Gianduia is being touted as Apple’s (AAPL) replacement for Flash. When you consider that Flash is an application abstraction layer beneath which you can run games and videos, with a user interface and some GUI controls over the top, then perhaps it is. But it’s also quite a bit more.
In actual fact Apple’s ‘Gianduia’ has been around for quite some time. It was introduced last year at the little known WOWODC (World of WebObjects Developer Conference), which is an independent conference organised close to, and at the same time as Apple’s own WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference). Last year Apple gave a closed demo of Gianduia to select developers at WOWODC, and most were impressed.
Apple Retail has also been using Gianduia to create web based app clients, which plug into its own WebObjects based services, for some time. This includes Apple’s One-to-One program, iPhone reservation system, and its Concierge service for Genius Bar reservations and Personal Shopping programs.
Gianduia, which takes its name from a kind of Italian hazelnut chocolate, is effectively a browser based version of Cocoa (also a chocolate derived name). Cocoa, as you most likely know, is Apple’s own Objective-C based OS X development layer. It’s what makes your Mac, or your iPad tick and interact with you. And there you can see how the two are related.
So imagine a lot of OS X, or iPhone / iPad style interfaces in your web browser and you basically have it.
Apple has already been using similar frameworks in their own internet applications: SproutCore is used by the MobileMe team, TuneKit is used by iTunes, Gianduia is used by Apple Retail, Coherent is used by Dashcode 3, PastryKit is used by the iPhone, and AdLib is used by the iPad. But at the moment it’s all a bit fragmented. Perhaps Gianduia will gradually replace all of these.
You can see a browser based version of AdLib running on an iPad style browser here.
With the increase in power of browsers it’s fairly easy for many of these frameworks to produce Flash like visualisations. Most of these are based on the HTML5 Canvas. And that is what people are currently getting excited about and debating where Gianduia is concerned. But the two are actually quite separate technologies. HTML5 is nothing to do with Gianduia, other than the fact that Gianduia can use it.
Check out this demo for an idea of a simple example of the kind of things we are going to see with HTML5 Canvas.
Notice that you can interact with all of the various sides of the cube, and the text contained therein. You can even cut and paste text. Cool eh!
Where Gianduia may become relevant in the future is perhaps with Apple’s own advertising efforts with iAd, and perhaps as a replacement for Flash on the iPhone / iPod Touch, and the iPad – and even perhaps in OS X. By replacement I actually mean, fill the gap that Flash has supposedly created by not being allowed on Apple’s mobile platforms.
With the power of HTML5 canvas wrapped in a Cocoa / Cocoa Touch style interface in Safari or Mobile Safari, you have a very cohesive look to both web apps and also desktop apps. Which can be used to make adverts interactive, and also bridge the gap between computer desktop / touch interface and “Cloud” based aps.
Let us know your thoughts about Gianduia in the comments.