Tuesday, July 10, 2012

UIaaS - UI as a Service

Some time back, Salesforce popularized the term - UIaaS (UI as a Service), when they launched VisualForce.

UIaaS essentially means the ability to create new user interfaces using pre-built components. UI components could be pages, controls, static resources, etc. So the concept is to not start from scratch, but use off-the-shelf UI widgets. Typically UI designers are web-based and allow for in-browser UI design.

The underlying technologies for creating UIaaS are –
Server Side: JSF, Portlets, .NET WebParts
Client Side: Dojo controls, JQuery controls, Ext-JS controls, etc.

IMHO, the term is just old wine in new bottle. We used to have concepts of UI Widget Factory that encompasses creating reusable widgets and storing them (with meta-data) in a repository. Application developers would then pick and choose their widgets and design new pages. The reusable widgets could be technical widgets such as a "tab-bar","menu-bar","calendar", etc. or business widgets such as "Healthcare Provider Search", "Google Maps Overlay", etc.