Introducing Greenhouse

written by Evin Grano

Greenhouse

Well, we have finally done it. At jsconf2010 on Sunday, Mike Ball and I introduced Greenhouse: a Graphical Interface Builder for building blazing fast native-style applications using SproutCore.

Development on Greenhouse started in earnest only a couple of months ago. Mike and I worked in it in only in our spare time, but we have it far enough along to share with the community as a developer preview in SproutCore’s current master branch.

The truth is, we waited a lot longer than most other projects to start on our interface builder. But we didn’t want to start until we could do it right. We wanted SproutCore to go officially 1.0. We needed the API to become stable because there is nothing worse than jumping the gun and delivering a half-baked designer with an API that changes underneath.

So What, Everyone Has a Interface Builder…

While this may be true, no one has really innovated in this space for 20 years. They all seem to look the same. Here is a small sample of them:

Interface Builder

IB

Atlas

Atlas

TIBCO Interface

TIBCO

Ext-JS Builder

ExtJS

So these are good, but they all have the same problem.

If we are to build beautiful web applications, we can’t do it with a cluttered workspace. My wife does mosaics and she can’t really be creative unless she has a space to create in…I think it is the same for developers. We need a workspace for creativity, but these interfaces are cluttered with controls and only give you a small window to see your actual content!

So what can we innovate this space? How do we turn these cramped UIs in to a place where we can create some awesome web applications? Here are the steps that we took:
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