Tools For Devs: Blueprint

One of the hardest parts of development for me is staring at a blank page. Sometimes I dive right into code and it’s always a mistake because having a design doc or a flow chart helps you organize your thoughts and ideas and also provides a workflow for you to focus with. You can say, “ok, today I’m going to work on this page” versus staring at your code and trying to figure out what to do next.

The tool I’m going to recommend this week is actually an iPad app called Blueprint . I know some of you are hesitant about dropping $14.99 on an iPad app so there is a lite version available as well for you to try but I have really found this tool helpful and well worth the $14.99.

Using Blueprint helps me to visualize a project and see the flow of views that I will need. A little bit of planning up front and the coding goes so much faster.

Some of the benefits of Blueprint include:

  • You can build a somewhat working app (albeit basic) within the app itself and then run in a preview mode where you or the customer can interact with the app.
  • It even supports VGA output so your client can watch the preview in a conference room.
  • You can easily see how many scenes you need and the flow of the scenes.
  • Many of the interface elements are available so you can use real elements in your mockups
  • Buttons and tableview cells can link to other views so your demo is interactive
  • Export and email in a variety of formats including PDF so that you can send to your artist so they can get an idea of the flow.

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3 Responses to “Tools For Devs: Blueprint”

  1. Paul Capestany
    April 14, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    On the other end of the spectrum, there’s stuff like http://paperwireframes.com/ which is literally a notepad with an iPhone outline and gridlines. Really fun/easy way to make quick mockups and then arrange the flow out by moving the sheets around.

    • Shawn Grimes
      April 14, 2011 at 10:39 am #

      From a paper aspect, I also like the products from UI Stencils. There is definitely something to be said for pencil and paper. I like the tactile nature of it and being able to physically move things around is just so natrual. I don’t, however, always carry the pads with me and I always have my iPad though 🙂

  2. Paul Capestany
    April 14, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Ooo, hadn’t seen UI Stencils, nice!

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