Linked by Hadrien Grasland on Tue 11th Jan 2011 13:40 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Nowadays smartphones, tablets and desktop/laptop computers are all siblings. They use the same UI paradigms and follow the same idea of a programmable and flexible machine that's available to everyone. Only their hardware feature set and form factor differentiate them from each other. In this context, does it still make sense to consider them as separate devices as far as software development is concerned? Wouldn't it be a much better idea to consider them as multiple variations of the same concept, and release a unified software platform which spreads across all of them? This article aims at describing what has been done in this area already, and what's left to do.
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RE[4]: umm
by Neolander on Tue 11th Jan 2011 16:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: umm"
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No offence. I just wonder if we have tried cross-device UIs hard enough before dismissing them. If the question wouldn't be worth reconsidering more carefully now that cellphones, tablets, etc... all begin to try to do the same thing, making the app compatibility distinction a bit technical and artificial from a user's point of view.

Apple clearly chose the easiest path by asking developers to re-code apps. No question about that. Putting a real cross-device UI toolkit (where, as you say, zoom sliders don't remain on touchscreens ;) ) on rails would be very difficult. This article is meant as a description of the core idea of a cross-device UI, but I don't pretend to have fully solved the problem. It'd take months (years?) to get an implemented, stable, and working version of this, if it's possible at all...

However, wouldn't it be worth it ? Like it was worth putting money in fundamental research about lasers after all...

Edited 2011-01-11 16:38 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: umm
by mrstep on Tue 11th Jan 2011 23:19 in reply to "RE[4]: umm"
mrstep Member since:

Happily (or sadly?) I've been coding since there were other cross platform frameworks, and there's not one instance that has worked well. And that's just trying to bring mostly the same functionality to similar screens.

Coming up with a different set of UI frameworks certainly wasn't the easiest path for Apple - they could have done nothing and just had you build Cocoa UIs for iOS, so I'm not sure I agree. It goes far beyond pinch-to-zoom, there's a lot of basic and extended behavior that just doesn't fit the mold of a desktop app.

Based on what I've seen over a long time, it's never worked, or at least never worked well. You end up with a lowest common denominator. That does have a place - I can see where you can save some time - but if you extend it to the point of really having a UI that shines, you may as well have done a custom layout. And that's having used Java/VC++/Delphi/C#/ObjC/assembly/C/.... :/

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: umm
by Neolander on Wed 12th Jan 2011 07:18 in reply to "RE[5]: umm"
Neolander Member since:

I'm not sure we are talking about the same thing.

If I'm not misunderstood, you are talking about frameworks which spread across multiple OSs. Like GTK, QT, Java MIDP...

While it's devatable that you can't create good applications using those frameworks (Audacity is neither bad on Windows nor it is on Linux), the fact is they must struggle with various incompatible (including from a usability point of view, see the whole QT on OSX issue) toolkits which they have no control on.

This is not the case with what I'm talking about. You only have one OS to run on. One API and look and feel to mimick. I just want said OS to do its job : if it pretends to run on several different devices, fine, but it has to provide the same look&feel and the same applications.

Reply Parent Score: 1