Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Smallworld High Definition (part 2)

(My apologies to those who get their blog post comments on an RSS feed. This is a repeat of a comment from last night)

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.

If you are at conference this week, it is worth checking out this demo at the GE booth.

(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.)

1 comment:

Tom Arter said...

I totally agree, the 4.2 gui will be one you will be proud to show off. Not only is there WOW but practical as well. For example the bread and butter commands, pan and zoom (near real time), require only a single mouse click or scroll wheel action.

Tom Arter