Adam Bosworth's Weblog: Detour "Reading all the comments on my last posting, I'm going to give up and detour for an entry about "Rich UI" before getting into the heart of how one might build a web services driven browser and why. It is clear that my comments on Rich UI were both overly facile and unclear.
Sean Neville of Macromedia has posted a really excellent comment to the last posting and Kevin Lynch has an excellent white paper which I encourage readers to look at.
One of Seans's key points is that Macromedia focuses more on the richness of data and on the richness of the interaction with the user than of the widgets per se. Kevin Lynch has a great demo of the forthcoming central which makes the same point. When you see it, you are overwhelmed by how gracefully the media fit into the application and appear to be an integral part of it even as they are being dynamically fetched from the server. I'm excited about the work Macromedia is doing here. I think it is great work and can substantially enrich the web experience. I was also impressed with the Lazslo presentations (which at least when I saw them sat on top of Macromedia's Flash engine) and with Altio which had its own Java rendering engine. In short, I'm not against "Rich UI". Why would I be? I got into this field years and years ago when I fell in love with the Xerox Parc work and set out with partners like Eric Michelman and Andrew Layman to build the first project manager with a graphical user interface. Later Eric and I split off and teamed up with Brad Silverberg to build Reflex, one of the worlds first databases with a graphical user interface. None of this work, of course, used media itself as a type with the dazzling richness and aplomb that the new Macromedia Central demos do. But they shared the excitement and vision.
In short, I think there is room for both. I think Macromedia is heading in exactly the right direction and have told Kevin Lynch so. At the same time, I think that there is a need for a plain old browser that can interact with the server at the information level and I think there is also a need for Central. We don't use only one size and type of screwdriver. Why should this world be different?"
[Reflex -- I had fun with that product during the mid-1980s! Have I ever used a Microsoft or Borland product that doesn't have AdamB's fingerprints on it?...]