Whipping up advanced and fun app user interfaces with the Cascades Cookbook!

By Kevin Michaluk on 7 Feb 2012 10:16 am EST

When Research In Motion purchased the Sweden-based company The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), it purchased more than a talented group of people obsessed about advancing user interface design. It also bought TAT's technology framework, called Cascades. TAT's philosophy is that Design Loves Technology, and the Cascades development framework makes it easy for developers to put amazing animations and effects into apps.

We have had a good look at Cascades demos before, but for the BlackBerry DevCon Europe keynote TAT packaged some of them up into a high-tech Cascades Cookbook. Check out the video above to see some very cool effects in action. Cascades is being built right into the BlackBery 10 NDK, so BlackBerry developers will easily be able to bring this kind of quality to BlackBerry apps. 

Reader comments

Whipping up advanced and fun app user interfaces with the Cascades Cookbook!


Enough with the demos. We've been seeing TAT demos for 18 months and nothing tangible other than scrapbook has come out of it. This is part of why RIM's getting bashed by the media. Stop teasing us and put out applications using the technology.

what feels like a year ago, actually may be a year ago, we saw really, really cool demos of a contacts app and a media player using cascades. Even OS 2.0, from what we've seen in recent demos, shows no signs of using those apps.

Stop teasing users with super cool stuff that never gets released. Frankly, I don't want to see another TAT tech demo until it's ready for public release.


Lol. Like I said.. with the BlackBerry 10 NDK. 

I'm **guessing** that gets made available in a few more months. Hmm.. that would be around BlackBerry World in May. Make it availbl then, if BB10 phones are slated for late in the year, will still give devs 5-6 months with the NDK to get out some hot apps using Cascades. 

But I know what you're saying..Teasers Are Torture

Agreed. I'm just afraid that they are hyping 2.0 so much and while Native email/cal/contacts are awesome it's really what should've been there from day 1. The UI should be tweaked with lots of TAT animations and an onslaught of killer applications that aren't available on any other platform should be there. The average joe doesn't care about these teasers. They want all of their favorite apps and the awesome features of Blackberry communication and multitasking. THEN...RIM needs to showcase all of these and convince us via commercials that EVERYONE NEEDS THIS.

I doubt the average user cares about DevCon too. ;)

Also, this is for the BB10 NDK. The OS2.0 is to bring what should have been with the original PB.

And my 3rd point, you have to remember, eventually, Tablet OS will be purged and replaced with BB10.

They need to wow everyone with the BB10 phones. Not take away that first time wow factor away from putting it into an unsuccessful tablet.

They need all the wow they can get. And smartphones is their make or break product.

I agree. I'm just concerned that they are going to be hyping up BB10 to a point where it's like the prequels for Star Wars. There is no way to live up to that kind of hype.

It's not an NDK issue. Why haven't they incorporated TAT design/apps in RIM developed aspects of OS 2.0? Surely they can do that prior to a public NDK release.

I'm only ranting about this because 12 months ago these demos helped. People saw them and thought, cool, this UI will be awesome and these apps will be awesome. Then nothing. More evidence to those looking for it that RIM can't execute. These demos hurt now. The developer community has seen them yet can't use the tools yet. End users have seen them, yet can't use the results of the tools. Not even with RIM developed integrated apps. Every time an analyst/tech reported sees this they now think vapourware. And, 12 months later, rightfully so. IntoMobile, for instance posted TAT demos a year ago today, yes, that's right 12 months ago, that "blew them away" - no such favourable commentary today.

I can't wait to see the fruits of this aquisition, but, I hate to say it, I stopped holding my breath when I turned purple six months ago.

It just pains me when skeptics now laugh when they see these demos as more examples of RIM missing opportunities and not being able to develop in a realistic time frame.

rant over.

It looks like magic but they're not magicians. TAT can't just pull out the Cascades NDK for QNX out of their asses. But it looks like it's almost ready which is great for developers and quality, beautiful apps.

I agree with you; more talk on what "might be" or what "could be". And nothing tangible in the form of "here it is, go
use it now".

You clearly didnt see redesigned AppWorld yet, did you? We had a picture here in CB and it looks pretty good.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

TAT is prepping NDK so that any developer can use those cool features (or magic) and I am sure it is no easy task. BB new platform should attract developers and this is the only way.

Hey, isn't RIM's logic here: let's first get TAT team focused on developing tools for NDK, which all developers can then use in their apps to make the cascades expieriance available in all future apps, rather than have TAT spend their time on developing a few native applications and have devs left out with standard tools?

Looking good as always.

As for you complainers, boy how you must feel entitled to a TAT UI or something. BE optimistic. I get that you're babies because "wah wah 18 months yada yada" but still, they have a team, who is doing the stuff you see here. Let's hope it means a wonderful BlackBerry user experience going forward. Drop the girlfriend mentality - jesus!

Just don't want to make it to August when my renewal is up wanting to ditch my iphone 4 for a bb10 device and be disappointed..again. What's wrong with wanting an unbelievable and amazing device in functionality and presentation?

I wish they would tell us when. They originally told us Fall of 2011. I'm looking forward to building some interesting things with this, but it's hard to get too excited if we have absolutely no idea when ordinary developers who aren't connected to RIM will get to use these things. So it is interesting, but also a bit frustrating to be honest. There is learning curve and design time for us, so if they want lots of cool native Cascades apps to show off on BB10, they need to ship these Cascades tools.

Where is that TAT enabled Contacts app that allows you to see that scrolling 3d image of your contacts? That was introduced last Summer.

I would call myself an average user and to me this looks amazing! That photo viewing app looked so nice and crisp. And honestly who cares if They don't actually release apps cause it is important for developers to see that this will be built in and in turn make them want to create more apps with ease which gives consumers better, and nicer looking apps.

Im not kidding. I bought the 64gb 2 months ago and... The only reason i did, was because BB buying TAT. TAT brings everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TAT ftw!

Is this some sort of joke?!? Didn't they demo this stuff at the last Dev Con!??

And when is RIM going to realize that their whole presentation style of having 2 presenters and asking a bunch of pre-written questions, pretending like they're off-the-cuff, is terrible. Just let the TAT guys up there and let them talk about their UI. They are the ones who designed it. They are obviously attached to it, and so it will show in their presentation that they believe in it, rather than some schmuck RIM executive pretending to know what he's talking about.

The contacts demo was mildly intriguing but the cookbook and photo stuff was nothing special. Just looks like the Appleization of Blackberry. That is, a lot of cosmetic effects that don't improve efficiency or functionality. For all the talk of interaction between programmer and designer, it just looks like an art department who doesn't actually use this stuff ordered the programming team to implement some animations. Watching a page float onto the screen as the bottom corner curls is an interface breakthrough? Nonsense.

TAT Cascades project is a major undertaking involving millions upon millions of lines of code....Major.....Major engineering feat....Not too mention BB10 platform will push into the embedded market such as Automobile OEM infotainment systems, embedded medical devices for use in the medical industry etc requiring even more engineering for the NDK....Cascades is a major development undertaking for TAT/RIM.

We will see the fruits of this soon enough.....Just be thankful that even a hobbyist app developer will be able to create stunning apps with the NDK. Cascades has been in closed beta for awhile now...Soon to be public beta....A bit of patience will be worth it, as we'll see the results of this soon enough :)

Yes, but it is only used as a data source for the demo. I.e. the number of Skype calls vs phone calls vs. emails etc. So it doesn't have anything to do with Skype being released for the Playbook.

like everybody else had already sayd.. when this freaking cascade will be actually available??? just give a released date of those apps... almost a whole year fronting with the same picture app ans contacts and still have not delivered... that is so dumb.. come on RIM i know you can do better than that, just released the freaking cascades already,, is kind of boring, fronting and fronting and dont released