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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.

The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.