Put some "Sparkle" In your UI.
Flashkiller, eh? Only if Macromedia sits on their rear ends for the next two years, with thumbs firmly implanted in their anal cavity. Something tells me that won't happen though. Still, it will be extremely cool to have a compelling UI designer right in Visual Studio.
I've heard a lot of people talking about (since the whole XAML conversation came around) how UI designers should be the ones working on interfaces first, then programmers write the logic and wire up the UI later. The funny thing is, those guys are totally missing the point. The point in Microsoft bringing about the kind of disconnected-development paradigm from ASP.NET to the Smart Client, is to be able to, God forbid, PLAN your requirements, and have your UI guy go build the UI (in AfterEffects or “Sparkle” or whatever) and have the programmer develop the logic AT THE SAME TIME. Your development goes much faster, because you're not relient on one person or another to do your job.
Windows developers don't get that yet. That's because the VB.NET WinForms RAD environment has been the same for 10 years: Changing the designer only changes declarations inside the code... there is no duality between forms and logic. This new development model is just plain better and Microsoft really is trying to take the best of Windows development and the best of Web development and put them together. And it is a win for everyone. Even Macromedia.
So “Sparkle” may kill flash. Every product has a lifecycle. The key will be to see whether or not Adobe or Macromedia can adapt and evolve to this new environment. That is the true test of any business.
and from the linked article (Flashkiller)
Microsoft has also said that the new Longhorn API's (define) will enable developers to easily build rich user interfaces and applications with the graphics classes that provide animation, effects and "visually exciting images that exploit hardware acceleration."
There seems to be some view afoot that "rich user interfaces" (aka gloss) will breath life where there was none before - twaddle. I well remember the launch of Apple Lisa, a fantastic machine with a huge number of innovative features, far more than Longhorn has (whose innovative features seem to be, errr, um, a file system with meta data) and it went down like a lead ballon with our customers. Partly because it was so expensive but also because they couldn't see productivity from those features - I can't see visually exciting images getting the customer to reach for their cheque books (and before Scoble leaps in, no I don't want to watch a video while I'm playing a game, I don't want x-y and z going on at the same time; I, like most people, can visually concentrate on a single thing at once).
The reason I wrote Zeepe was I was fed up to the back teeth spending so much time writing repetive UI code, a program was containing more UI code than code that does actual work. I fear that the way Longhorn, XAML et al are being promoted is that developers are supposed to spend most time on the "visual appeal" of their application and stuff whether it actually does anything useful. A UI should stay out the way, I don't want a screen full of crap getting in the way of what I am trying to do, I don't want to have to buy a 40 inch monitor because 20 inches are taken up by rubbish.
UIs should be minimalist.
This post was written using an application written with about 200K of ECMAScript and HTML, about 90% of that code is code that does things, update databases, read rss feeds, generate displays, perform webservice based updating of this web log etc. It wires together a bunch of system services - database access, http access and underlying UI widgety. Over 95% of my display is taken up by the editing panel I am working in - some tools are there if I want to get posh with the presentation, like a spot of coloured bold but otherwise it stays out the way.