Creating user interfaces with Wireframesketcher

A couple of weeks ago Peter Severin – the creator of WireframeSketcher contacted me and asked me if I would like to test his tool.

Until now I used Balsamiq Mockups to sketch my possible GUIs so I was really looking forwart to testing WireframeSketcher.

WireframeSketcher can be installed as RCP standalone version or as Eclipse Plugin. For a Java/Flex developer like me this is very handy because I can do everything in one tool and don’t have to switch to the Air application Balsamiq Mockups.

WireframeSketcher stores it’s data in XML files (as Balsamiq does). But if WireframeSketcher is used as Eclipse plugin the versioning tools of Eclipse (i.e. SVN plugin) can be used to handle changes done in a team without having to use tools outside of Eclipse. Neatless development 😉

To test WireframeSketcher I considered a simple application (at least in the front-end) which I can use in another project. As you see it’s a simple application so it was not necessary to test all functionality of WireframeSketcher. It was not necessary to test several layout styles and it was not necessary to use the storyboards for an interactive mockup.

But I created custom assets and I love this functionality. WireframeSketcher brings some common GUI components (called Widgets) like a tiltle, a tooltip, a browser window, a list, a datagrid and so on.

With the asset functionality one can use the Widgets to create custom Widgets like some input forms, a more complex table and so on. It’s not complicated to create a custom Widget. Just create a new WireframeSketcher screen and save it in a folder named “assets”.

This matches exactly to create applications in a modular fashion. Every GUI component can be designed as a custom Widget and can be reused all over the application.

While working with WireframeSketcher it just worked smoothly. Widgets can be grouped to move a GUI construct easily over the screen and it was no problem to copy & paste Widgets from one Screen to another. That’s a noteworthy point, i. e. in the UML Tools installable in Eclipse Galileo cut & paste is not possible and one have to edit the XML files – what a pain!

In summary I think WireframeSketcher is a mature and stable tool which fits my needs and I’ll try to convince my employer to use it in the day-to-day business.

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