It's all good, but not enough D's

Well, I think I’m finished my journey into Flash-land. It was an interesting experience. I’m glad I took a deeper look at it and gained an understanding about what the fuss was all about. The deeper look also left me wondering how free the Flash run-time components for devices will really be and how they’ll actually deliver bits that will run on your favorite device without really opening the source, or at least making it public. But the technology is very interesting and I’d love to see animated UIs on devices become more common place.

But at the end of it, it left me wanting. The big new thing we’re seeing on the desktop is 3D enabled UIs. 2D is good, but I think there are some really exciting things you can do when you add another D to the mix. You can see some of the potential in the UIs presented by console video games. I’ll never forget my first eye opener with the old Rogue Squadron Star Wars game on our first video console, the Nintendo 64, and entering your name with the 3D spinning wheel of letters. It was fun and since you didn’t have a keyboard it made the arduous task a little more pleasant.

What I think is missing, though, is a commonly available widget set that makes it easy to program 3D UIs. There may be some out there, but I’d like to see them become more mainstream. And as more and more devices come with 3D hardware accelerated graphic circuitry embedded in their processors and OpenGL ES 3D graphics API for devices becoming more ubiquitous, I’m hoping the industry can take a more serious look at this. Devices are becoming less resource constrained as we go, but they’ll always be UI constrained. Maybe 3D can help.