The folks at Google wrote about their new toolkit for their new mail app. An app, by the way, that is actually great.
I was convinced – from using the app – that they had a lot of platform specific code. Instead, being great engineers, they cracked a hard nut – how do you build a UI rich application without writing most of the code twice that I didn’t think was going to get cracked anytime soon.
The challenge with UI rich products is that they must interact with the native software interface of the device. And the native interface is very different and is written in very different programming langues.
What Google has done is very interesting. My stock recommendation for UI rich applications is that you have a core that is in C++ and a bunch of platform specific code for each device, the approach Google has taken may indicate a new third way. The Prezi guys did this to great effect. And many of my former Zynga colleagues are doing the same.
I must dig in some more…