Thursday, February 25, 2010

Multitouch on Windows MEAP now available!

I've been working on a Manning Book called Multitouch on Windows with a subtitle NUI Development with WPF and Silverlight. I'm writing this book to accomplish two things. One, of course, it will teach you about developing multitouch applications using WPF 4 and Silverlight. The other, and perhaps more important, thing is to teach you about the new ideas and new ways of thinking required for creating natural user interfaces. There is a lot of talk about NUI at a high level, and a lot of interest in multitouch development and APIs, but there are not many resources out there to bridge the gap. This book does bridge the gap, and I hope it will give you everything you need to create multitouch application that live up to the potential of the natural user interface.

Today Multitouch on Windows became available under the Manning Early Access Program (MEAP). That means that if you pre-order the book, you get access to the chapters as I write them, before they go through the full editing and review process. This gets you the information now, and also gives you the opportunity to provide feedback, if you choose, and help improve the overall book. If you get the MEAP, then whenever I send Manning a new chapter or update an existing one, they will send you an email with a download link. When the book is complete, you'll also get the final e-book, or the e-book and printed book, if you choose that option. (There is a MEAP FAQ for more details on this.)

Right now chapter 1 "The natural user interface revolution" and chapter 4 "Your first multitouch application" are available to MEAP subscribers. Chapter 1 is also available as the free chapter, and you can download it right now! As this is an early look at the book, there are still a few quirks in the formatting and the illustrations, but all the content is there.

Please take a look at chapter 1, available from Manning's book page. It has a lot of very interesting ideas about natural user interfaces that build upon what I talk about in this blog. I hope you'll decide to subscribe to the MEAP. I really want your feedback, too. Feel free to email me directly or participate in the Author Online forum set up for this purpose.

To go along with the book, I have also setup a website at This site is about the book, what events I will be speaking at, and general natural user interface resources. Right now there isn't much there, but I have big plans for it. The only thing I will say now is that the site will soon be a complete multi-touch experience.

One last housekeeping note: Prior to yesterday, I had been referring to this book as Multi-touch development with WPF and Silverlight. After some conversations with the very talented people at Manning, we decided to update the title as it is now. I only mention this in case there is any confusion.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

OCGM: Universal Foundational Metaphors of Natural User Interfaces

Update 6/6/2011: Download link fixed again.

After all the discussions of Objects, Containers, Gestures, and Manipulations this past month, Ron George and I decided to write a scholarly paper on the subject. We had discussed OCGM on our blogs and had some great discussion with others, but we wanted to show the academic justification for the ideas. First, we had to find a place to publish.

Conveniently, Steven Seow from the Microsoft Surface team was organizing a NUI workshop for April 10, 2010 at the CHI'10 conference. They were seeking position papers and the deadline was January 15th. I spent some very late nights that week researching, collaborating with Ron, and writing, editing, and rewriting. We agreed that Ron would be first author since the ideas originated with him from his work, and I would be in the last position as main author since I did the research for the conceptual justification of OCGM and wrote the paper itself. In the end, the paper ended up laying out some very interesting ideas about OCGM. We submitted the resulting paper, and just heard on January 31st that it was accepted to the workshop!

I've very excited about this, not only because of the opportunity to speak at another major conference, but also it means that the OCGM concept is published in a major peer-reviewed academic publication, which gives it a lot of credibility.

You can download the paper below. It is only five pages and is a quick read. I would humbly recommend it to anyone interested in Natural User Interfaces or OCGM. Let me know what you think!

Objects, Containers, Gestures, and Manipulations: 
Universal Foundational Metaphors of Natural User Interfaces

Ron George, Joshua Blake

In this paper, we propose Objects, Containers, Gestures, and Manipulations (OCGM, pronounced like Occam’s Razor) as universal foundational metaphors of Natural User Interfaces. We compare OCGM to existing paradigms using SRK behavior classification and early childhood cognitive development, and justify the “universal” and “foundational” descriptors based upon cognitive linguistics and universal grammar. If adopted, OCGM would significantly improve the conceptual understanding of NUIs by developers and designers and ultimately result in better NUI applications.