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BlackBerry Cascades Framework Makes Gorgeous UIs With Few Lines of Code

One of the new features of RIM's new BBX OS is support for a new UI framework called Cascades. The brainchild of a Swedish company called The Astonishing Tribe, which RIM acquired in December 2010, Cascades uses just a few lines of text to create compelling UI animations.

With Cascades, developers will have access to a slew of built-in animations, swipes, fades and other gorgeous special effects, without hiring a dedicated animator. Artists will also have the ability to export images from Photoshop and have them seamlessly integrated into Cascades-based apps.

At BlackBerry DevCon today, RIM's Anders Larsson showed off a Cascades based app for maintaining a to-do list where each task was listed as a card on the screen. He also demoed an e-mail app which had complex animations for making messages appear and disappear from the screen. He said that these kinds of effects are built-in to Cascades and easy to implement.

Another develpoer showed how easy it is to adjust the position and movement of a postage stamp graphic, just by changing a single line of code.  RIM also gave a  detailed demo of a Cascades-based photo gallery application and a communications tracker that goes through all of your e-mails, IMs, and social media messages and creates a graphical representation of your most frequently-messaged contacts and topics.