Raskin simplifies interaction with computer files

Macworld Australia Staff
3 September, 2010
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Press Release

Spatial memory at core of user experience

ZURICH, Switzerland, – August 17, 2010 – Today, Raskin Software LLC announces the arrival of its zoomable single surface desktop software application. An alternative to Finder on the Mac, Raskin simplifies interaction with your computer.

Raskin was named after and inspired by the work of Macintosh visionary Jef Raskin. “We developed a crude prototype back in 2002 after reading Raskin’s book, The Humane Interface,” says Raskin’s Chief Software Engineer, Martin Halter. “To quote Jef himself: ‘A computer shall not waste your time or require you to do more work than strictly necessary.’ That’s very much what we’re trying to adhere to with Raskin.”

With minimal features, user experience is front of mind for Raskin’s team of Swiss developers. Described by Macworld’s Stuart Gripman as a “huge sliding, zooming bulletin board with buttery smooth animated transitions,” and by OSX Magazine as “a revolutionary app,” Raskin’s strongest selling point may be how closely it resembles the physical world, albeit flattened. By seeing the contents of the computer on one surface, users can rely on visual and spatial memory to find documents. Once a file is located, the user can zoom-in to preview the document before opening.

“It’s a productivity tool for the future,” says Raskin Co-Founder, Michael Rosewich. “Apart from usability addicts, early adopters will likely be people who work in the creative industry. Photographers, art directors, graphic designers and the like who are by default visual people. When you’re trying to find things it helps when you can see what you’re looking for. That’s something most people will find useful.”

Navigating Raskin on a MacBook Trackpad or with Apple’s new Magic Trackpad on a Desktop will be familiar to iPhone and iPad users. “The gestures are all the same, so it’s immediately friendly to use,” says Gregor Battig, Raskin’s Head of Usability. “This puts Raskin on the right side of current trends in HID technologies and interface design.”

In April 2010, Google purchased a company called BumpTop, that had developed a 3D desktop alternative. And in late July, Jef Raskin’s son, Aza, who develops software for Firefox, released a beta version of Tab Candy – a plugin for the browser that picks up on many of the principles found in Raskin.

Raskin Version 1.0.2 is based on user feedback and input from the developer community, including Apple engineers the Raskin team met while attending WWDC10 this past June. This release improves stability, speed and performance for seamless navigation and a better user experience. Raskin has scheduled a major update with new features for late October, 2010.

Raskin is a zoomable desktop alternative to the Macintosh Finder that simplifies interaction with your computer.

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  1. Introducing layout themes and styles in FileMaker Pro 13

    FileMaker Pro, help, inspector, macworld australiaIf you are reading this, you are most likely aware of the benefits offered by FileMaker Pro 13, from streamlining your business’ data to organising projects, but how do you make your FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go database solutions look the part?

    This is where layout themes and styles come in.

    Would you like the layout to show your business logo when your employees are entering data into the database? Would you like to create conformity across all pages, maybe with a colour theme that matches your business?

    In order to increase usability for your database, a well-designed layout will make the solution both appealing to look at, but also more efficient – as those entering or viewing data will be able to easily navigate the fields in front of them.

    What is a style?

    In FileMaker Pro, a style is the way a layout object, layout part and the database’s background appear. This encompasses the colour or transparency of objects and backgrounds, the style of line used within the layout, the borders of objects and parts, the shape of objects, the shadows outside or inside an object’s border, and the display state of an object.

    For example, when your draw a square on your layout, the initial appearance of the square will be determined by the theme currently being used by the layout. The colour of the square, the lines that define it and any shadow that appears are all differing styles that add up to make a theme.

    The initial theme is called the default and ensures that all objects added to the layout carry a similar look. So, if you add a second square to the layout, it will have the same colour and borders. Though this does not have to be the case if you would like to differentiate them.

    And a theme?

    A theme is the collection of a number of styles used in a layout. Themes are the full picture of how your layout or report appears, and encompass all of the individual styles applied to objects, parts and the background. The theme does not affect the way a layout functions, but when you apply a theme to a layout it will alter the way it looks and feels.

    Making alterations

    Adjusting a style in a theme is very simple. If you click on the object, layout part or background you would like to alter, open the Inspector and head to the Appearances tab, you will see the Style label field at the top. This indicates the current style.  If no changes have been made, it will likely read as ‘Default’.

    Alter the style of the object, layout part or background by editing the property settings on the Appearance tab of the Inspector. Once you have made your layout look the way you would like, select the red arrow that will have appeared as you were making your changes and click ‘Save As New Style’.

    Type in a new name for your style and press OK. Continue to create as many additional styles as you would like in your layout. If you would like to apply a style to multiple objects or modify a style slightly between two objects, your previous styles will be available in the Styles list on the Style tab of the Inspector.

    Once you have made all of the changes you would like, you have the option of creating a new theme or saving the changes to the current theme.

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