Thursday, May 21, 2009

RIA Sketching and Prototyping Tools

I'm really excited to see this soon-to-be-released RIA 'Sketching/Prototyping' apps like: Adobe's Flash Catalyst, Microsoft's SketchFlow (part of Expression Blend 3) (try-it here) and the open-source Fluidia.

I've just seen this Microsoft SketchFlow presentation and i really liked some ideas that improve what i'm currently trying to do with InDesign:

  • [~21min of the video] Easily create a component of anything to reuse on other pages . I like Master Pages, which is pretty standard, but the 'component' idea is really powerful. (InDesign does it, but here its faster)

  • [~27min] Add states to pages (i.e insert modal popups, etc): That's a pain to describe and show on static documents, with States you simply create the damn thing.

  • [~30min] Documentation: It creates a word doc of every screen and state that you can further describe... that's nice, BUT this SketchFlow app itself should have this, like powerpoint notes for each page/state [it wasn't shown, but it might have it].

  • [~37min] Sample Data handling: That's nice! it easily creates dummy or sampled databases of anything: photos, addresses, etc. I'm pretty sure that's easily plugged to the Facebook, Flickr, Freebase APIs or even connect directly to a DB.

  • [~42min] Behaviors:  add & reuse interaction patterns (like drag'n'drop) just via UI (although you can edit the code).

Hope to try this three apps very very soon...


  1. You were asking about notes. SketchFlow (and Blend 3 in general) supports annotations for either individual elements on the page, or for the whole page. Works pretty much analogous to comments in Word or Visio.
    Annotations are (of course) accessible through the UI in Blend, but also via the underlying XAML file, so that they also work great to communicate with developers (even in VS) on the same team.
    When you create design documentation, the annotations are also included.