Cross platform, a myth?

Marcus Cavanaugh: "Developing for multiple operating systems at once is like talking on a cell phone while driving: You can accomplish each task successfully, but you'll excel at neither. Unless you develop an application with a native GUI toolkit and relentlessly embrace native operating system conventions, you will achieve mediocre results. The more you disregard or abstract away your target platform, the more diluted your user experience becomes." - Yep, you make tradeoffs to achieve cross platform applications. I see it all the time, but that's just a part of the game. Often you have to go "lowest common denominator", like not taking complete advantage of the platform. An example that comes to mind, because we do video, would be choosing OpenGl over Direct3D on Windows, but I guess if it works and it's good enough, no harm, no foul, sort of. The thing is the users will notice, something will feel off. The example of Office on the Mac is a great one. It's busy. I've become accustomed to very trim user interfaces in most Mac applications, but Office is full of buttons, and you notice it.

Getting the user experience correct isn't an easy thing to do, when you do get it right you may never know, if you get it wrong the users scream to high heaven.

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Posted by Rob at 11:03 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Plugging C into Python

Ned Batchelder: "Python can be extended with extensions written in C. It's a complex topic, this will be a quick 45 minute introduction." - If you've ever wanted to hookup some good old fashioned C code to your Python application, this is a great starting point. Thanks Ned.

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The web is not anywhere near the desktop

Duct Tape, fixer of all things!Ted Patrick: "Today MindJet launched MindManager Web, the online version of the popular mind mapping software. What is cool about it is that it has an identical look and feel to the original MindManager. Actually it makes me wonder when they replace the desktop version with an AIR app." - I don't get it when people think they can fully replace desktop apps with web apps, even if they're written in Flash/AIR, which is kind of cheating because you're running in a runtime, inside the browser, on the desktop. There are certain things the web is good for, there are other things it cannot replace. A drawing application, especially a really good one, is going to be tough to replace.

Having said that I think the web is great for services and it's super nice when the desktop application can be enhanced by a web service. We did this at Visio with the Find Shape feature. A web service for locating, and downloading, shapes from the web, into the desktop application. It worked quite well and gave you all the power and control of the desktop application.

Web only apps are still not there as a 100% replacement for the desktop, or client applications. Why do you think we have an iPhone SDK? Folks just couldn't do everything they wanted in the browser.

From what I know about AIR it has extreme limitations, some will see those limitations as a feature, which is true in some senses. If you have a HUGE investment in reusable frameworks, you cannot easily reuse those frameworks inside the AIR sandbox. That, for me, is a show stopper, which is quite unfortunate because it could be a great competitor to Microsoft's .NET if only you could reuse code more easily. Love or hate 'em, Microsoft has always done a great job of bringing old code into their new worlds. We've been able to bring critical frameworks into .NET very easily, and they behave like great .NET citizens.

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Posted by Rob at 11:30 AM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Fun with video

Tom Distler: "So, weíve been developing a slick cross-platform media framework to standardize or products on (proprietry, of course), and I couldnít resist building an ASCII text renderer." - Tom did a brilliant job with the design of our new media pipeline, but this, well, you'll have to forgive him, he couldn't help himself. Smile, life is good!

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Adobe Platform

John Nack: "We want to make Photoshop and the whole Creative Suite much more flexible, extensible, and connected. Therefore, we're looking at letting upcoming versions of Photoshop and--as far as I know--all Creative Suite applications be extended via SWF panels (palettes) created in Adobe Flash or Flex." - This would be fun to be a part of. I love doing stuff that allows a product to be extended via third parties. It's fun.

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Posted by Rob at 11:48 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

No, no, no, not like that!

Macworld: "Sure, why not? Open iCal to the month you want and then press Shift-Command-4, press the Space Bar, and then click on the calendar. The Mac will take a shot of the calendar in .png format. If thatís not compatible with the digital picture frame, open the image in Preview, choose Save As, and in the sheet that appears, choose a format such as JPEG that makes your picture frame happy. Once youíve done that, itís simply a matter of placing the image in the frame, using whatever transfer scheme the frame supports." - I want the real thing, with a touch screen, that can display an interactive calendar. One that will allow me to add and remove things, and then, synchronize with my Google Calendar, and with my Mac.

That would be pretty sweet.

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YUV to RGB and back

FourCC.Org: "There are two specifications, CCIR 656 and CCIR 601 which define standards for component video, and I'm sure other pages on your site refer to them. In any case, CCIR 601 defines the relationship between YCrCb and RGB values:"

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Posted by Rob at 8:39 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Idea for a Vista gadget

Have you visited Kuler yet? Ok, go take a look, come back, I'll wait.

Back? All rightie then.

I was thinking it would be kinda neat to create a application that would randomly select a Kuler Color Theme, using their API, and apply it to the Windows Shell, or even your website, or insert your favorite idea here.

Any takers?

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Posted by Rob at 2:18 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


Rob Fahrni has been a Software Developer for 20 years. He's developed DOS, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Palm based applications in C, C++, Objective-C/Cocoa, C#/ASP.Net, and, yes, even BASIC...
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