Thoughts on software and life.

Saturday May 8

UI Technology Fashion

This post by Joe Gregorio (specifically the part about Avalon) made me think. Are the changes brought by each successive generation of UI technology really making it easier to build great UI? I think there's a case to be made that these tools don't really make UI easier to build or better looking, they simply make it as easy to build the latest UI fashion as it was to build the previous UI fashion with the previous tools.

For instance, in 1995, Windows 95 gave us a prettier UI, and in turn we got the tools to build that UI just as easily as we built the Windows 3.1 look and feel with the previous tools. The same goes for Longhorn - 3D and XML are suddenly trendy, and so Microsoft gives us XAML to make this practical. The result won't be better, it will just be "modern." Sure, there are some genuine improvements in there (e.g. managed code), but most of the changes come down to modernization.

This argument could probably be made about a lot of the technology we consider innovative - it's just a re-invented wheel with a trendy-looking paint job.

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