As part of the upcoming release of NetWeaver 7.3 (End of this year) we will be releasing a new version of Visual Composer (surprisingly named Visual Composer 7.3). One of the major developments in 7.3 has been to replace the Visual Composer drawing board underlying technology.
[technical part, skip if you just want to see the colors]
Visual Composer’s drawing board, ever since its inception (originally from a startup called GUIMachine) has been based on the Adobe SVG plugin. The plugin enabled creating neat graphics in a very efficient way and gave the VC drawing board a very slick user-experience and look and feel. As important is the fact that the Adobe SVG plugin is highly performant – you could have a model with many many objects without getting a performance penalty.
However, a few years ago Adobe announced that it was discontinuing its support to the SVG plugin and it was time to find a replacement to the old workhorse. We’ve looked into several alternatives, and eventually chose to re-implement the board using Microsoft Silverlight. Basically (with the help of the friends at Microsoft) we wrote the thing from scratch with a few key guidelines:
- We dont need to re-write the enveloping code (The VC client is written in highly performant AJAX)
- We reach the same performance as we had with Adobe SVG
Initially, we weren’t intending to get any ‘additional’ benefits from using Silverlight instead of SVG. This was supposed to be just a technical replacement of one underlying technology with antoher (‘Just’ turned out to be a considerable effort). However – once we finished development it was time to start playing around and making it look way nicer than it did…
[/technical part. welcome back higher management]
Here is the before and after images:
- We’ve just replaced the board, the generated UI is still Web Dynpro Java (HTML/Flex)
- Initially we will be releasing the board as part of VC 7.3, but we will later downport this to 7.2, 7.11 and of course – 7.0. Although the nice colors will only exist in the 7.3 version. Yet another reason to upgrade 🙂
- Colors are not Final… Our UX wizards are still working on this.