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Microsoft Programming The Internet IT Technology

Flash, Meet Sparkle 493

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the anything-you-can-do dept.
Robert writes "Microsoft finally released more information about their Sparkle product on a Channel 9 MSDN video. Sparkle is vector based XAML system for doing applications that may have traditionaly been done in flash. Ars Technica's Josh Meier has a few things to say about it, too."
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Flash, Meet Sparkle

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:15PM (#13572854)
    Can you see I am serious!

    Get out of my way, all of you!

    This is no place for loafers.

    Join me or die.

    Can you do any less?

    For lucky best wash, use Mr. Sparkle.
  • Oh, great. (Score:5, Funny)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudsonNO@SPAMbarbara-hudson.com> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:16PM (#13572859) Journal
    Now I'm gonna need SparkleBlock as well as FlashBlock. More browser plugin bloat.
    • Re:Oh, great. (Score:2, Interesting)

      Agreed. I'm Ok with flash when it's used for animation, but the advertising side "benefits" like shoskeles should cause some people's karma to reach out and strangle them.

      Using a marginally beneficial technology for evil should mark you for death.
      • Re:Oh, great. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudsonNO@SPAMbarbara-hudson.com> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:25PM (#13572916) Journal
        It gets worse:
        Designers tend to get a bit out of hand and design things that are next to impossible to implement with current development platforms. Sparkle allows a designer to design the actual application by giving them direct access to the same objects the developers work with. The designer has complete control of the appearance and behavior of the controls without writing a single piece of code.
        Riiiight ... the same morons who make impractical designs in the first place and don't know shit about coding, design, etc., are going to have even more fun foisting their crap on us. Fuck, why doesn't someone just declare Microsoft a terrorist organisation and be done with it?
        • ... about designing a quality, usable GUI. That's most likely because, like programming, designing a good GUI takes a lot of skill, experience and effort. So this may actually be quite beneficial, as it lets everyone specialize. Programmers write the complex algorithms necessary to power these applications, while the GUI designers can manipulate and form the GUI without needing much effort on behalf of the programmers. Everyone is more efficient this way.

          • I really hate that term "GUI designer." GUI designers are no better at listening to end users than coders are.

            The best way to get a decent gui design is to force the coders to talk to the end users. Have the coders develop their skills at shutting their pie-holes and listening to the people who are the most pissed off with what they're using currently.

            Replacing that process with "gui designers" is a pure waste of time. A "gui designer" is no more likely to have better listening or people skills than any

            • You fail to grasp the concept of specialization. The only way for a firm to become truly effective is for individuals to focus on one task, and to do that one task extremely well. You know, like UNIX. A bunch of small, specialized tools (or individuals) are very powerful. They get the job done.

              That is why there are developers who develop the code, GUI designers who develop the GUIs, intermediaries between the GUI designers and the coders, and analysts between all of them and the clients.

              A properly functioni
              • The weaknesses in your arguments are:

                1. Programmers in general are not like workers on an assembly line. Doing the same over and over - specialisation - will bore most of us out of our minds. This will cause morale to plummet.

                2. A company where a GUI programmer can only do that one thing, will have problems when they need him to do something else. In the current world we can't count on being able to just produce the same thing for years.

                No, specialisation is for narrow minds.
    • Re:Oh, great. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CyricZ (887944) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:23PM (#13572903)
      But will browsers such as Firefox even support this technology? I mean, there's no need to block it if the browser itself just plain doesn't support it.

      • Re:Oh, great. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by tomhudson (43916)
        As I point out in another post http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=162 408&cid=13572916 [slashdot.org], its worse than that.

        Sparkle is designed to appeal to the same idiots who think power-point presentations are the best tool for presenting an argument (they're also easily swayed by shiny bright objects, if you catch my drift).

        "Look people, you too can program." Even though they can't. This will let them pretend. Of course, it also will provide Microsoft with another revenue streem, for MCSE - Microsoft

        • Let them pretend they can program. Chances are what they're working on will have very little impact on the real world. They won't be designing optimizing FORTRAN compilers with this technology. So those of us who do actual programming have nothing to fear. Of course, maybe there's a smaller market for us if we choose to make shitty, embedded Web games. But then again, real developers such as ourselves shouldn't be interested in such shenaniganery.

          • We'll be affected because this same "shiny new thing" will be THE preferred vector for trojans for Vista. Even if you're not running Vista, you're going to be affected by the fallout (more zombie boxes pumping spam, for example).

            Oh, well - time to invest in anti-spam and anti-virus software companies.

            • by CyricZ (887944) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:46PM (#13573039)
              No offense, sir, but you seem quite convinced that this will become a major security flaw in Windows Vista.

              Does your opinion have any technical merit? Have you inspected the source code to the implementation of this technology? Can you provide clear examples of malicious uses?

              Or is your opinion based solely upon the past actions of Microsoft, with regards to similar technology?

              • by Lehk228 (705449) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:55PM (#13573082) Journal
                historical performance is a reasonable basis for prediction.
                • But historical performance is in no way equivalent to an actual technical analysis (which most likely has not been performed in this case). Like it or not, Microsoft has started to take security very seriously. Their new products are built far better than their previous ones, most likely due to high-quality open-source implementations. Such historical considerations may not be very valid these days.

                  • Like it or not, Microsoft has started to take security very seriously. Their new products are built far better than their previous ones

                    No, Microsoft does not take security any more seriously than in the past. They have to be kicked and dragged into continuing to provide security fixes for NT, claiming "sorry, its 5 years old - we don't support it any more". Would you take that from any other manufacturer of any other product? Like, say, your car? Or your fridge? Or your toilet?

                    Microsoft pays lip service

                    • You know, Microsoft definitely deserves it's share of criticism, but when people are idiots about it then it just rubs me the wrong way:

                      They have to be kicked and dragged into continuing to provide security fixes for NT, claiming "sorry, its 5 years old - we don't support it any more".

                      I challenge you to find any OS manufacturer that doesn't end of life their products after 9 years (NT 4.0 was released in 1996). Would you still support a 1996 version of Linux? How about OS/2? Maybe MacOS? Stop being a re
                    • Fact is, IE7 is going to be far more standards compliant,

                      Fact is that version 2.0 of Firefox will perform and in-depth psychological analysis of the designer of the web site based on the site to figure out what he meant to do, so it can always render it correctly. It will also detect the evil bits to prevent all possible trojans, viruses, spam popups and other malware from working. Linux kernel 3.0 will also use this technology to prevent any program from crashing or misbehaving, ever, however it will b

                    • Last time I checked, people were still backporting fixes into 2.2.x branches...

                      Besides, each new Linux kernel is free, which means upgrading is much more painless financially. In the Microsoft world, "it's too old/we don't support it" really means "you have to pay us another license fee to get your security patches! ".

                      And if you're running a super-old kernel, you have all the old source and new patches available and you can backport the fixes yourself. Try THAT with Windows...

                      The point: you're comparing
                    • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:53AM (#13574131) Journal
                      Software does not double in power every 18 months. Hardware is no longer doubling in power every 18 months either - clock speed hasn't been increasing, and the rate of integration is not increasing like it once was. Also, computers are remaining useful for longer - and Microsoft will have to deal with this. In 1995, a new PC was so vastly more useful than a PC made in 1990 in every respect. However, today, a 700MHz P3 made in 1999 is still a very useful computer for the typical things most users do (surf the web, write letters, email - that kind of thing).

                      Microsoft are going to have to get used to the fact that people will start routinely keeping computers as long as they do cars - for ten years or more. So are the hardware manufacturers, for that matter. Even though I personally like having the latest, fastest new hardware - normally upgrading every 2 years, this time around, I feel absolutely no need to upgrade and probably won't for at least the next couple of years.
                • by NanoGator (522640) on Friday September 16, 2005 @12:37AM (#13573266) Homepage Journal
                  "historical performance is a reasonable basis for prediction."

                  Ah, this is an interesting rule. Well, in that case, I'd like to point out that next year will not be the year for Linux on the desktop.
              • It's going to have to have access to the local filesystem (it's not just a web thing - its for scripting/describing the user interface) to read any local xaml files. It'll also have access to the registry to be able to do such things as save screen positions/layout, etc.

                Now, do you really want anyone to be able to read and write to your fs through an x(a)ml file? So, if it can do that, and since it is designed to "script" the native UI, what is to keep someone from cloning critical parts of the Vista interface, and fooling you into entering, say, your user name and password into their app? Or tricking you into installing other malware? Or getting you to agree to deleting your root partition when you think you're clicking on "save"?

                Like I said, it opens up new Vistas, literally.

        • by MBraynard (653724)
          That's pretty appealing. If I get certified as a sparkle engineer, am I qualified to apply the glitter to Shakira's bare mid-rift before live performances?
      • Come on people, this is MS's attempt to get everyone back to IE, can't you see that? Of course this will only work in IE 7.
    • by red_dragon (1761) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:27PM (#13572933) Homepage

      You know, I'm beginning to doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion.

    • Re:Oh, great. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jmv (93421)
      Nah, running Linux is the best way to avoid Sparkle. With a bit of luck, MS will prevent you from disabling it while (of course) not releasing it for Linux, so switching to Linux will be the only way to avoid some spam/malware!
    • Re:Oh, great. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chabotc (22496)
      Oh i'm not worried, MS will never release "Sparkle" for Linux, and probably never for FireFox either! Think it'll be years and years before i see a sparkle movie :-)
  • .. will this expose Windows users to? Will it be as problematic as ActiveX has been, for instance?

  • XAML? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ggvaidya (747058) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:18PM (#13572875) Homepage Journal
    XAML [wikipedia.org].

    "the user interface markup language for Windows Vista, the next version of Microsoft Windows." ... "XAML is a declarative XML-based language optimized for describing graphically rich visual user interfaces, such as those created by Macromedia Flash" ... "This Microsoft Windows article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it."
    • Re:XAML? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iluvcapra (782887) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:47PM (#13573040)

      If it's based on XML, it had better specify a compression standard. Declarative prgramming a graphical object can make for some absolutely huge files.

      On OS X, there was this program floating around on Versiontracker [versiontracker.com] that would convert any picture into an html document by converting each pixel into a table-cell that was styled 1px by 1px and colored. This prevened easy downloading of the image, but caused what might have been a 100k image to take up 4 megs in an html file.

      Of course, XAML is vector-based, but knowing the kinds of schemas [microsoft.com] MS likes to promulgate, the possiblity of bandwidth-chewing "rich web content" is quite real.

      • Re:XAML? (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        On OS X, there was this program floating around on Versiontracker that would convert any picture into an html document by converting each pixel into a table-cell that was styled 1px by 1px and colored. This prevened easy downloading of the image, but caused what might have been a 100k image to take up 4 megs in an html file.

        Morons. Haven't they ever heard of run-length encoding? Compress those images ... with colspan=!
      • Re:XAML? (Score:2, Informative)

        XAML is compiled into BAML, so this sort of scenario should never bite deployment scenarios. Rob Relyea, a Program Manager on Avalon (oops, WPF) has much more on his blog [longhornblogs.com].
    • Re:XAML? (Score:5, Funny)

      by killjoe (766577) on Friday September 16, 2005 @12:08AM (#13573146)
      "XAML" Microsoft for "XUL".

      Instead of taking an open spec like XUl and joining it, bettering it, and implementing it they chose to go their own way. Nothing to see here, runalong now and leave the evil people to their own devices.
    • Re:XAML? (Score:3, Interesting)

      For those interested in seeing a demo of this impressive family of products click here [microsoft.com]. The link on the article seemed to be /.ed.

      In any case, I don't think this is a "flash killer."

      There will always be designers who prefer what they grew up on or somehow prefer what Macromedia has to offer. That doesn't mean, however, that this future product of M$ isn't pretty useful and a bit impressive.

      Nevertheless, they had to go and do something similar to what they've done with Vista [slashdot.org] and hopefully won't do with
    • Re:XAML? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gmuslera (3436)
      So again Microsoft is blending the "safe" desktop with the wild internet?

      I remember when was a practical joke saying that reading a mail could hurt your computer, remember when there was no way to affect your computer just watching web pages, when all the efforts around java was to separate as much as possible what is from internet from what is the viewer's computer. And of course, Microsoft gived us Outlook, Internet Explorer, and ActiveX to change those obsolete ideas with really trivial examples.

      I re

  • Flash competitor... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmcmunn (307798) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:19PM (#13572879)

    Does this mean that we are going to see a huge rise in crappy Sparkle menus and animations on every web site?

    Or maybe some sweet pop-over Sparkle ads? Microsoft just created their next enemy. Will the IE popup blocker block Sparkle ads? Or will that be a selling point?

    The best thing that can possibly come of this is new games. That's the one thing I still enjoy about Flash on occasion.
  • by MiKM (752717) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:19PM (#13572882)
    Mr. Sparkle: A joint venture of Matsumura Fishworks and Tamaribuchi Heavy Manufacturing Concern
    • by The Hobo (783784) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:32PM (#13572951)
      Mr. Sparkle: [uwaterloo.ca] Can you see I am serious?

      Firefox Users: If the WMV doesn't work, try going tools, options, downloads, and on the bottom right click plugins, uncheck wmv, and if you don't want pdfs opening in firefox (meaning download first THEN open, I prefer this method, always faster and more stable) then uncheck pdf and anything else you don't want opening in firefox
  • Isn't this known as WPF now? I was just on channel 9 earlier today and they bleeped out "sparkle" like it was a swear word.
    • they bleeped out "sparkle" like it was a swear word.

      Well now, I suppose there isn't any point in the bleeping, if you can tell what the word is... I mean, generally I imagine that they did bleep out a swearword.

      This could be the inkblot test for the next generation!

      Tape plays: "Hey, *beeeeeep*"

      What did you hear behind the beep?

      a) "biatch" - You need help.

      b) "stop censoring me!" - Your sense of humor is overdeveloped, and you need help.

      c) "I love my mum!" - You're fine.

    • No, Avalon is the user interface API now known as Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Sparkle is a tool designer that lets you create user interfaces that output to xml files that the user interface can display, known as XAML files. Sparkle will let you create 2d & 3d visuals and export them to XAML files.
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:20PM (#13572887)
    Are there any plans to include support for this technology into Mozilla, Konqueror, Opera, Safari, etc.?

    • If it goes to the point that Flash has, intrusive advertising, I'd be quite happy if Microsoft kept it proprietary. Then the rest of us could safely ignore it, and there would be a further benefit to using Firefox.
    • Oh please, SVG has taken the Open Source world ages to get rolling on, and it is still in very small support, now a competing standard from Microsoft comes along and the Open Source Community and Apple are supposed to just jump on the bandwagon? Please.

      If anything, once SVG gets mainstreamed in Firefox, Safari and Opera (I'm pretty sure Konq already has it), it will completely undermine Windows developers from using XAML.
      • Firefox 1.4 (The Deer Park Beta) supports svg.

        Although it seems that you can't use an outside svg document as an image source.

        It also supports a direct drawing interface in the &ltcanvas> tag.

        See my sig for a little demo I came up with. (If you have Deer Park.)
        • As an expert on such matters, have you considered writing an SVG versus Sparkle comparison? I think it would be quite a handy reference to have. You know, show the benefits and problems associated with each. Give examples of how to perform common tasks. You get the idea, I'm sure.

  • Revolt (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maelstrom (638) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:21PM (#13572891) Homepage Journal
    When are the application makers going to start realizing that anything they develop on Microsoft's platform is eventually going to be copied and forced into the collective? Seriously, is there any piece of software running on Windows that Microsoft isn't in the process of making thier own version of?

  • by Frogbert (589961) <frogbert@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:24PM (#13572908)
    Product Demonstration here [actionfig.com]
  • Not flash killer. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steelfood (895457) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:26PM (#13572920)
    Yet, here it is, with a name that sounds exactly like it's directly competing with Flash. Along those lines, why Sparkle? Flash sounds cool, but Sparkle sounds...girly.

    Otherwise, the concept actually sounds really cool, like the visual component of Visual Studio on steroids. Replacing the windowing interface with purely vector graphics sounds promising, though it also sounds a little too abuseable. Still, this might herald the beginning of an actually innovative M$, seeing that they now have Google and FOSS knocking on its doors.

    I wonder if it'll make use of the GPU to do the rendering.
  • Long Road (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:27PM (#13572927) Homepage
    If "Sparkle" isn't significantly more attractive as a creative tool than Flash, there really will not be any advantage for web developers and advertisers alike to use it. It just means another plug-in that people may or may not have, and advertisers and web developers can't aford this risk, given that IIS is not the dominant web server, and not everyone has IE. It's not going to be an easy road for MS.
    • Read the article, or watch the video where several guys talk about it and demo it. I must say, I'm impressed; it easily blows away Flash.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:28PM (#13572935)
    A lot of people have tried to label Sparkle as a Flash killer but it is not. Sparkle is a new way to deal with winforms that allows custom UI design without coders running into the traditional limitations of development platforms. Think of it as a flash front-end to a full Win32 API and data-access. The fear I have is that Windows programs have always had a "consistant" look at feel. However, programs like Winamp back in the day changed the rules. These days more and more applications are starting to forego Microsoft UI guidelines for their own 3l33t designs which can be a pain to learn and a pain to script to. I hope it doesn't happen here but I would certainly, for example, expect a lot of Apple OSX-look knock off apps showing up once Sparkle gets out there.

    Anyway, check out the picture gallery [ranaventures.com] if you can't RTFA.
    • Indeed, the lack of a unified interface under Windows will surely be confusing to non-technical users. While such a situation already exists to some degree under Mac OS X and especially X11, it hasn't really been an issue until fairly recently under Windows.

      But perhaps that's not necessarily a bad thing. If Windows users become used to the lack of a unified GUI look and feel, then it is quite possible that they'll be better able to adapt to Linux if they so choose to switch.

    • by BitwizeGHC (145393) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:45PM (#13573035) Homepage
      "programs like winamp"?

      How about "programs like MS Office" which since God knows when has come with its own separate widgetset? You see, those UI guidelines, those are for *other* programmers to follow.
    • Think of it as a flash front-end to a full Win32 API and data-access
      Sparkle says "Where did we send your data to today? Wouldn't you like to know? Bwhahaha!"

      So, Sparkle is a Windows Vista virus/trojan toolkit for non-programmers. The PHBs should love it, as it will make outsourcing all those P3N15/V14GR4 ads to India *so* much more profitable.

  • There seems to be a clamor for Flash-like functionality but without Macromedia's proprietary player and tools.

    SVG is one alternative that a lot of people seem to like. Scalable Vector Graphics. Supposedly, Firefox/Mozilla will support it soon. Sounds like a great thing.

    Then why doesn't Microsoft's Sparkle sound like a great thing too? The language is written in XML (this statement doesn't compute, but works), so it's not like you couldn't program your little game in something like vi or Notepad. Is it
    • by Lehk228 (705449) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:59PM (#13573106) Journal
      <sparkle value="AfdsdfT$#^fY$36RGRD^YT$YSdrg457jfcknvgdrkjt h4ete4j5e4ltudvg,mxcge84509345739 4354eit4e5098475ueougt398 45857e4otu45tu98et7eojt9d8gcxvgdrt34e6#$^$%Y&&45" />

        is still technically XML
      • by forkazoo (138186)
        I think you may need to add something like <?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?> at the start, but yeah, that sounds a lot like what they did with MS Office.
    • SVG will be standard in Firefox 1.5 & you can already download either the 1.5 beta or special 1.0 builds with it built in.

      I don't know anything about Sparkle. MS has previously demonstrated that XML != Open, though. Their Office XML format is locked up by patents & there is no need to store only human-readable text in XML. Unless I'm mistaken (wouldn't be the first time), the Office XML format does have tags which specify encoded content & vi & Notepad wouldn't help you with that.

      If they
  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:35PM (#13572975) Homepage Journal
    Remember there's an open source Flash player, called GplFlash [sourceforge.net],. It appeared a few months ago in another slashdot article [slashdot.org]. However, it's only available via CVS (yet).
  • by Nikkos (544004) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:36PM (#13572979) Homepage
    Flash, Sparkle, what's next, Twinkle? [twinkleglitter.com]
  • Sparkle (Score:2, Funny)

    by psydad (12743)
    I remember in the late '80s / early '90s. I used to get my pr0n (600 baud - thank you)The executable would always say "waiting for sparkle". I do remember that the quality of the video (remember folks this was 286 territory) was very good. Actual video, not pixelated bitmaps.
    I wonder...
  • by Jotham (89116) on Friday September 16, 2005 @12:07AM (#13573144)
    And then you can use this tool to convert the web based C#/XAML app back to Flash. http://www.xamlon.com/ [xamlon.com]

    Hopefully Macrobe will take this as a challenge and drop in some 3d support and copy a few other features into their next version.

    Main differences here is Flash is focused on the web - while you can output an .exe it has its limitations (disk access, etc -- which requires workarounds like embedding it inside another layer (ie. C# app) and passing messages back and forth).

    Sparkle is for Desktop apps - and you can output for the web (but will limit your potential audience)
  • WTFV (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr_gerbik (122036) on Friday September 16, 2005 @12:09AM (#13573159)
    Watch the fscking video.

    You kids all want to bash on a new Microsoft product without having any idea what it is, what it can do, who it is for, etc.

    Sparkle != Flash

    Completely built on top of .NET for Avalon, Sparkle is a (even more than a) UI development tool for creating vector based interfaces. The beautiful thing is, everything you create is just a .NET object that can be manipulated by the developer.

    What does this mean?

    It means an artist can use an artist's toolset to create a beautiful fully functional front end, then pass it off to the developer to do the backend. No more mockups that can't be translated into a real application front end.
    • Firstly: Direct download. "Cool!" Says I, preferring to download my videos so I can watch them repeatedly and without skipping... "Holy mother of all things sacred! 917Meg! WTF! I thought MS was all hoity toity about their video compression in series 9 WMV"

      Secondly: "OK, I'll stream it"... nope, windows media player encountered an error... "Geeeze"!
    • Re:WTFV (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Coryoth (254751) on Friday September 16, 2005 @01:37AM (#13573495) Homepage Journal
      It means an artist can use an artist's toolset to create a beautiful fully functional front end, then pass it off to the developer to do the backend. No more mockups that can't be translated into a real application front end.

      That's right folks, no more of that annoying consistency between GUI applications, now anything that the guy down in marketing can draw is a workable GUI - just think of the possibilities. Microsoft is not a believer in consistent elegant or intuitive GUIs, Micorosoft is all about empowering developers, and graphic designers, and wackjobs with no aesthetic sense. You too can finally design and implement that stunning piece of GUI genius you always imagined.

      Have you ever noticed how everybody is a GUI design expert and always know better than everyone else how a GUI should look and function? Well maybe we'll finally find out what the world would be like if all those self taught HCI geniuses could simply create whatever they could draw. I'm sure it will be wonderful.

      (I can see that the Sparkle concept is both quite interesting and has some potential for good application, I just don't think having random arrogant artists all designing their own GUIs is one of those good applications Sparkle.)

      Jedidiah.
    • Re:WTFV (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hritcu (871613)
      Macromedia would never never try to push .NET and Vista, so you are right: Sparkle != Flash. On the other hand you fail to explain where exactly is the conceptual difference. Flash is very frequently used for vectorial interfaces and dynamic applications, whether they run in a browser or not. Is being locked on Windows so cool?
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Friday September 16, 2005 @12:16AM (#13573178) Homepage Journal
    Seriously folks, let's hope the world's web developers steer clear of this. Flash is cross-platform and it's one of the key tools that make the non-Microsoft desktop useful. I know, I know, as a techie you probably hate all those "punch the monkey!" ads, but think of that Linux box you may have set up for your Mom or something. Would she be happy with it if she couldn't play all of those silly cartoons that your aunt emailed to her? These things seem trite to us, but normal users demand them.

    XAML is a Windows-only technology, designed to make the Web one step more proprietary to Microsoft. Don't let them do it. Keep the web based on cross-platform tools. Steer cleer of XAML.
  • If you want to build web applications that have a rich user experience, check out OpenLaszlo [openlaszlo.org]. It's based on Flash (which is ubiquitous) and it's open source.

  • What?! No more Flash-based Microsoft Ads?

    I mean I so enjoy seeing Microsoft advertise their development tools using Flash based ads on Slashdot!
    It just makes me laugh everytime I see one!
     
    Will they now be Sparkle-based?!
  • should be called "Tinkle".

  • Flash sucks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Friday September 16, 2005 @12:37AM (#13573264) Homepage Journal
    I've been working on flash apps for work. God the networking library sucks ass. Creating a connection returns true or false. True if it succeeds, false if it doesn't. There's absolutely no way to figure out why it didn't work!

    Insane. I set policies first with my XMLSocket server, and then with an HTTP server. Doesn't seem to be it and it's driving me nuts. Every other networking library will tell you exactly why it failed. Not Actionscript!.

    Fuck macromedia. And fuck Microsoft for killing client-side java!!!
  • by DigitlDud (443365) on Friday September 16, 2005 @12:44AM (#13573303)
    "Flash, Meet Sparkle" and then linking to an article explaining how it has nothing to do with Flash at all.
  • by Aqua OS X (458522) on Friday September 16, 2005 @01:28AM (#13573461)
    I'm a grad student studying interactive design, and I'm fairly intrigued about a software package seemingly being marketed toward "interactive designers."

    Currently, interactive designers are few and far between. It's difficult to find a -good- graphic designer who understands human behavior and software development.

    I know a ton of good developers who can produce ok interfaces (ok as in "ehh", not ok as in "good"); I know a slew of good designers who don't know a string from an array; and I know several HCI gurus who don't understand graphic design / visual communication from a hole in the ground.

    So, here are my questions... is Sparkle evidence of Microsoft's foresight? Does Microsoft realize "interactive design" is an emerging discipline? Are they going to cater to new designers who are capable of communicating with developers and contributing toward in initial development. Or, is Sparkle just another attempt at offering staggered babelfish communication between designers and developers who really don't understand each other's jobs?

    If it's the latter, I don't know how successful this product is going to be.

    This sounds fairly rad, but I'm somewhat pessimistic. After seeing the UIs for Windows Vista(TM) and Word 12, I doubt Microsoft really understands interactive design. How can they understand interactive design if they're not hiring real interactive designers, or at the very least, not incorporating them properly into the development process? My complaints about OS X's Finder pale in comparison to my complaints about those gift wrapped turds.

    Man... what I would give for one day in Redmond with executive management.

    Personally, I think the next big wave in software development is going to come from interactivity
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:14AM (#13573736)
    1) Sparkle is not a technology. Sparkle is the codename for an application. Get it right.

    2) The technology is Windows Presentation Foundation (formally codenamed Avalon).

    3) It is not a flash killer. It is true that you can host Avalon applications in a web browser, and they will interact with the back and forward buttons of a web browser. It is true that Microsoft is touting this as a high-end replacement for HTML (as far as I can tell).

    4) Although details are sketchy, Microsoft has announced a royalty free OPEN technology called Windows Presentation Foundation / Everywhere. This means that you can run these applications in ANY web browser on ANY platform.
  • by WrongByDefinition (905649) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:24AM (#13574026)
    Okay, enough of the mis-directed Flash-bashing. Is this just a nerd thing...the cool geeks on /. seem to hate Flash, so I hate it too!

    I mean really, do you blame photoshop every time you see a bad image? Video cameras for bad commercials? Shit, lets blame guns for war and give politicians a break!

    Flash is a powerful, relatively easy tool to use for developing everything from annoying ads to cool, slick, easy-to-use web applications and games. That, unfortunately, means that many clueless usability-impaired newbies can use Flash to create equally useless splash screens and seizure-inducing Ads. Maybe they should make Flash more like MIA or Lightwave, eh? Then only the smart, nerdy types could use it.

    Oh, and from what I've read Sparkle doesn't 'describe' the objects in XML as far as the Forms/UI goes, it uses XML to position, size, and adjust an object's attributes. XML files like that are like 5-10K for most forms. It isn't just a big document of vector descriptions...(take a look at Macromedia Flex if you want to see what they are trying to do)...so settle down on the 'my god the files will be huge' melodrama. It'll suck just fine being a Microsoft product without all the misaligned conjecture and assumptions.

    Oh, and since this is probably going to get modded into oblivion by some pissed off Flash-hater, I'll just add that OpenLazlo sucks...just what we need, learn yet another task-specific language to develop a code-embedded-in-design-godforsaken-mess-to-mainta in-application for the sake of OOP.

    There, done bitching, go on about your business.

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