Microsoft Sparkle

By Deane Barker on November 7, 2003

Microsoft to Automate ‘Avalon’ Coding With ‘Sparkle’: What a lot of people don’t remember is that when Flash came out, back when it was called FutreSplash, Microsoft saw the writing on the wall and tried to shut down Flash before it started with something called LiquidMotion. It died hard and fast.

“Watch out, Macromedia. Here comes Microsoft ‘Sparkle.’ According to press reports, Sparkle is an animation toolset that will likely emerge as part of the Longhorn wave of products/technologies. Some are describing Sparkle as a Macromedia ‘Flash killer.’”

But, Sparkle may be more than just a Flash clone:

“Comparing Sparkle and Flash is ‘kind of an apples and oranges comparison,’ says one Windows developer familiar with Sparkle, who requested anonymity. ‘On the surface, it looks like Flash, but it’s really a programmable “thing” for doing stuff with Avalon. It’s really designed more to make your existing applications do really cool stuff.’”



  1. Of course it is more than flash. Why would Microsoft create something that will compete with Flash. The idea is so obvious I don’t know why someone would think that it is only a Flash “clone”.

  2. If Sparkle is included in either Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Studio 2007 will the graphics and animation toolset have a timeline?

    If the answer to this question is yes, then I think Flash will be dead by 2010 once both the client version of the Longhorn operating operating system is released in 2006 (Windows 2006) and the server version is released in 2007 (Windows Server 2007).

    If the answer is no, then Flash will live beyond 2010.

    I use and like both Visual Studio and Flash since I am a web application developer and web designer and code in C#, Visual Basic.NET and ActionScript.

    Microsoft appears to be beefing up the design features and functionality of Visual Studio with Sparkle for both windows and web applications.

    The question I have, will Microsoft purchase Macromedia and incorporate the best design and animation features of both Flash, Dreamweaver and Fireworks into Microsoft’s Visual Studio and FrontPage? Will there be any surprise announcements on March 24, 2004 from Bill Gates?

    If Microsoft did this, Visual Studio would truly be an Integrated Development Environment for both designers and developers for both the web and windows applications.

    Microsoft seems to be committed to “fat rich smart clients”, read Windows applications, and not “thin poor dumb clients” read Web applications.

    The Longhorn operating system with its Avalon graphics subsystem and related toolsets are what you have to watch along with the new markup language XAML.

    The beta releases of Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2007 are where you will most likely first see some Sparkle.

    Microsoft could add to the Microsoft Office suite a new application that incorporates the best features of both Flash, Dreamweaver and Fireworks with its own efforts with Sparkle and call it Cool.

    By guess is they will first focus on beefinig up the functionality of Visual Studio in both the design and development areas. Always get the developers working on applications for your operating system first and then focus on the needs of the consumer or the average user.

    Also watch to see if Microsoft has a new consumer application to be included into the Microsoft Office suite 2006 that focuses on animation, graphics and video.

    I think Microsoft wants a rapid and massive movement on both the client and server side from existing computer systems to their code-named Longhorn operating system. The stunning presentation of all forms of multimedia content which also includes games is the only reason I can think of to make people switch from their existing software and hardware, and buy an entirely new system.

    If they pull it off, say good bye to both Macromedia and Apple. Microsoft has been real friendly to the developer community. I cannot say the same about Macromedia and Apple.

    Any comments

  3. It only seems that something new will only take hold if there is a significant advantage to push change.

    What about SVG? IS this a competing technology? I’ve heard that Sparkle has some resemblance to SVG. Will Sparkle graphics be bundled with Explorer (no plugin) ? SVG also has a huge advantage over Flash that Sparkle will probably have being that it is XML based – is that it is text searchable.

  4. By using Z-orders in CSS layers, Flash sites can be made (kind of) text searchable . Contact me if you have any questions. Hope this helps anyone. Dafin.

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