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Apple’s Gianduia: False Alarm or Flash-Killer?

May 9, 2010

From PCWorld:

Is Apple really building out its own alternative to Adobe’s Flash?

That’s been the rumor of the weekend across the Web, but it’s all based on a single Twitter message by Apple developer Jonathan “Wolf” Rentzsch. The tweet, nearly a year old, describes Apple’s Gianduia framework—a Web-based mishmash of Javascript, HTML5, and CSS that, “essentially is browser-side Cocoa (including CoreData) + WebObjects, written in JavaScript by non-js-haters.”

The framework, debuted a year ago at Apple’s World of WebObjects Developer Conference, wasn’t perceived as a Flash-killer at the time of its arrival. In fact, its general purpose closely mirrors that of the open-source SproutCore and Cappuccino frameworks—the former actually serves as the source for Apple’s MobileMe and iWork.com products.

As for Gianduia, Apple’s been using it to construct various Web applications, given that it allows Cocoa developers, “to bring their skills to rich online applications built using web standards, with no need for a proprietary web plugin like Flash or Silverlight,” writes Daniel Eran Dilger on AppleInsider.

Dilger goes on to note that numerous instances of Gianduia-based Web apps have already been popping up across Apple’s site, especially throughout the online Apple Store. The site’s one-to-one program, iPhone reservation system, and Genius bar reservation systems are all examples of Gianduia Web apps.

But a Flash-alternative? Gianduia isn’t a downloadable tool that allows one to construct Flash-style content akin to moving animations, games, or what-have-you. While the framework will surely be open-sourced to follow CEO Steve Jobs’ recent missive against Adobe Flash—”We strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open,” he writes—don’t expect to be able to start throwing down tweens and motion effects via an easy-to-understand interface.

Gianduia allows one to write Web apps in a kind of Objective-C environment to recreate OSX-, iPhone-, or iPad-like interfaces within a Web browser. It’s a framework, not a Flash-killer—at least, not now.

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