One of the nicests Flex apps so far

I’ve been poking around at a new photo application called picnik and I have to say that it is really, really, cool. It’s beautiful, fast, and useful. It feels intuitive. It doesn’t clutter your interface or use gratuitous animation. And using it gives you a feeling of joy.

What I love about this application is that it opens your mind to what a Flex application can look like. It looks deceptively simple, but there are some interesting UI thoughts behind this app. One innovation is that the navigation area serves double duty as an editing bar, saving screen real estate. Another is that they have really paid attention to how you can get your work done without losing data. If you leave the app and come back, you will end up in the same state, editing the same document. If you go into “creative tools” mode, you get multiple steps of undo.

I love seeing this kind of experimentation with Flex UI. Remember that HTML became what it is today after fifteen years of innovation. Flex 2 has been out for less than a year. These are still the early days. Those of us in the Flex community don’t yet know what this technology is capable of.

8 Responses to “One of the nicests Flex apps so far”

  1. Renaun Erickson

    I agree Sho, this app and the whole experience felt just right. Easy to use and navigate application, also they make good use of ToolTip/Popup hints.

  2. Peter Baird

    I appreciate how they’ve thought out the design of the simple things that no one ever thinks out. This is the first flex app out there other than Y!Maps that actually designed the load/initializing bar, and seeing that nice, smooth loading animation took me by surprise and was a breath of fresh air. Also, this is the first app dealing with photos that I’ve seen bitmap smoothing turned on … it’s just the little details that make the difference.

  3. Peter Roman

    Very much appreciate the kind words! As the designer on the Picnik team, I’m particularly thrilled that people are picking up on the details. On a sidenote, Flex has been great to work with. Such a leap forward from having to deal with cross-browser/platform CSS hacks.

  4. Ryan Stewart - Rich Internet Application Mountaineer » Scrapblog and Increasingly Better Flex Apps

    […] We’ve seen Fauxto and Picnik for photo editing and now Scrapblog should come online soon. I’m hoping to see the application from Virtual Ubiquity soon to round out a great suite of Flex apps. (By the way guys, that alpha tester link? If I have to kill someone to get a login, just send me a name ) Sho mentioned in his post on Picnik that HTML took a long time to start to look nice and we’re seeing it with Flex after less than a year. At Threecast, the web startup I joined, we’re taking the same approach that these other sites are and it really shows. A heavy design emphasis has allowed us to get away from the cookie-cutter Flex look and really differentiate the application. I hope we see Flex continue to grow at the pace it has. […]

  5. Yet Another Blog from Luar » Doubt on Flex as the best option (4): Dilemma on Follow HTML style

    […] One of the nicests Flex apps so far […]

  6. Mete Atamel

    Picnik is simple but elegant. It’s a perfect example of how web should be.

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