The obligatory 2009 recap post

I dont think I have done an end of the year post ever, but 2009 was definitely eventful enough so here goes:

Goodbye Flash Team:
I began 2009 less than super excited. The Flash team I had worked with for the previous 4 years was disbanded in an internal reorg and I was now UI lead for the newly formed Cross Platform Engineering team. The team was going to be responsible for some of the most elaborate Rich Internet Applications to come out of Comcast Interactive Media such as the Remote DVR Manager as well as sites like the Video On Demand channel on Fancast.com, but all programming was done in JavaScript and HTML and no Flash at all. This move turned out to be one of the best things personally, since I was forced to learn HTML/JavaScript beyond the basics I knew till then as well as work a lot closer with some of the smartest engineers at CIM. As a result, today I can honestly say I know it as well as I know Flash which is something I couldn’t say earlier.

Fancast onDemand Tooltips
Above: The VOD channel on fancast.com uses a lot of JavaScript based interactions like AJAX based tooltips and client side data storage.

My First Patent
This was easily the best thing to happen in 2009. I worked on Comcast’s Fan for 4 years through 4 different versions of the application. And in July, Comcast was awarded a patent on the application and I was one of the 4 people on the author list.

OpenPyro marches on
Work continues on OpenPyro, the Flash framework, and its getting to be pretty cool. The 0.6 release is very close and has a bunch of optimizations like Lists with recycling renderers, a brand new Effects framework, etc. I haven’t talked a lot about OpenPyro in a while but believe me the commits have been going in pretty regularly.

EspressoReader 2.0 cometh
Earlier in the year I released a desktop client for Google Reader called EspressoReader. The application got more popular than I had counted on and unfortunately there were a few bugs that caused a lot of people to not be able to use the application at all. Seeing how many people seemed to like it, I started working on the next version of the application, this one written pretty much from ground up and its coming along pretty nicely. I will start talking about it a lot more in the coming weeks but I have already setup a signup for alpha form at EspressoReader.com.

Moving to User Experience
Finally, towards the end of the year, I formally moved out of Engineering to the User Experience team. The move was fairly drastic for me since I have always been an engineer and am addicted to programming, but the new position was a great opportunity to learn new things as well as build more prototypes. I have always been a fascinated with product development and the new position gets me a lot closer to that.

Anyway, like I said 2009 was definitely eventful and I am really looking forward to 2010, releasing EspressoReader and evolving OpenPyro among other things. Hope you all have a great 2010 as well.

Author: Arpit Mathur

Arpit Mathur is a Principal Software Engineer at Comcast Labs where he is currently working on Virtual and Augmented Reality as well as investigating Blockchains and the decentralized internet.

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