Object Desktop: DesktopX 4

Published on Saturday, October 17, 2009 By Brad Wardell In Object Desktop blogs

It’s been awhile since DesktopX got the kind of love it deserved. And with the new Object Desktop in development, it’s getting some love. 

First, DesktopX is going back to its roots – desktop eXtension.  Specifically, adding objects to the desktop that can be made to do interesting and useful things.

This will have some consequences and opportunities.

On the consequence side, we’re going to pull out features that are rarely used, hard to support, and are just generally not part of the core product.  For example, creating system trays. That was something we hacked in years ago that really shouldn’t have been in there.  In the early days when there was ObjectBar vs. DesktopX there was the desire to have these two programs be all things to all people.  In an age of Windows 2000/XP, we could get away with that.  But with XP/Vista/7, you really can’t, particularly in a world populated with the UAC where many many battles take place that users never see.

On the opportunity side, it sets up DesktopX to support new technologies like WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation). Picture being able to take an object and apply 3D effects to it even if the object itself is static.  There’s a lot of “good stuff” in Windows 7 that we want to make sure DesktopX is positioned to take advantage of.

A big area of change that most people, sadly, won’t notice (though power users might) is the under the cover work to make DesktopX not just work on Windows 7 but actually make use of the “plumbing” of Windows to do things faster, more robustly, and use less memory while doing it.

The target is to have a beta of DesktopX 4 in the next 2 weeks.