Ever wonder where Manuel Clement and Samuel Wan (hi guys!) have been working on? Yep, the secret Microsoft project code-named Sparkle has been announced at the Microsoft PDC yesterday.
The official name of Sparkle is Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer, which is one of three products in the Expression family.
Check out the hour-long video at Channel 9 (Windows Media), where you get to see Manuel (and Sam briefly), with others of the Sparkle team (hi Pete). It’s a rare occasion to see the “pre-pre-release” product in such details.
What’s interesting in particular (compared to Flash) are the scalable IDE, native OS controls, data-binding, roundtrip XAML, interface (property panels, timeline, object transformations), 3D, and rendering effects.
Sparkle generates XAML code, that can be used directly with Visual Studio or rendered in Avalon (with graphics hardware acceleration). It is a tool for designers to build interactive UI and animations for next-generation Windows applications (or Internet Explorer applications).
The platform (Vista) that Sparkle runs on won’t be out until late 2006, and the adoption rate of the next generation Windows OS will be much slower than the adoption rate of the Flash Player (which is free and has auto-update and express install to guarantee a much quicker rate than previous versions).
Flash’s ubiquity (cross-platform/browser/device) is the strongest reason that it will be around for some time. Of course, Vista will be the dominant OS one day; but that will be at least two years away. In the mean time, Flash designers, developers, and users have lots to look forward to with the current and next-generation Flash Platform, and all these other tools to explore.
Here’s an interesting read from a former Sparkle product manager (Jon Meyer) on Sparkle, Flash and AJAX.