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14 April 2011, 11:15

HTML5 editor Maqetta to power competition with Flash and Silverlight

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Maqetta Logo At the WebSphere Impact 2011 user conference in Las Vegas, IBM has presented the Maqetta HTML5 authoring tool. The tool is an open source WYSIWIG editor for HTML5, the developing standard that is now partially or largely supported in most modern browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari). Maqetta reportedly gives designers a simple way to create complex and dynamic user interfaces for desktop computers and mobile devices.

The editor is intended for the user experience designers within a company's development team. IBM says that Maqetta allows these designers to work considerably faster. Aside from the WYSIWIG page editor for creating user interfaces, Maqetta offers a Drag&Drop UI for mobile devices that provides device silhouettes of popular devices such as the iPhone, enabling designers to create exact layouts. Other features include the simultaneous editing of a project in design mode and in source mode, a full CSS parser/modeller, and a review and commenting feature that allows developers to submit a UI to their team members for inspection.

The editor also offers wire-frame modelling functions that enable designers to create UI models which look like they are hand drawn, a theme editor for customising the visual styling of widgets within a widget library, and an export feature for exporting UIs to development environments such as Eclipse.

Zoom Maqetta Designer - a tool for editing HTML5.

IBM says that the demand for such an editor is great because the tooling capabilities available in AJAX environments fall short in comparison to Adobe and Silverlight. "We had 120 companies in the OpenAjax Alliance (initiated by IBM in 2006), and the biggest complaint was interoperation of the widgets and the need for visual tooling", said IBM's Vice President Rod Smith. IBM originally started developing Maqetta for its own use; David Boloker, IBM's CTO for Emerging Internet Technologies said that his company required a powerful UI development tool for its own projects, and that Maqetta was created to fill this need.

IBM has now donated Maqetta to the Dojo Foundation so that a developer community for Maqetta can be established through the non-profit organisation. "By contributing Maqetta to Dojo Foundation as open source and free hosted software, IBM hopes to build a community of users and open source developers working together towards strong visual tools for creating HTML5-based user interfaces", said Boloker commenting on the donation of source code to Dojo.

Maqetta is now available to download from Hosted on GitHub, Maqetta source code is licensed under "Dojo's liberal and commercial-friendly open source licensing terms", the BSD license or the Academic Free License version 2.1.

(Harald Weiss / crve)

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