Marco Casario - Life as a Flash Developer
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Here's an abstract:
>> How would you introduce yourself and your job to a non-technical person?
Every time I’ve tried explaining my job to my mother it hasn’t been a success. In the end what she did grasp was that I work with computers. In this answer I’ll try to be as clear as I possibly can in the hopes of a better result.
I was born as a developer, and from the tender age of 12 I began my first steps with Basic trying to create my own video games. Though they weren’t very popular, I continued to work in the fascinating programming world for development’s sake. This was until I met the Amiga 500 BBS and created an elementary terminal program to download new files from my favorite BBS.
In 1996 I began I got bitten by the Internet bug and it was love at first site.
My first approach to HTML development for the web occurred just as Flash Player (version 2) was coming out and becoming increasingly popular. I was fascinated straight away by the potential of creating more rich and effective sites and applications and got straight to work on getting to know more about ActionScript and Flash Player. My knowledge of Adobe’s (formerly Macromedia) technology grew when I became a Macromedia consultant for Italy in 2001, where I toured Italy between events and business meetings to promote the use of Flash, Flash Media Server and Flex.
After over ten years of experience in the field of application development with Flash/Flex/AIR/Flash Media Server, especially in the enterprise context (banking, financial and so on), I created my own company, Comtaste (www.comtaste.com/en), in which I am CTO. Now my role is to supervise Comtaste’s development team, find new clients and projects around the world, and deal with project management and cost estimation models.
I am a professional speaker, participating in major international conferences on Flash Platform, and an author of several books on Flash , Flex and AIR (Flex 4 Cookbook, AIR Cookbook , Professional Flash Catalyst , The Essential Guide to AIR with Flash CS4, Flex Solutions: Essential Techniques for Flex 3 developers).
Today, the actual developing part of the job takes up a marginal portion of my time, but I keep busy with the example applications for books that I write and talks I give during conferences, events and community meetings.
Technology isn’t my only passion. Sport has always been a big part of my life and, although most people don’t know and I tend to hide it, I’m a professional Latin American dancer and an advanced diver.
To unplug and relax from my quite stressful and frenetic job, I like to cook and taste fine wines.
If one day I wanted to change industry I have some shortcuts on standby: I’m a licensed chef in one of the most prestigious International Culinary Schools and a Sommelier with a diploma from the Italian Sommeliers Association, part of the W.S.A, ‘World Sommelier Association’.
>> How did you get started with Flash?
In life it is often a case of a series of paths we go down or casual events that are dictated by a chain of casual coincidences….This definitely doesn’t apply to my relationship with Flash!
I’d say that it was a date with destiny that I had and that I jumped at the first opportunity.
Let me explain.
I’ve been programming from way back when I was given a Commodore 16 for my first communion. I grew up copying lines of code from German books explaining the language.
I’ll never forget the first lines of Basic I learned by heart:
10 INPUT “Insert your name: “, U$
20 PRINT “Hello World, “; U$
30 IF U$ = “Marco” OR U$ = “Alessio” THEN GOTO 50
I won’t bore you too much with my first steps in the IT world, which continue with an Amiga 500, an MSDOS system and then with the first 286, and, in exploring the first “scholastic” programming languages (Pascal, Cubol, and Assembler), I started trying to make something out of my experiences in a more professional context.
This is why, at 17 years old (so we are talking about 1994), I began scouting stores in the area proposing websites after school.
Times were obviously not ripe enough, but then it was enough for me to get one job a month to keep my enthusiasm alive and keep going.
Finally, there was an important meeting at a comic book fair, which led me to my first important project: a web-site for an important, innovative and very popular TV show. This was my first real project and the client, who gave me a free hand (I developed this project with Juri Pratesi, almost a brother to me, with whom I have shared enormous professional and non-professional satisfaction), had given me the only input of creating something truly innovative and that showed “movement”. At the time, between 1997 and 1998, I had already begun eyeing a product called Macromedia Flash. It was at its third version but it was already collecting recognition from the Internet public.
We opted for this technology to create the website. Juri handled the creative and graphical aspects and I was in charge of programming. We had to become experts on the product and the language very quickly. We decided to create catch animations for each section, and a videogame for the loading phase and for a tailor-made section of the website.
It was obviously a huge success, and was constantly publicized on the TV show!
This was my first experience with Flash.
From then on it has been a crescendo. I started working for Media Agency straight away using Flash as well as quite a bit of Director (it was the golden age of CDROMs, which were sold at newspaper stands along with newspapers and magazines) as a free-lance consultant. I had already understood that this approach would have allowed me to collect more experience, to get to know and measure myself with several teams and to travel around Italy:)
Macromedia Italy was born in 2000, and recruited me as a Macromedia Specialist, where my adventure as a speaker for events, conferences and large companies to promote Flash and Director, as well as other Macromedia products, began. In 2001 I began approaching other object programming languages such as Java and Visual Basic and the world of enterprise applications.
In 2005 I created my own company, Comtaste (www.comtaste.com/en) , which has kept a strong link to Flash Platform technologies, and with the development of Enterprise Rich Internet Applications in particular, with Flex, BlazeDS, and Livecycle DS with backend in JEE.
Published at DZone with permission of Marco Casario, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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