Ending active development of QuickUI

I’ve decided to end further investment in the development of the QuickUI web user interface framework.

I’ve spent the past half-year experimentally porting various QuickUI components to HTML custom elements under the rubric of a project called Quetzal. That project makes use of Google’s Polymer project, which supports the deployment of web components to mainstream browsers. While the Quetzal element collection doesn’t yet offer the complete set of QuickUI components, and working on top of Polymer has been shaky at times, Polymer is becoming good enough for real use, and the advantages of building with web standards will quickly outweigh any proprietary advantages which QuickUI could offer.

I started QuickUI a number of years ago because it seemed clear to me that a component-oriented approach to UI design and development would let you create better and more maintainable user experiences. I didn’t see anyone else working on that in an open way, and so began my own effort to make progress in that area.

The current wave of web component standards embody many of the ideas I was pursuing in QuickUI. For fun, I just dug up from my notes the earliest source code I could find for the component markup language I thought would be useful for creating web components. Here’s sample QuickUI markup I wrote at the very beginning, probably late 2007:

<control name="taskPage" arguments="name pageTip content">
  <style>
    h1 { font-face: Arial; }
  </style>
  <script>
  function foo() { }
  </script>
  <template>
    <div ...>
      <h1>%name%</h1>
      <p class="pageTip">%pageTip%</p>
      <div id="#content">
        %content%
      </div>
    </div>
  </template>
</control>

Here’s the corresponding source code in late 2013 for the same custom element in Polymer:

<polymer-element name="task-page" attributes="name pageTip">
  <script>
  function foo() { }
  </script>
  <template>
    <style>
      h1 { font-face: Arial; }
    </style>
    <div ...>
      <h1>{{name}}</h1>
      <p class="pageTip">{{pageTip}}</p>
      <div id="#content">
        <content></content>
      </div>
    </div>
  </template>
</polymer-element>

Aside from minor syntactic differences (curly braces are in vogue now instead of percent signs; “attributes” instead of “arguments”; the style tag needs to be inside the template instead of outside; the element name requires a hyphen), the source code is nearly identical. In other words, the source code I wanted to be able to write in 2007 is essentially the source code I can now write today. Hooray for the open web!

Going forward I’ll be using web components for my own work rather than QuickUI. If you have been using QuickUI or were interested in QuickUI, I would encourage you to look at adopting web components instead, either through the Polymer project or through similar projects such as Mozilla’s x-tags.

I’ll continue to keep the quickui.org site live for the indefinite future. In particular, for the time being I’ll continue to use this blog to post thoughts on developing user interfaces, with a focus on using web components.

To those of you that used QuickUI or provided feedback on it, I’d like to offer my warm thanks for all of your support.

Best,
Jan Miksovsky

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