Stephane/icustuds: Great post. Feel free to post questions on my blog on MSN Spaces if you see a relevant thread there. I am glad you could relate to the philosophy of this platform for your work on Smart Clients / Applications. It is fair
to compare with what is on the market out there today although Avalon was planned for a long long time and apart from Sparkle, things were public for at least 2 years (you could use XAML/Avalon betas, etc).
Actually I was not making any reference to value or anteriority in my comparison, forgive me if it looked like I did. I just discovered the concept of RIA through Macromedia's beta related to Flex during past year and a half, but discovered Avalon only 2
or 3 months ago (even if it apparently was around for much longer) but did not give lot of attention since I’m looking for a designer approach of RIA (GUI) which was provided by Flex Builder. The announcement of Sparkle changed the game and gathered my attention
to Avalon for a better look. My comparison was just a way to make sure I’m making the right relation between the tools I’m using from Macromedia, and the tools I could be using instead from Microsoft (some of Sparkle features such the timeline and the ultra
simplified way to manipulate 3D would make me do the switch).
I will post more tech specific questions to your MSN Space.
To me it looks like MS's version of MM Flash, only it exports to XAML instead of swf. Have to say, it looks very cool.
With all due respect, you may be victim of the “Flash-Killer” effect which unfortunately does not serve any purpose other than spreading marketing ideas by clever use of a mix of psychology, viral marketing and propaganda concepts. At the end, Flash authoring
will be still the best choice for serious Flash food authoring unrelated to RIA, Photoshop will be still needed to get what it does done which is not application or web graphics, while it is Macromedia Flex Presentation Server and the Flex Builder, along with
Dreamweaver before it (they are clones) that will stand in Microsoft path to the playground of Rich Internet Application authoring and development.
Now the ironic beauty of the scene is that Macromedia did not implement timeline in Flex Builder by fear to scare out developers with a non familiar approach to application development, while Sparkle (Microsoft equivalent to Flex Builder) does implement timeline
and use just the right amount of it for features that Flex Builder can't support in its current form. Clever, very clever.
If I'm, well now we are talking... because what I see is Microsoft bringing .NET, Vista, the related technologies and tools right in the hand of Designers who were until then left behind with CSS and Kleenex as only tools for RIA authoring (considering that
most of us can't or simply do not want to spend $12,000 dollars per CPU for Flex Presentation Layer, plus a licensing that simply refrain from providing hosting services based on Flex, and other option just far too green).
This is where it gets interesting and creates real opportunities for Designers like myself (probably millions) who simply do not know how to develop by writing code, but can leverage the concept of Service Oriented Architecture and Multi-tier Environment to
actually "build" application and not just design them. It gets particularly interesting in a non-team development environment, where independent developer can do develop full presentation layers over third parties business logic and data layers.
Manuel: here you come right out of the screen (channel9 video)... I finally find a serious player in RIA development word with the better of the two worlds... I do not want to mobilize more blog space than I should for matter that may be irrelevant to actual
programming developer, but I would get so much chatting with you about my current project and maybe get some advices and best ways to professionally migrate from web design to rich client authoring and development. Let me know, could be right here on the blog
or by any other mean.
(by the way I felt some French vibes and influences by visiting your sites, and your name... are you from or related to France?).