The Microsoft Effect

The web, myself included, is getting all giddy about CSS3 and the way it will make Rich User Interfaces more prominent on the web. CSS this and border-radius that. Look mom, no images etc. etc. The reality is that the web design skills gap will now get wider, not narrower. Rolling up your sleeves and having a go will just look like that you’re, well, having a go. Basic, won’t cut it, adding some effects here and there won’t cut it. Rich user interfaces will become even more important and so the bar will be set very high. Consequently branding will start to make serious demands on any web presence. All because Microsoft is finally catching up.

I’m I the only one with the feeling that we’re now getting somewhere with CSS3 and HTML5? I can soon stop dreaming and actually have my cake.
So just fire-up my CanvasPro™ app and start making the greatest web content man has ever seen. … Well, that’s if we any such software, skills or even opportunity. The painful truth is that even if we get <canvas> on all major browsers it won’t mean very much until we get some tooling to utilise it. Handcrafting effects and animation well result in a very, very low adoption. Designers and artists are not going to en-masse learn how to code quadratic functions just to make boxes with rounded corners.

What we need is a Fireworks like app to make HTML5’s <canvas> happen. 

I’m actually pretty optimistic that we will see software add <canvas> and SVG animation/effects. Or that someone will just build a new app from scratch and kick off a new era in web design software. Just like Adobe once did for DTP.

Personally, I’ve been using Pixelmator instead of Photoshop for a large chunk of my work. Some of the vector software is very close to replacing Illustrator. I haven’t made that switch yet, I can imagine it’s a bit like giving up cigarettes or heroin even. Any of these new powerful and user friendly apps can be made to generate <canvas> output. I hope they will.

It will be interesting to see what Adobe does. If Microsoft gets <canvas> running it will put Adobe on the back foot. I can even imagine Microsoft leveraging Silverlight technology to make <canvas> work. It would be balsy move and one that would put everybody on the back foot. Has the sleepy giant awoken to do battle or just to catch up? I honestly can’t tell. Whatever their plans are, this current push for web standards in IE9 is already having an effect. Bravo, I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Next entry: Steve on Flash
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