A developer's-eye view of Leopard, part I
Xray and Core Animation stand out among Apple's immense bag of new Leopard tricks
It is possible to replicate Core Animation in Tiger, but it would require enormous effort. Tiger developers can get a preview of sorts by playing with the Quartz Composer tool bundled with Xcode. In fact, Quartz Composer animations can be used as Core Animation layers, creating movement within movement that can also include Core Image filters and distortions. Apple's demos don't do Core Animation justice.
See it, show it, send it
Two more goodies round out Leopard's eye-pleasing developer features: Image Kit coalesces the most commonly used elements among all of OS X's image rendering and manipulation facilities into a single framework, and iChat Instant Message Framework allows developers to render arbitrary visual content that iChat automatically encodes and streams to participants in an iChat conference.
Apple's iChat Theater makes use of this facility to share images, presentations, and full-motion video with conference participants. iChat Theater's approach to content sharing is much cleaner, more bandwidth-efficient, and more secure than the full-screen sharing commonly employed in online conferences.
Image Kit provides simple high-level interfaces for taking snapshots with iSight Webcams, displaying slideshows, modifying images, and applying Core Image transformation filters. Again, these are facilities available to developers working on OS X Tiger, but only through the rather painstaking hand-knitting of multiple facilities. This sort of thing is easy for highly experienced Mac developers.
Platform newcomers, as well as developers in a hurry to get solutions to market, will find that Leopard not only provides unique and highly innovative facilities, it exposes them in ways that welcome developers of all stripes. As a result, Leopard's new features will be taken up extremely rapidly by developers, extending the transformation of the Mac platform from the OS all the way up end-user applications.