Project Siena

27 באוקטובר 2014

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Last week, I was at Microsoft’s HQ and was introduced to fairly new project called “Project Siena”  , targeting the “Windows Store Application” world.

siena

What is “Project Siena”?

Basically project “Siena” is a tool (application) for creating HTML and JavaScript based windows store application.

Using that tool, you can create application rather quickly, connect to your data sources, create the UX and publish it to the store.

The purpose of the tool is to simplify the process while maintaining some freedom in designing and creating your application.

“Project Siena” is available (as for the current Beta 3 version) only at Windows 8.1.

Is “Project Siena” is for me?

At “Siena” , no programming is required. At most, you can use Excel-like expression to manipulate the filters and controls of the tool.

the audience can be technical business expert, analysts, project / product managers and developers.

As always, coding background can be very helpful but it’s not required.

The Visuals

The tool has all you would expect for a design tool, it has a nice and clean IDE.

While some of the features can be arranged differently (in my opinion), after an hour or so , you’ll get around just fine.

The working surface looks something like this:

Microsoft-Project-Siena_1

It looks like a basic windows store application: you have your settings on the right, an application bar with all the available actions (at the moment) on the bottom and an upper “flyout” menu to navigate throughout the objects.

The visuals (controls) include the following categories:

  • Audio and Camera
  • Buttons, Checkboxes, Dropdown lists and the other basic UI controls
  • Galleries and collections that enables you to create custom data controls
  • Basic shapes
  • Social network connections and Video player

As you can see, you basically got all you need to build an application from the ground up.

A complete application might look something like this:

project-siena-screenshots

The data sources

“Project Siena” was built-in support for the following data sources:

  • Local data (excel file for example)
  • Remote data (RSS, Azure mobile services and SharePoint lists)
  • Social networks (Facebook, twitter and YouTube)
  • Bing data
  • Custom data

Custom data is support via WADL documents to connect to REST based web services.

While it has full support for “GET” actions, other actions for “POST” , “PUT” and “DELETE” are still pretty complicated to handle (at least in the current Beta 3 version).

Final words

Every designer tool has its strengths and weaknesses, it depends on your application needs.

While retrieving information for your REST services or other external source, is pretty easy , updating data (like adding items to a cart, updating customer data and etc.) as rather complicated at this stage, so please take notice of that.

In any case , I would definitely encourage you to give it a try , it’s free!

You can download the app here.

More resources can be found at “Project Siena” home page.

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