The Design of Software (CLOSED)

A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. Now closed.

The "Design of Software" discussion group has been merged with the main Joel on Software discussion group.

The archives will remain online indefinitely.

GUI prototype tool.

First, I've never really built a GUI, I am a backend server developer, turned lead...

Sometimes to express my ideas to the developers working on our frontend, a standalone Java app, I'd like to show what I'm thinking in terms of GUI in screenshots, or a working demo.

Are there tools just for this?  The GUI doesn't need to be functional, and can be static - although working menus that dropped down, buttons that pushed, etc would be cool.

I have Linux, Windows and Mac at my disposal, and preferably the app would be free.

nimrod Send private email
Thursday, February 08, 2007
I don't know about Java tools, but I found both Delphi and VS.NET ideal for this role. You can quickly mock up your GUI and make it provide enough apparent functionality to have a useful discussion about your ideas.

You can also make changes in real time during the discussion and end up with a mock up which represents the consensus view, and basically forms a key part of the spec.

Those tools are not free, but you could try the Qt designer in Linux, this is less straightforward but not all that bad. I suppose you could just use it to design forms but not compile an executable - and use that to demonstrate your ideas.
Alan Chambers Send private email
Friday, February 09, 2007
You could also try glade or wxglade, which are particularly good on Linux.

(I have recently tried wxGlade on windows XP, it was really difficult to use - use the tools on Linux).

Their number-one biggest issue, imho, is the lack of an "undo" feature, but if you version your changes, you should be right (Though, it'd be better if real undo was implemented)

You do have a version control system, right?
Friday, February 09, 2007
Why not us PowerPoint? Or if you need more interaction you can use HTML/CSS/JavaScript.
John Topley Send private email
Friday, February 09, 2007
[ ]

Note:  Read the first customer review in particular; sums it up nicely.

The only reason I mention this as a *possible* consideration is that you are able to get an idea of what is usable versus unworkable nightmare while collaborating with others regardless of technical ability PLUS the bonus of not being married to a "working" prototype suddenly gone production because management/customer learns of its existence. 

Also worth mentioning:  It only takes moments to scrap part or in whole and rework an idea where as other alternatives with a computer still require time and overhead, i.e.  Almost everybody can draw a box on paper not everybody can work a particular program to generate a box.
Chris Send private email
Friday, February 09, 2007
I used to work in the automotive industry and the systems engineers there had something called Altia ( very cool tool for mocking up interfaces at any level and any type... Very expensive I presume..
Friday, February 09, 2007
Not free, but for Windows, you could try Mockup Screens (
Bret Send private email
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
Powered by FogBugz