Enter the Flash Killer?

“Sparkle” is a series of tools recently showcased as part of MS’s Windows Longhorn technology platform.

It will allow developers to make Flash-like effects from within Windows programs via Avalon’s vector-based graphical API. When you minimize a program in Mac OSX to the dock, it actually looks as if it gets sucked right into the dock. I think that’s the kind of effect we’re talking about.

But it also looks an awful lot like another vector-based animation tool – Macromedia Flash. Which is why some pundits are calling it the “Flashkiller”.

Right now it looks more like a rudimentary programmer’s SDK than something artsies will want to use to make their Christmas e-cards, but it should be interesting.

Macromedia – to be frank, their tools are overpriced, non-intuitive and haven’t really improved in the last three iterations. Their only real competition came from Adobe and maybe Java. I know, I’ve used them. But the work dang well, is all.

XAML is basically MS’s ripoff of Mozilla’s XUL (pronounced “Zool”), although it includes a few interesting new features. XUL is based on the XML metalanguage set. It is what makes Mozilla/Netscape 7 incredibly flexible; for example, you can even program games into Mozilla. Unlike XML it will be proprietary/closed source and closed platform. Again in a copycat case, the next-gen IE will run on XAML.

One thought on “Enter the Flash Killer?”

  1. It appears that Macromedia aren’t taking this sitting down – they are also working on a XUL-like language called MXML, aka Macromedia Flex Markup Language. This would explain rumours that Macromedia refused to help Microsoft with Sparkle. MXML is designed for .NET, so it is not Longhorn-centric like Sparkle is.

    In another front, Macromedia and MS aren’t the only ones interested in XUL: Netspedition released Zulu, a XUL application for designing Flash MX interfaces.

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