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Microsoft Gets Fluent

The context-sensitive UI of Microsoft Office 2007 got a name the other day, and developers got a deal in the process. The newly minted Fluent UI boasts all the bells and whistles that garnered Office 2007 so much attention last fall, including the innovative ribbon interface and context-aware controls.

More important, Microsoft is making the Fluent UI available for developers to use in their applications, royalty free. The licensing program will let developers build applications that boast the look and feel of Office 2007 applications, including the context-aware ribbon controls. A Design Guidelines document provides what Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft general manager of the Office Client, describes as "a roadmap for developers implementing the UI."

Among those likely to adopt the program are component and software tool vendors, commercial application ISVs and developers of complex enterprise-level systems.

"The license is available for applications on any platform, except for applications that compete directly with the five Office applications that currently have the new UI (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access)," states Numoto in a press release. "We wanted to make the IP available broadly to partners because it has benefits to Microsoft and the Office Ecosystem. At the same time, we wanted to preserve the uniqueness of the Office UI for the core Office productivity components.

Do you plan to work the Fluent UI into your applications? Let me know what you think of this news at [email protected], and we may publish your responses!

Posted by Michael Desmond on 01/24/2007 at 1:15 PM

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