Open-source efforts took a step forward this week, with UserLand Software’s decision to release the source code for MacBird, its software for creating user-interface elements within scripts.

MacBird allows designers to create and edit MacBird "cards" using a draw program with grouping and alignment. Developers can design a user interface and attach UserTalk scripts, JavaScript scripts or URLs to various objects in the card.

Developers are already picking up the MacBird code and beginning to work with it, and UserLand CEO Dave Winer said he hopes MacBird will be ported to the free Linux operating system as well as Be Inc.'s BeOS.

Winer said the open-source MacBird project is aimed at designers, Macintosh users, Linux developers interested in user interface design and technology, and anyone interested in open-source projects.

Winer said UserLand wants to take a back seat in the future development of MacBird, with updates to be made by members of the open-source community.

MacBird defines a plug-in architecture called the Interactive Object Architecture, a common set of callbacks and a record structure that allows MacBird to be dynamically configured with new object types at runtime. Initially, the only interface MacBird supports is the Macintosh Component Manager, part of QuickTime, UserLand said.

MacBird is available via download from the UserLand Web site. A MacBird tutorial is available on Ranchero Software's Web site.

It is bundled with Frontier 6.1, UserLand's commercial scripting software for Web content, and other scripting systems will also work with MacBird.