Friday, September 11, 2009

Smallworld High Definition

John Eason at GE was giving me grief for not posting more frequently to this blog. So here's a post for John :)

Come to the Smallworld Americas Users Conference in Phoenix in October and learn about "Smallworld High Definition". No other details were forthcoming so I had to make my own guesses.

Smallworld High Definition might mean...
- you can now see the Smallworld GUI from across the room
- even if your swmfs server goes down, Smallworld tries to guess what your data really looks like (kind of like HD TV guessing pixels when the signal is bad)
- Smallworld will be deployed in an Xbox-like console so that you can bring your data into your home theatre.
- Smallworld will allow embedding multi-media in database objects. I'm not talking about the existing related-documents functionality. I'm thinking more along the lines of Google Maps showing WikiPedia, Panoramia and YouTube.
- Smallworld data and apps go 3D.

Anyone have any thoughts on what Smallworld HD could mean?

Personally, I'm hoping that Smallworld HD might be something along the lines of multi-media integration or 3D rendering. That would be cool!

Well, enough posting... time to get back to work... and John will probably have to wait some time again before my next post.

See you all at the conference in October!


Jason Mortson said...

I heard you can now resize the graphics windows to wide-screen, stretched or pillar to match your data!

Anonymous said...

Smallworld High Definition could mean Anti-aliasing and Alpha-Blending (aks Alpha Compositing) that apparently will be introduced/improved at CST version 4.2

For further information check out:

Alfred Sawatzky said...

And the winner is... "Anonymous".

At the Users Conference in Glendale this week, John Eason was very excited to take me to see the "Smallworld HD" demo. All I can say is that there was some really cool stuff. With mostly only Magik changes, the developer (a Magikian in my mind) created a new interface that out-Microsofted Microsoft. The new GUI has all the standard Microsoft UI design elements but with a few iPhone-like tricks thrown in. The graphics are clear and crisp (a la the comments from "Anonymous"). The widget classes (as well as the geometry classes) now all inherit from a common set of ancestor classes to take advantage of new canvas rendering functionality and geometry caching.

As far as I am concerned, the new GUI will be the cool kid on every user's Desktop. I expect that non-GIS users will want a copy of the GUI on their desktop just to play with it and show off its cool functionality. The feature that I think is most like the iPhone is the one where you can grab the map with your pan cursor and "flick" it in a particular direction. When you are scrolling down the object list (think combination of Smallworld Explorer result list and Google Maps search result list) you can grab an object in the list and "flick" it up or down to scroll the map. While those of us who have worked with Smallworld for a long time have know of the software's power, I think these GUI changes will make the software more attractive and inviting for first-time users to interact with. There is definitely an initial "wow" factor that is combined with functionality that gives this GUI a type of "stickiness" as well. "Good job" to the team that is working this and I wish you much success in seeing it through to delivery.

(According to new US Federal Trade Commission rules, bloggers are now supposed to reveal any freebies or payments they get for reviewing a product. Unfortunately for me, no freebie was provided. I can only hope that the beta version comes out soon.)