Yesterday evening, I listened to a remarkable presentation from David Temkin from LaszloSystems. David presented the upcoming release of OpenLaszlo “Legals” (will be released as 4.0) which supports the rendering of OpenLaszlo applications in DHTML and Flash.
OpenLaszlo is a really remarkable framework. To achieve such sleek user interfaces they use “cinematic experience“. this kind of eye candy that is unheard of in the web-application world. OpenLaszlo claims it allows a user to better understand the transitions from one state of an application to the next and therefore makes navigation easier to understand. and delivers near desktop performance to a web-browser near you.
David showed some real world applications such as web-based Gliffy a Visio like diagram drawing application and Pandora, a personalized web-radio that plays to your individual taste, if you train it well. He also demonstrated a sleek application for Barclays Global Investors tracking stock indeces which LaszloSystems did create in 2 weeks.
However, a really great application is their LZPIX Photo Application. It’s an application that pulls some photos from Flickr and displays them in a Laszlo based interface. It is making use of almost every thing in the LZX language. The remarkable part is that the same source code can be rendered in Flash and in the new DHTML engine. And it is extraordinary, that in parts the DHTML version is even faster than the Flash version. Look at the speed in which the images load in DHTML vs. Flash. This is quite an achievement for the development team of OpenLaszlo.
Amy Muntz delivered a convincing plea for open source contributions to the OpenLaszlo project. If you are a designer or programmer and want to show off a really cool application or component. This is the place to go. and off course you can also contribute to the overall development of the engine.
The only disappointment for me was that I didn’t hear a story, how to get this great platform to the desktop. It looks like Adobe is going to deliver Flash based applications to the desktop with the Apollo project. I think that is a great development, because many web-based applications do not need the browser to function, look at Pandora or the very own LaszloMail. They would be better off with loosing the browser back button and navigation bar and trade it in for some local storage. I hope that the upcoming Apollo will play OpenLaszlo Code in Flash as well as in DHTML.
The good news of the evening was that OpenLaszlo 4.0 will be released any week now.
I must conclude, that OpenLaszlo is really hot (70+ attendees are proof of that) and heads and shoulders above developing a Rich Internet Application (RIA) from scratch. Thanks to the folks at Optaros hosting this event.