Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

Application Builder for AGTDK: Storyboard Designer

So it is time for a shameless plug … but one with a distinct QNX angle =;-)

After many months of hard work the developers at Crank Software (which includes myself) are ready to release Storyboard Suite 1.0, a multi-operating system, multi-platform designer driven graphical application builder.

At this point you may be either bored or intrigued … in either case you should go and start downloading your free version of Storyboard Suite now!  If you are curious and don’t want to read … go watch a Storyboard video.

Still reading?  Great … now let’s talk about why this is great for QNX developers.  Up to this point if you wanted to build single mode graphical applications on top of Advanced Graphics TDK (aka GF aka Core Graphics) you had a few different options:

  1. Use Flash.  Flash is an awesome platform/tool and you can build incredibly creative and eye popping applications using all of the power and features that Adobe has provided, with a ready pool of skilled Flash developers at the ready … but sometimes Flash is just too big a solution when all you want are a couple of screens and some data displays.
  2. Use the rich C API’s and a (ported) widget library.  This isn’t impossible, but it also means that your software developers are the ones doing the user interface development (and porting) and re-interpreting the graphical design that some artist has created for the product.  This is time consuming and in my experience the software developer rarely gets the vision the graphical designer had in mind when he build the application screens.

Crank Storyboard Suite is composed of two pieces that give you an awesome third alternative:

Storyboard Designer is an Eclipse based graphical application development environment.  It is based on a application hierarchy composed of screens, layers and controls and is driven by a simple, but extensible, event model.  Visual content comes directly from designers as either direct image imports including a sweet PSD file importer that can transform Photoshop layer elements directly into an application’s screen, layers and controls.

The tool exports a data bundle which is used as input for the  Storyboard Embedded Engine, the runtime component that lives on your embedded system.  The engine is easily configurable and plugin based so that it is extensible to any new technologies or trends that appear in the market.

… did I mention that there are videos that you can watch?

By now your download should be finished, so go and give it a whirl.  A few simple examples are included along with a simulator that allows you to run applications you build on your native system if you don’t have an embedded target handy, and if you’ve got questions … well we’ve got forums to ask them in.

With 1.0 now out the door 1.1 (or 1.0.1?) is coming along quick with a focus on user driven feedback and enhancements!  Things like providing additional  WebKit integration for various customers and making simple graphical transforms even easier .. oh and I thought I saw an OpenGLES renderer running in the office too!

Thomas

Note: I didn’t include Photon in the above list, since really if you are using Photon you’ve got a ready solution for building applications, widgets and an application builder at the ready.  It isn’t likely that you graphics designers will find it an environment they want to work in, but they could learn it if they wanted to.

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