As a company Crank focuses on customers who are building embedded products. In addition to our professional services we also have a complete embedded user interface development and runtime product: Crank Storyboard Suite ... sign up now for the upcoming public beta!
Many of our customers have existing web based design platforms, often using browser based plugins to provide an API that allows application extension and customization of their products. However, the typical desktop browser is not what an embedded application would deploy.
In the embedded environment 90% of the typical web browser adornments are thrown away. Features such as preferences, bookmarks, printing, toolbars, status bars, extensions, multi-window support and perhaps even dialogs are stripped away leaving only the core technology; layout, rendering and scripting engines.
A custom user interface is crafted around these core technology and provides the visual presentation as a frame into which the browser based functionality can be integrated. This user interface is something that generally defines the consistancy, look and feel of the entire application/system/product.
Storyboard enables a rapid creation of this user interface "frame" and through our plugin base design for conent rendering integrating a browser engine, such as WebKit, becomes a straighforward activity.
Another way to look at it is as follows:
- Storyboard provides a good abstraction layer to allow a product to be quickly developed and then deployed on a variety of operating system and hardware platforms ... flexibility that is good for the product vendor.
- A browser engine, such as WebKit, provides an open and (relatively) standard development model that a product vendor can provide upstream to third parties to allow their products to be extended and enhanced without caring about the details of the end product platform.
A similar type of strategy is often used in cell phones and smart devices, but with Java taking the place of the browser to provide the commone sand-boxed environment for third party applications to run.
... not that we don't like Java, if you want to run that, Storyboard can integrate with that just fine too =;-)