Apple / rich client : nib2Ajax transform tool ?

Posted: September 3, 2008 in Apple, IT/Dev

With its new (but not free) MobileMe service, Apple provides Ajax rich client applications that look far more advanced than Google ones, and whose user interface and feel is really close to standalone Cocoa versions… there is even a CoverFlow like effect.

Then does Apple have a framework like GWT, to create Ajax applications (with perhaps also transformation of APIs from high level frameworks like CoreAnimation, besides IB) ? The transformer would work from a .nib archive (serialized Cocoa objects) made with Interface Builder. As the (suspended… or perhaps now at Apple) open source project nib4j allowed to generate a Java Swing client application from a .nib… Interface Builder would then be the central piece of client applications development, for various targets : HTML+javascript (Ajax), Cocoa/Yellow Box 2, or the (upcoming ?) Apple RCP (based on Cocoa and providing facilities for calling webservices ?). About nib4j (stopped suddendly… despites even Apple mentionned it in its ADC notes about useful dev tools. It wasn’t free for commercial use, and a demo version – PPC only at this time – can be found here) :
Design Java Swing-based UIs with Apple’s Interface Builder :
nib4j is a simple but powerfull Java library that permits the use of Apple’s Interface Builder to design Swing-based user interfaces. It creates Swing menus, frames and dialogs from Carbon nib files and provides a complete separation of UI and application code. The new version supports the creation of cross-platform UIs with use of JGoodies Forms. With the nib4j Viewer you can try out your Swing interfaces without writing any code and do a cross-platform test showing different Look & Feels. nib4j is completely free for non-commercial use. A developer license is US$ 169. 

More details here :
* Include Carbon nib files in your cross-platform Swing applications
* Use “nib4j Viewer” for trying out your cross-platform UI without
writing any code
* Test your cross-platform UI with different Look & Feels
* Support for about 30 different UI controls
* Easiest application integration with just a few lines of code
* Complete separation of UI and application code
* Automatically generate Java classes with “nib4j Viewer”
* Support for absolute and relative positioning/sizing of the UI
* Support for a grid-based cross-platform layout using JGoodies Forms
* Embed your own customized components in the generated Swing UI
* Use real floating palette windows inside your Mac OS X Swing
* Create group boxes with the original Mac OS X 10.3 style
* Support for internationalization and localization
* Define a custom focus cycle order within Interface Builder


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