One of the fundamental shifts taking place in IT development is that the need to develop for and deliver to new networked and many devices without having to resort to a new development paradigm each time as you switch from PC to mobile phone to PDA to Web. These needs coupled with delivering in any format and either online or offline has tossed the leadership of development for the Presentation Layer up into the air. Some would argue that Apple and Microsoft have insurmountable leads. However, this reviewer would demur on that notion.
Adobe Flash, AJAX vendors, RealSoftwares REALbasic, Suns Java Swing and J2ME have shown the ability to deliver highly portable (read cross platform to Mac, Linux, and in some cases to an array of mobile devices) presentation layers with sophisticated GUI components and various degrees of multimedia support.
But of course do not count Microsoft with XAML out of the running. Redmond has done some interesting things by making a XAML player available (Windows only so far ??) and has gotten some very good 3rd party software developers to climb on board and support not just XAML but the whole new Expression Suite. Take a look atElectric Rains ZAM3D in the screen shot below – it tells a lot:
Here is eRains CEO telling why he thinks XAML/WinPF/Avalon is a definite contender in the new rush to deliver the best development tools for the “new” Presentation Layer. He goes on to describe how ZAM3D adds real value to Microsoft Expression Suite developer tool for XAML. But at the same time eRain gives an inadvertent handicapping of who is in the lead on making delivery of the new Presentation Layer. Note the size of the download files for video presentation:
Adobe Flash=>smallest in size at 20MB and has a 97% chance of having its player ready to go
MS Windows Media Player=> 28MB in size and 85% chance of player available to go
Apple Quicktime=>38MB in size and 66% chance of player available to go (all NPD Survey stats)
So this is only one graphic reason why IT pundits should be careful in calling premature winners to the race for lead in development tools and delivery of the new 6As Presentation Layer.