News: WireframeSketcher: Create UI prototypes in Eclipse
WireframeSketcher is an Eclipse plugin for creating wireframes, screen mockups and UI prototypes. What is UI prototyping and what is it good for? Scott Ambler defines it this way: User interface (UI) prototyping is an iterative development technique in which users are actively involved in the mocking-up of the UI for a system. UI prototypes help you: * Analyse and better understand the requirements. * Explore possible solutions. * Improve the usability of your system. * Communicate more clearly the UI design ideas. WireframeSketcher is a tool that lets you make UI prototyping part of your toolbox. Being an Eclipse plugin it's easy to integrate into your development workflow. How it works? WireframeSketcher provides a library of pre-drawn, text-driven widgets that represent common UI elements. You drag them into the editor to quickly mockup your screens. Text-driven widgets let you quickly change the displayed data without getting lost in graphical details. For example to display a table you just specify the data in the CSV format. Screen mockups are stored in XML format in files with .screen extension. You can easily store them under the source control and share them with the rest of the team. The master screens feature allows you to reuse common UI parts without duplicating your efforts. External images can be included in your mockups and let you represent virtually any element that is missing from the provided widget library. WireframeSketcher is a commercial product. Commercial licenses will be available in a few weeks and will cost around $60 per license. Open-source developers can get a free license upon request. For more details please visit: http://wireframesketcher.com
- Posted by: Peter Severin
- Posted on: March 25 2009 23:04 EDT
- Seems a bit steep by marc schipperheyn on March 26 2009 07:11 EDT
- deja vu by Patrick Angeles on March 26 2009 23:24 EDT
- iPlotz by Borut Bol??ina on March 27 2009 14:52 EDT
- Here is another one to look at by Ben Wong on March 31 2009 15:33 EDT
Looks kind of ok if a bit simplistic. But at $50-80 a bit on the steep side. Personally I use Visio, one of the better MS product imho. Expensive, but for me: very very productive when it comes to ui sketches. All I really need is some ui components to make my life easier there.
Visio is not only expensive. Visio is on a completely different scale. You can use visio to create chart, reports, integration with Office. You can use visio to create many more types of models You can use visio in forward an reverse engineering for many model type And finally, visio is also a pain to use! in my personal opinion, you can do many things with it, but you wouldn't wonna!
http://www.axure.com/ about 10x the cost, but it's very good, creating drag and drop functional html prototypes.
Visio is not only expensive.Even if it is on a different scale and expensive. I'm talking about using it for this purpose. Never mind, the other potential purposes. But fair enough, you can't really see it is a competitive offering. I just looked at this specific use. I think Visio is a joy to use. Especially, the CTRL + Copy then CTRL+SHIFT to horizontally or vertically align to copied object. I use that all the time. But I guess that depends on what you're looking for. Also love the guuui lib I found following up on this article. Anyway, enough praise for MS. Just to offset this: I hate Office.
Visio is on a completely different scale.
You can use visio to create chart, reports, integration with Office.
You can use visio to create many more types of models
You can use visio in forward an reverse engineering for many model type
And finally, visio is also a pain to use! in my personal opinion, you can do many things with it, but you wouldn't wonna!
@marc WireframeSketcher does CTRL-Copy and SHIFT for constrained move and then geometry snapping (smart guides) and more. Perhaps you should give it a try. How about this, you try it and if you like it I'm ready to give you a free license :)
This product looks strikingly similar to this: http://balsamiq.com/ Not just in features, but also in pricing and marketing. Main difference is that Balsamiq has been around longer, and you don't need Eclipse to run it.
@marc Visio is a general diagramming tool. WireframeSketcher specializes in UI mockups only and optimizes everything for that. Think of it as a mix between a GUI builder and a diagramming tool. @patrick The product that first gave me the idea was MockupScreens. Balsamiq came much later although it moved fast so it wasn't the first and not the last mockup tool. Both products being in the same market I guess it's normal to be many similarities between them. Oh, and I see Eclipse requirement as an advantage in many cases. See for example the master screens feature.
Take a look at iPlotz (http://iplozt.com). There ara two versions: on-line and desktop. It is simple, good looking (pencil style), you can create links between the pages and it even has a simple project management section. You can create previews for revisioning etc..
Balsamiq looks wicked. Here is another one I found a while back but never tried out. It is free and looks very polished but no idea how well it actually works. http://www.serena.com/products/prototype-composer/index.html Ben
I have been messing around with Serena's Prototype Composer after I read Ben Wong's posting. It is REALLY nice from what I can see so far.. I can manage requirements (hierarchy), manage the activity flow and run simulations. There are a lot more features that I haven't figured out yet how to use, but from the look of whats available, this more than meets my needs to prototype my web app. I will try to post further updates in a while. Hope this helps.