Tuesday, April 15, 2008 

Old Problems, new Solutions

In a comment to my previous post, I mentioned an half-baked idea about a (truly) modern architecture for GUI applications.

In fact, I've been experimenting with different approaches to GUI construction for "classic" Windows applications, Web applications, Smart Clients calling web services, and even Web applications calling web services for quite a while now.

Some were dead ends. Others have been a successful intermediate step toward something better. I usually pass on the good ideas to my clients, and meanwhile, I keep trying different approaches on small scale, low-risk projects. Because the "traditional" way of building GUI applications sucks big time. So does the traditional thinking about "good" GUI constructions, that is, that you need a tightly integrated language / ide / library / operating system to do anything decent.

I also don't like the idea that I should buy-in a monolithic framework for GUI construction. Different problems are better solved in different ways: we should be free to mix and match different approaches in different forms (within the same application), or even within the single form, or component.

Over time, a few people told me not to bother: Microsoft, Sun, Apple (not to mention a thousand smart guys working for smaller companies) have been working at that for years. It's an old problem, and it's unlikely that anybody can come up with a radically different solution.

It's very poor thinking. There is no limit to human creativity. Take a look at How To Fold A T-Shirt In 2 Seconds. The problem is much older than GUI construction. Uncountable people have been faced with the same problem and they didn't come up with anything similar so far. Sure, there are pros and cons in this technique (as usual), but it's a radically different (and much faster) approach.

You may want to go through the explained version, as I did. I actually tried that a few times, and it works :-).

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I'd like to point out the UML solution:

Sometimes it's quite difficult just to think different. Sometimes it's only a matter of coincidence (i'm thinking of post-it invention). Maybe go out for a walk and pay attention to what happen around could be a great source of inspiration...
Maybe go out for a walk and pay attention to what happen around could be a great source of inspiration...

Lo diceva anche Carlo in uno dei suoi primi post raccontando le sue uscite in scarpe da ginnastica.
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