Interactive prototyping: OpenLaszlo and Dojo Toolkit

Just recently a friend (Lars Grunewaldt) made me aware of the OpenLaszlo environment. It’s an open (and free) XML-to-DHTML / XML-to-Flash environment that comes prepackaged with a tutorial, example apps and a simple IDE. (At least) on the Mac, there’s an installer package that contains everything to be up and running in a minute.

It’s fascinating to see things in the browser coming to life. Life resizing, smooth animation, drag’n’drop, sound effects – you name it. And it’s fairly easy to create new little apps or modify the exisiting ones.

Another very cool thing is the Dojo Toolkit. It’s a set of Javascripts creating all the nice Ajax behaviors. Fascinating. And best of all: it’s all free!

So: Looks like real interactive prototyping has just come one step closer. Still need to evaluate these tools’ utility on a day-by-day basis.

I remember (just one and a half years ago) getting looked at suspiciously in a meeting with front-end developers when I requested drag-and-drop for our front-end technology (I had quite a number of reasonable use cases to strenghten my request). I wouldn’t be laughted at anymore, I guess. Finally things are getting moving.

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