I'd like to officially announce my new role in the Flex community; I am now the Editor-in-Chief of Flex Authority magazine. Flex Authority was started last year by House of Fusion and currently is in production for Issue 3.
Back in February 2008, I was helping my friends Tom and John with 360|Flex Atlanta by allowing them to send packages to the Roundbox Global office so that they wouldn't have to pay the insane storage fees at the conference site, which happened to be a couple of miles from our office. Needless to say, the pile of boxes got fairly impressive fairly quickly. Adobe sent posters and t-shirts, there were boxes of "The Cluetrain Manifesto" , and a ton of other stuff.
Then a call came in from Judith Dinowitz requesting assistance transporting some printed materials, fliers for the attendee bag they were having printed in Atlanta to avoid some difficult shipping costs. I believe that is the first time I had heard about Flex Authority. Judith confirmed that it was in the works and that they were going to launch the magazine in the middle of 2008. My reaction was, as with a lot of things that promote the community I work in every day, "What can I do to help?"
And help I did. I was Technical Editor for several articles in the first issue, authored a "10 Questions with..." column with Adam and Dave from the Merapi project , and even took the time to write a couple of filler pieces at the eleventh hour. I was excited about Flex Authority and hopeful for its future.
Flash forward to January 2009. Judith calls me to discuss a change in the magazine management; the position of Editor-in-Chief was open. She said that my name had risen to the top of the list of candidates. She presented me with an opportunity, one that I was sure I'd regret letting pass.
The Editor-in-Chief position at a magazine the size of Flex Authority isn't a high paying gig. In fact, I am not getting paid at all. The position requires a lot of reading and re-reading of articles, balancing grammatical and technical corrections while considering the author's voice, herding cat-like authors, technical editors and copy editors who are balancing full-time jobs (and lives) with a magazine schedule; it's not an easy job. Sure, I'll avoid the stereotypical publishing industry traps like hard drinking, chain smoking and womanizing, but those activities actually sound like rewards compared to these responsibilities.
So, why did I agree to become Editor-in-Chief of Flex Authority?
I believe a healthy Flex community needs a vibrant and exciting print-based magazine, and when the position of Editor-in-Chief became available I decided that this was a good place for me to affect change in the Flex community. I believe we need more Flex and AIR developers in the world, and the ones that exist need the opportunity to grow. We can reach these developers by presenting articles written by Flex developers that will inform and inspire them to learn more. I believe there are many Flex developers out there who have only skimmed the surface of the Flex SDK, and this magazine can present them with a map to areas they have never explored. I believe we need better processes for designing rich Internet applications (RIA) and a way for designers and developers to best utilize tools like Flash Catalyst to make their jobs easier. I believe developers need to understand why user experience design should be damn important to them, their applications and their clients. I believe as the Flex and AIR market grows so will the marketplace, and this magazine will be a great place for them to present their wares. And as the Flash Platform expands and matures, I believe that Flex and AIR developers need to understand the new roadmap laying out in front of them so they can make informed decisions about their client's projects and their careers. I believe all of these things can happen, and Flex Authority magazine will assist in that progress.
From a personal and professional perspective, I see taking this role as an opportunity for growth. Over the years I have been able to offer many things to the Atlanta community, and I believe it is about time that I take steps on a larger stage. Flex Authority was already giving me that opportunity, but as Editor-in-Chief, my editorials will add my own voice to the chorus of the community and allow me to guide a larger audience.
That is where I believe Flex Authority and I are heading, and I hope you will come along. And even consider participating.
I Didn't Get Here On My Own
Before I tell you about our bright future together, let me thank a few people who brought me along this path. This may sound like I am accepting an Oscar. In my way of thinking, being offered this position is an honor, and for every honor one should pause to reflect upon how they got where they are:
Justin Beals - CEO of Roundbox Global. Justin hired me at Roundbox Global five years ago. He is responsible for creating the position of RIA Evangelist and putting me in it.
Troy Viss - CCO of Roundbox Global and my manager. Troy has been every bit of the perfect supportive manager. I owe him so much, but mostly for listening to me rant like a madman about things we already agree about. Those conversations will continue to be priceless to me.
Tom and John - organizers of 360|Flex - Funny, savvy and giving. They've been helpful along the way. And they don't mind too much when their clothes get all hairy from riding in my beat up old car.
Jeffry Houser - former Editor-in-Chief of Flex Authority. His shoes will be hard to fill. I appreciate your professionalism during our transition, and thank you for your advice.
Judith and Michael Dinowitz - Publishers of Flex Authority and Fusion Authority Quarterly Update. Thanks for seeing my potential and for working with me on Flex Authority.
The Past, Present and Future Authors for Flex Authority - You guys are an inspiration to me. Every time I read of your articles I learn something new. Sometimes I learn something about Flex, other times it is something about myself. I am proud to work with you.
I am still learning about the Flex Authority editorial process. Basically, we set a theme and then request submissions for topics on that theme. General topics are always reviewed, as we know that every topic may fit into a theme.
Here is a rundown of what is happening with Flex Authority:
Issue 2: Our Publisher has informed me that Flex Authority Issue 2 has completed two press checks and is now being printed.
Issue 3: We are working very hard to get Issue 3 to the printers in April. As we enter the layout stage of the process we will let you know immediately that we have dates for our PDF and print subscribers.
Issue 4: We are excited to announce the theme for Issue 4: Future Flex. The idea behind this theme is to give our readers a "heads-up" on the progress being made with the Flex SDK, as well as new features of which they should be made aware. With all of the buzz created by the community's dislike of the use of "Fx" in the new SDK, it is obvious that the top 10% of our community are paying attention to this topic. Add to that the community's efforts to reduce defects in the SDK and you have an intersection of interests that makes this theme extremely timely.
Adobe and the Flex community are making great strides in the next version of the Flex SDK. The good news is that since the project is open source, we can start writing about it now. We'd like those of you who are familiar with Adobe's Flex SDK project "Gumbo" to submit topics for Issue 4.
We are looking for articles that have your spin on the following features:
- Setting up Flex Builder 3 to run "Gumbo"
- Intro to Skinning with "Gumbo"
- Intro to States with "Gumbo"
- Intro to Two-way Databinding
- Flash Player 10: Text Layout Framework
... and any other ideas you'd like to pitch.
As always, we'd like to have at least four articles that fit our theme so feel free to suggest your own article topic, as we have plenty of slots to fill for this and future issues. Topics submissions are due immediately and article first drafts are due by March 23.
Issue 5: We have yet to set the theme of Issue 5, but we are lucky to have so many options. Expect to see announcements about Issue 5 in the coming weeks.
Come join in the spirit of Flex Authority. I promise it will be entertaining, and you may learn a few things.
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