Scale9 doesn’t suck. When I originally saw it, I wasn’t impressed, but apparently was too quick of a judge.
I’ve been doing more and more wireframing this past year for projects. One could also call them storyboards since a lot of work in Flash & Flex has a lot of potential crossovers. As the projects get bigger in scope, and I get bequeathed more responsibility (or take the ball when no one else does), the opportunity arises to lessen the need for MVC; planning out your application before actually building it.
From talking to Enterprise developers, in both application development and web development, I’ve found both utilize a lot of planning. I’ve historically hated planning. You show me a design of an application you’d like to build, and I can see it within seconds in my head how it works, and start laying the groundwork as well as the framework to ensure a good scope creep defense. As things get bigger, however, it becomes harder to wrap my head around the whole enchilada unless I write it down to challenge my, and the client’s, assumptions. Not to mention the fact I’ve lost all patience with re-work because of a misunderstanding of functionality up front.
…however, I don’t own Visio or Illustrator. I do own Flash with a pimp stylus, and with Flash 8’s improved text handling capabilities as well as runtime rendering, she’s a viable choice. The 2 problems, however, are the temptation to utilize real GUI components which defeat the purpose of no design & technology commitment that you get with wireframing. The second is, if you are using Flex components, those aren’t in Flash, and screen capturing implemented prototype designs, while quick to make in Flex, aren’t flexible enough once you’ve turned them to bitmaps. A change in layout causes you to do the whole process again.
So, until I start doing enough wireframing to justify purchasing Visio (Open Office? No thanks, tried it, no like it), I’ve built these Wireframing Components for Flash 8 that allow you to layout your GUI without implying a design style, or even a technology for that matter (excluding Flex’ Panel component). Most utilize Scale9, so they scale well both at authortime, and when you publish a SWF (or image or image sequence). Additionally, a few have text capabilities, so your buttons can show labels and your text boxes can have h@wt, latin text. I’ve even included Flex’ popular Panel with toggeable close button and control bar.
If you are good at Flash, and have the opportunity (curse?) of having to do some wireframes of an application, these components should help you out. They are plain in look, efficient in resource usage, and look the same at authortime as they do at runtime. They are not interactive at runtime to ensure no implication about functionality is made.
2 things to watch out for:
- if you utilize the “,” and “.” (comma and period) keys to go forwards and backwards in a SWF file, the components will break; don’t know why. Instead, implement button and/or keyboard interaction if you plan on showing a SWF to someone.
- if you choose to look at the source and compile yourself, keep in mind I had to edit the mm_livepreview.as that comes in your Flash’s Include folder. Make sure this file is next to the .FLA