Fairmont preparing for a few hours of sleep before a 6:30am flight back to Nash-vegas. I'm ultra-exhausted, so I'm going to wait until tomorrow to post a longer follow-up on the week. I hope all those that attended have safe travel back home and I can't wait to see you all again soon.


I'm sitting in the airport in Nashville waiting to depart for San Jose, CA to attend the Adobe Community Summit. The summit is a get-together between Adobe User Group Managers, Adobe Community Experts, and Adobe employees (mostly from Developer Relations). The two day event should be a lot of fun and very informative at the same time. I'm arriving a day early and staying a day late in order to participate in 2 full days of hands-on Flex training.

I've been doing a little bit of work with Flex 2 using the SDK on my Mac and compiling applications locally. I've been playing around with the sample Flex 2 applications and if I get a chance I will compile them and put them up here so people can see how they work. So, needless to say I'm excited to get the chance to dive into Flex more and get some official training from the hands that created the product.

As the week progresses, I'll report on the trip and disseminate any information I can.


There have been many changes recently as a result of Adobe acquiring Macromedia. The macromedia.com Web site is no more and the Adobe site has been completely redone. The Web forums have been moved as well as other community resources like the Team Macromedia (now Adobe Community Experts). With all this change you are bound to have an opinion on what's working and what isn't. Well, you can submit your praises, gripes, complaints, sentiments (and more) via the following Adobe Feedback Form.


I have finally confirmed that I will be attending CFUnited this year in Washington, D.C. I've booked my flight and hotel and will be finalizing the rest tomorrow. The night before CFUnited starts I will be speaking at MiniMAX as well. I have yet to decide on a presentation topic or a product demo, so we'll see. It's been a few months since I've traveled and with the conference kicking off in just a few weeks I'm getting pretty excited. I hope to see many of you D.C., as well as get the opportunity to meet some of you for the first time. If you're a user group manager or an Adobe Community Expert, I'll be participating in those events and can't wait to see you folks again!


Finally, after waiting a few months the Adobe swag for the Nashville ColdFusion User's Group has arrived. You can see from the pic that some new goodies arrived this time, all Adobe branded. Included the package are water bottles, hats, shirts, monitor mirrors, pens, bracelets, USB fans and some cool travel chargers for cell phones that connect to your computer with just about any supported attachments (provided).

Adobe User Group Swag 2006

I'd like to thank all the peeps at Adobe that manage the community programs, including Ed Sullivan, Sara Spalding, Christine Lawson, and Gabriela Barragan. The Adobe (and previous Macromedia) communities would be nothing without the undying efforts of these individuals. Thanks guys!!