It’s been nearly a full year since I last blogged. (Do people still blog? Maybe I should snapchat this instead?) I used to blog a lot, but life became busier, posts became more infrequent, and eventually it stopped being a habit and became a chore.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to say. It’s just that the last few years have been a crazy and exciting ride, and I haven’t had a lot of time to dedicate to writing posts.
Five years ago, Flash as a platform died. For a lot of shops, the migration was gradual. Not for us. Our clients come to us for cutting-edge tech, and almost overnight, Flash didn’t meet their criteria. We went from almost 100% Flash work, to nearly 0% in less than a year.
We were extremely fortunate that we had already started to establish HTML5 competency building tech demos with the Microsoft IE team. Despite that, it wasn’t an easy transition. We re-trained, re-tooled, and scrambled to fill voids left by clients who deferred spending until the tech landscape stabilized. We had a couple of very lean years, but retained our whole amazing team, and emerged stronger and more efficient.
We even continued to grow. We added more devs, and built out a fantastic design group. We now have a hugely talented team of 20, who are a ton of fun to work with. It’s very senior too; on average our staff has been with gskinner for over 5 years. That experience has let us be incredibly reliable. In 11 years we’ve delivered hundreds of projects, without a single failure or even a significantly missed deadline, despite specializing in extremely challenging projects.
We have a roster of smart, savvy clients (yes, I’m sucking up), and get to work on amazing projects. In addition to apps, experiences, and games built on the web platform, we’ve also started building some incredible applications on the Windows stack (Windows, WinPhone, and Xbox).
Our open source efforts have gained a lot of traction. CreateJS has grown to become a preeminent toolset for building rich experiences, with billions of library hits per month, and nearly 50% of all FWA winners using it. Similarly, RegExr v2 has become one of the top resources for learning and testing regular expressions, with over 10,000 users per day.
In addition to gskinner, I’ve personally been working on our gaming offshoot TreeFortress (with its upcoming second title “Jump Jet Rex“), and a new tech startup that’s still hiding out in stealth mode.
So, life is busy! But despite that, I feel like we have a good handle on it all, and it’s time we spent energy on things we’ve been neglecting for far too long. We FINALLY updated our website. It isn’t going to blow your mind, but it’s the first time in a decade I don’t feel a need to make excuses when clients visit it. We’ll keep refining it, and hope to add a new labs area in the not too distant future for all the little experiments we produce internally.
We’re also going to start blogging again. This time, it’s going to be a team effort. With 20 amazing peeps at gskinner, we have a lot of different viewpoints, interests, and skills. It’s time we shared more of them. Stay tuned!
Don’t count yourself short on the mind-blowing. The subtleties on the scrolling were a nice touch, but once I started getting into page navigation I had to view-source. Curse the minification! I don’t suppose you open source your website source, do you? Github maybe?
Thanks James! You always judge your own work the harshest I guess. Anything specific you’d like to see code for, or get an explanation for? It might make for a good blog post. 🙂
I for one have missed the heck out of GSkinner posts. But I get it, that’s for sure. From 2012 to 2014 we experienced the same thing at Oddly – long-time clients at a loss for what to do with Flash no longer meeting their needs. And no clear option in sight with all the browser fragmentation! Everyone had to really hustle. I’m happy to see GSkinner come out of this time with style. And thanks for CreateJS – it’s awesome.
Years ago I got into Flash and Multimedia inspired by you and the other Flash heroes
Glad to read that you are still around and doing well.
Flash might have died but the talented people that made Flash an amazing platform are still here and they are still awesome !
Keep up the good work,
The way you’re handling navigation between pages is the most intriguing to me. I’ve seen so many approaches that get close to what you’re doing, but you seem to have nailed all the key ingredients:
– Animations smooth between pages make it seem like a continuous experience without a page reload
– Navigation bar changes to reflect new position
– Deep linking to a specific page doesn’t waste time loading the initial page, then navigating
– No unnecessary asset loading
I’d love to know your thought processes around that feature and see some examples of how you pulled it off. It’s just so elegantly seamless!