Sparkle — Microsoft finally takes UI design seriously

Posted by bryanzug - 2005/09/14

If you are into UI design and haven’t yet seen the video that Scoble posted on Microsoft’s Channel 9, prepare to crap your pants and go watch it.

At their Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles today, Microsoft debuted Sparkle Interactive Designer as a part of their new Expression Suite. It’s a move that shows the Redmond crew seems to finally be taking UI design seriously.

Being a Flash web application developer, this is my home territory and I have to say, I’m impressed. Go watch the video and admit with me — the rich interface race is on and Redmond aims to represent.

Having been gearing up to begin some new Flex projects myself, Sparkle definitely is swinging for the same market (though we’ll have to wait to see if Sparkle UI’s play on non-Window’s systems).

The Scoble video shows a pretty well crafted design environment that can roll out rich 2D and 3D visuals and animations that are stored as XAML files (Microsoft’s XML format for describing interface controls for the new Longhorn OS coming next year – Ha, Ha, Ha). Looks pretty easy to bind these controls to underlying application code as well – a move to make UI designers a real part of the software development process.

As someone who’s been in this business a long time, this feels like a big change — Microsoft taking design seriously means that good tech design is not going to be isolated to companies like Apple or AdobeMedia any more.

While it may prove fateful for some of our favorite toolsets, at the end of the day, you have to admit it’s nice to get some business respect for a change.


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