Is XML the Future of UI Development?
Microsoft is betting heavily on a new XML based language called Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML). For traditional Windows developers, this is leveraged through Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). WPF looks a lot like ASP.NET in that one language, XAML, is used for presentation while another, C# or VB, is used for event handling in a code-behind file.
Aside from the technological differences, XAML radically changes the development cycle for user interface design. User interface specialists and graphic artists can use XAML editors such as Expression Blend or ZAM 3D to create the user interfaces, then turn the files over to developers using Visual Studio. No longer will developers work from non-interactive screenshots put together in Visio or Photoshop, at least in theory. Judging by the rather mixed success of the ASP.NET, the effectiveness of this is questionable, but at least the potential is there.
One thing to note about the XAML technologies is that the designers don’t really exist yet in a finished form. Expression Blend is currently a release candidate, and Visual Studio won’t have anything more than a CTP until VS Orcas hits beta later this year.
This reliance on a specific browser is what may ultimately sink Gran Paradiso. Unlike the cross-platform runtimes used by WPF/E and Apollo, which hopefully the users won’t have to think about, Firefox is a highly visible frame that takes away screen space from the application itself. And if the user prefers Internet Explorer, Safari, or Opera, they may be agitated about having to use Firefox.
XML is better
Re: XML is better
What about XUL?
I think there is one more underestimated platform: Yahoo.Widgets, it offers since version 4.0 a embedded sqlite database. Also if look over the DOM Reference I think it could be possible to create a great UI also for bigger applications.
XUL leads on combination of technology and opennes
Re: What about XUL?
So as Thunderbird.
Songbird is promising.
Has XUL yet reached the tipping point? Does not seem so. Reminds me lisp. The best solution ever. But...
Re: XML is better
With XML-based layouts, the XML itself provides the structure so you don't have to rely on fragile and mostly undocumented coding conventions.
Of course that assumes that someone takes the time to build a decent set of tools. If all you are doing is hand-editing XML instead of hand-editing source code, then you haven't gained anything.