Announcement: Gskinner Lightweight Interface Components

I’m really happy to announce my latest internal project, named glic (previously Daedalus), or “gskinner lightweight interface components”. My company ( spends a lot of time building rich internet applications, and we grew really tired of working around v2 issues, and explaining major issues like file size and CPU usage to clients, so we finally decided to do something about it, and glic is the result.

glic is a completely new component set, written from scratch. It is functional, easy to integrate, and was written to work effectively in rich internet applications or online experiences. More information will be available in the coming weeks, but the core features of glic include:

  • 75% smaller filesize than Macromedia’s v2 components
  • much lower CPU usage
  • simplified skinning system
  • advanced tabbing management
  • effective, understandable code architecture
  • Flash Player 6 compatible
  • enhanced tabbing management
  • improved event model
  • polymorphic with v2 components, no learning curve. In most cases, v2 components can be seamlessly replaced with glic with little or no additional modifications

That last one is especially important, because it means that you can use glic without having to relearn how to work with components – the interface that you use to work with them (methods, properties, events) is almost exactly the same as the one for the Macromedia v2 components.

Below is an example of a demo application we retrofitted with glic. This application was built a few months ago, before glic was conceived, but the retrofit only took about an hour to accomplish (and much of that was due to beta issues).

The initial size of the application was 80kB with v2 components (65kB of which is components). The glic version is only 31kB (16kB of which is components).

Here are some before and after screenshots, featuring one of the skins we will be including with the components:

List-view before

List-view after

Edit-view before

Edit-view after

Our goal is to make glic an affordable alternative to the Macromedia v2 component set. For more information, please keep an eye on this blog, and on the glic site at

Grant Skinner

The "g" in gskinner. Also the "skinner".



  1. Hi Grant,

    the advantages over mm’s v2 components sound great (including the design). I’m really looking forward to take a look / work with glic.

  2. Glicalicious!!

    Congrats to you and your team Grant – everything looks great. Looking forward to seeing more.

  3. Great stuff Grant! Looking forward to giving it a whirl, are you planning a beta?

  4. oh my god! oh my goooood! slick!

    — ahemmm : what components are in there (besides what we can see) ?

  5. Great stuff! But, I’m easily swayed by cheesy marketing gimicks, and the “By the power of Greyskull” He-Man reference is ultimately what sold me on it, sight unseen πŸ™‚

  6. Vidal Hulbert July 12, 2004 at 12:24pm

    I’m really looking forward to the release of these components. I hope that they solve some of the issues I’ve been experiencing with the DataGrid and DataSet components, such as the following:

    1) If DataGrid is bound in/out to DataSet by DataProvider only, when combined with CheckCellRenderer, the scroll bar jumps to the top when you click on a checkbox.

    2) When using the DataSet filter function, when DataSet is bound (Out) to DataProvider and (In/Out) to SelectedIndex, the entire grid flashes with the color of the Selected Row state. Also when sorting, the 0 index always remains selected.

    3) Row highlight on rollover doesn’t work without a bunch of extra scripting when rolling over checkboxes with CellRenderer and other Renderer buttons.

    4) DataGrid headers are not easily skinnable to a single color since they are drawn with the DrawingAPI with a gradient, and there’s a style setting for only one of the colors.

    If your components address these issues, that would be outstanding!

  7. These rock, and I can’t wait to use them. What about 508 issues, for screen readers, etc? Is Glic’s 508 compliance enhanced as well?

  8. Excellent work, are these really interchangeable with V2 components, or are there features dropped? Man..if this promise to be what i hope for, i’ll buy a company-wide license instantly!

  9. How’d you guys get He-Man’s phone number?

  10. Advanced tabbing management and enhanced tabbing management? now that’s more than I could ask for πŸ™‚

  11. Yay!

    The compression on those images, really killed the pretty skins πŸ™‚

  12. Kingston Fung July 12, 2004 at 5:11pm

    Looks and sounds very amazing. Will look forward to see more!

  13. mike chambers July 12, 2004 at 6:40pm

    >some of the issues I’ve been experiencing with the DataGrid and DataSet components,

    Grant, do your component support data binding?

    mike chambers

  14. Just a little nibblet for those reading.. what Grant said and put on display here isn’t close to the coolness of seeing it in action.

    I’m not going to reveal anything more than what he has shared, but it WILL be worth the wait.

  15. It looks great,

    but to me the most anoying problem with the Macromedia components is the lack of a comperhensive API documentation describing how to use the components programaticaly. (It took me about 3 hours to find out how to use the v2 scrollbar component independently of the other components.) If you guys can deliver that you will have real killer product.

  16. Great to see you demo these at FF. Like many others, I’m looking forward to playing with these when they become available.

  17. well done!! i come from a programming background, and after spending literally days trying to develop a decent multi-form application with custom skinning in flash (and getting weird performance problems and ui/event glitches) i was going to rewrite the whole thing in java – it would have been way quicker in retrospect.

    but, the promise of decent, skinable, lightweight gui components has given me hope again for flash. if you are looking for a beta tester, i am keen to help (with the obvious devious plan of getting to use your new components early).

    also, any chance of setting up a small mail list so we can be notified when GLIC is ready for purchase? (i assume you will be selling them?).

    what is the ETA for a first release?

  18. Doing some of my first MM2004 use of components, I noticed the huge hit some of these components take on flash. Some of it its unacceptable. Well to tell you the truth, I’ve been working on a set of components myself for our team. Implimenting MX04 calls, and keeping file size and mem usage down as much as possible. Even with novice-to-component-construction skills, I’ve been able to cut sizes dramatically and make the theming of the components easier.

    My beta ComboBox weighs in at 11.9% the size of the MM ComboBox (.swf file size). To tell you the truth I cant think of how much useless bloated stuff is in the Flash components.

    Excited to see what you guys are bringing to the table with these components.

  19. Sean McKibben July 20, 2004 at 1:33am

    These sound better than what Macromedia could have done. Maybe they’ll buy them and drop their kludgy implementations so that we can all have better access to a decent RIA platform.

    I remember a year ago we were all thinking that this needed to happen, but it looks like Grant actually made it happen. Thanks man, now, what’s your price to make these open source? πŸ˜‰

    How about all of us that are near our renew date for DevNet just send that renewal money your way instead? We’d get a better return on our investment!

  20. olivier hericord July 23, 2004 at 2:31am

    whaouuuu great….

    i was just writing the first lines of a new flash project…

    so i have just one question.



  21. Can you give us a release date pls ?

  22. One question grant…



  24. I’ll second that !!! Some feedback please. Maybe the release strategy a la SP2??

  25. my english is very bad.

    but WHEN ???

  26. Hey Grant, any idea on a release date for these? Maybe put out a subset instead of waiting for the full meal?

  27. Monthly “when” /pester πŸ™‚

  28. When will it be released…

    hopefuly soon? Could you give a rough hint…

    Should we wait or use V2 Components if the projekt has to start in the next month?!

  29. i guess this isnt gunna happen eh

  30. Yeah am trying those skinning components with V2 and its a miracle to wait for such a sweet product.

    Am sure I wud use it asap..

  31. amazing thats its possible, to single handedly rewrite the components.

    might be biting off a huge project though?

    but sounds fantastic if possible

    any ideas of when?

    why not licence them back to MM

  32. Great!

    Now, there are two features that I love about Flex and will obviously never make their way into Flash V2 Components…. are you planning to implement them??

    – Containers + Layout Management

    – Data Binding ( with binding chains )

    aah one last thing…

    while( noNews ) trace( “when!?” + “how much!?” );

    Best Regards,


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