The following is the Tibco General Interface AJAX development tool running in the Firefox browser:
Now what makes this interesting is that just over a year ago Redmond was saying Smart Clients based on the desktop were the way to go – and that was what Visual Studio 2005 and Vista were going to bring you – the Smart Client advantage. Well that was a year ago – now the message is a bit more mixed – Windows Live seems to be carrying more import as Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie tries to scramble and rally the troops towards doing stuff like the Tibco General Interface developer, Jotspot Scheduler, and Google Maps like Web innovation.
But Rays predecessor killed all browser development for 5-6 years at 1 Microsoft Way and then, oops, issued an apology when Web 2 emerged as a winner over Smart Clients for many corporate shops. As reputed masters of UI, Microsoft seems to be playing a lot of catch-up for the past 10-12 years discounting the Web not once but twice and leaving the mobile, chip enabled consumer devices open to others like Nokia, Sony, Nintendo, and Apple. Well Nintendo with Wii and Apple with iPhone are showing that UI innovation is well off the path known as 1 Microsoft Way.
In the World of gaming, Nintendos Wii has upstaged both Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox for innovative design and sheer biz buzz. But Apples iPhone may have the most profound effect on IT as Apple and Steve Jobs bet heavily on touch screen and tablet technology that heretofore has been the playground of Windows tablets. In effect, Jobs is showing Billco how the tablet and touchscreen UI should be implemented( I am sure their are legions of troopers in Redmond ready to fire up discarded and/or copy the Apple touch screen ideas). This is a big bet by Apple on how consumers will want to interface to more mobile, transportable and connected smart devices with screen based technology.
But remember iPhones is not a sure thing – there are power x ease-of-use x vulnerable screen x text entry trade-offs and risks associated with a touch screen design. But I suspect that the Apple approach will be closer to where the market goes putting even more emphasis on an encompassing 6As UI/Presentation Layer (call it RIA or UUI-UniversalUI). Not just developers are going to demand that the “write once, run anywhere” as in Javas ability to run on any OS be extended to run on any device and support any User Interface – desktop, mobile phone, GPS, browser, kiosk, or whatever has an intelligent screen. And the code that works on the desktop has to work unchanged on the mobiles and any devices screens. And it looks like Apple may very well be setting the any device UI standards. So visual interfaces like Tibco GI and Jotspots scheduler may very well be the norm, that is to say highly visual oriented development/usage in translated from a desktop Web Browser to a mobile phone. How do you like that for rattling the UI cage.