LeanShell: An Office-inspired CSS Theme for Web Applications
I have recently started working on a new pet project (more on this maybe in a later post). I was about to create a WPF desktop app using Microsoft’s Ribbon UI (through a third-party component library). Though actually not new, the Microsoft Office Fluent UI is something really well done in UX terms. Besides, Microsoft-versed users feel right at home in Office-themed applications, so why bother with traditional UI metaphors? No problem, I thought, there are loads of .Net Ribbon controls available for WPF. But on second thoughts, the big downside of WPF is that you cannot use it to create cross-platform desktop applications. In this case, I wanted my app to be a good citizen on all platforms, so I had to look for alternative development stacks (UI, business logic, persistence).
The Best of Both Worlds Challenge
A declarative UI model is a must-have for me (anything less is just a waste of time), so this reduces the number of viable candidates (at least where desktop RAD is concerned): JavaFX is certainly doable, but compared to WPF it feels just very immature and buggy (besides, I am not aware of any decent ribbon implementation for JavaFX). AngularJs is great and does a hell of a job with its neat declarative bindings and web component-style directives. But I needed support for the local file system and did not want to be limited by the browser sandbox.
The Open Source Challenge
LeanControls Source Code on GitHub
Please grab the bits from GitHub.
Addendum (May 2016)
The github repo now features boilerplate starter projects for pure HTML5/CSS3 web apps, AngularJs, and Electron-based apps.