Full Circle

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DSC_0323One for the technical folk today, but maybe not without a general morale:

I can’t help wondering how software design for graphical user interfaces came about over the years. Back in the early days, you’d use a text editor to describe the graphical design in a cryptic language (hey, who remembers AES and GEM?).

Then Borland came with a barely audible Poof! and introduced true rapid application development, a click, drag and drop approach that supports the design of graphical user interfaces in a WYSIWYG way. Delphi and C++ Builder were great, I thought. In hindsight, Borland accomplished little: they coined the term RAD (or, at least, they were among the first to have one), and then lost Anders Hejlsberg to Microsoft. Borland has gone out of business (I think), and Embarcadero Software looks after the leftovers.

Then came .NET, Microsoft’s first true RAD tool. Anders Hejlsberg’s design in a different framework, and finally adopted by the mainstream, how nice.

I am now looking at declarative languages. Well, everybody is. It’s quite the hype. Adobe’s Flex with MXML, or Microsoft’s Windows Presentation Framework (WPF with XAML) and Metro. Brilliant. I love both (with an inclination towards WPF and C#).

It’s just so very nice to see that we’re now free to choose a method of describing the graphical design in a cryptic language (hey, but it’s XML! Must be cool!), just like in the good old days.

Something definitely came full circle here.

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