ForeUI is an easy-to-use UI prototyping tool, designed to create mockup / wireframe / prototypes for any application or website you have in mind.

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Vacation for Chinese New Year

The Chinese new year (Spring Festival, i.e. 3rd Jan 2011) is coming!  On the traditional Chinese calendar, year 2011 is called the year of rabbit, while the previous year is the year of tiger.  Spring Festival is the biggest holiday in China.  Chinese people usually will take a long vacation and come back to hometown, stay with the family, make delicious food, set off firecrackers and visit friends etc.

We are going to take one month vacation from next Monday.  During the vacation, we will still be there to provide forum/email support.  So the only difference is that we don’t release new version during the vacation.

Happy Spring Festival!

PS: I just noticed that ForeUI has been listed as “Featured Download” item on Apple.com (in the “Development Tools” category).  That’s wonderful!

ForeUI is Listed as "Featured Download" in Apple.com

ForeUI is Listed as "Featured Download" in Apple.com

ForeUI V2.65: Animated GIF Support and More

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Happy New Year to you all!

Today ForeUI’s first release in Year 2011 is out!  Want to know what’s new in V2.65?  Please read on.

Animated GIF Support

Now you can insert animated GIF files into your prototype, and they will be really animated in simulation!  So far there are four types of elements support this feature: Image Box, Window, Tree and Multilevel Menu.  With our on-going effort, more elements will support this.

Use Animated GIF in ForeUI Elements

Change  Window Title in Simulation

The Window element supports a new “Set Window Title” action, which allows you to change the window title in simulation.  The new title supports property, so you can include some dynamic value in the window title.

Set Focus in Simulation

The TextEditBox and Spinner elements now support a new “Set Focus” action, which will set focus on the specific element.  This can be used to set the default focused element when page is loaded.

Some Enhancements:

  • Show image button on floating tool pane for MultilevelMenu element.
  • Enable hotkeys for cut/copy/paste/delete on embedded element.

Fixed Bugs:

  • Bug_0271: “Mouse Out” event for Multilevel Menu is triggered when mouse is hovering on the element.
  • Bug_0272: The delay value in “Pause a while” window should be selected by default.
  • Bug_0273: Can not start selecting from above of plot.
  • Bug_0274: The title of Window element does not respect the default font settings.
  • Bug_0275: Table column become wider in simulation.
  • Bug_0276: Table column widths should be synchronized in edit/view modes.

Use MockGen to Generate Mockups from Website

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Several months ago, I had post a review of Looksie, Looksie can generate detailed reports for ForeUI plots.  This morning Xemware just announced the beta version of their brand new web service: MockGen, which can generate (ForeUI or Balsamiq) mockups from existed website online!  It sounds very promising so I try it immediately and write down my experience here :-)

The web page of MockGen is very simple (as shown below).  There are just a few input fields to accept the parameters for mockups generation.  Some fields have a blue question icon on the right, and you can click the icon to show the explanation of the field.

There are just two required fields: one is your email address and the other is the URL of the existed website.  Other fields can control the pages included in mockups, and you can choose the output format (ForeUI plot or Balsamiq mockups).

I decided to generate a ForeUI plot from LinkedIn website:

So I input my email address to receive the plot, and then input the target URL as “http://www.linkedin.com”:

After clicking the “Generate!” button, I can see a message as below.  So I cross fingers and wait for my plot :D

It is better than my expection, an email arrived within one minute and it contains a ZIP archive.

The plot file is just in the ZIP archive.  After extracting the file and open the plot in ForeUI, a prototype for LinkedIn website is ready.  The first page is a navigating page and it can bring you to any page within the plot when running the simulation.

This page is the front page in real website.  It is almost perfect, even the hyperlinks are converted to actions in plot.  However the background color is changed to light gray:

After changing the plot background color to white, the final result is very good:

What if we run the generated plot in web browser?  I can’t help trying this and below is the comparation.

As you can see, there is a little offset between real website and the generated plot.  But it is not a big problem and I believe it can be improved in the future, as it is still in Beta state for now.

Dear friends, if you plan to create a prototype base on an existed website, the MockGen service will save you lot of time!  You can click here to try the service, please feel free to leave your comment here if you have any feedback on it.  Tim (the developer of MockGen) will be glad to hear from you :-)

Goodbye to 2010, Look Forward to 2011

Dear friends, year 2010 will elapse soon and year 2011 is coming.  I must, on behalf of ForeUI’s R&D team and EaSynth company, say “HAPPY NEW YEAR” to you all :-)

Year 2010 really meant a lot to ForeUI.  The summary below shows what we did in year 2010:

Summary of Year 2010

Official Releases: 28 (V2.00 ~ V2.62)
New Features: 82
Enhancements: 86
Fixed Bugs: 141

Now let’s review the great updates in year  2010:

Windows 7 UI Theme

The UI theme to simulate the Windows 7’s UI is available from V2.00.  This theme is very helpful for creating high-fidelity prototypes for Windows 7 apps.

User Community

V2.00 also introduced a brand new user community site for ForeUI resource sharing.  The community site is fully integrated with ForeUI software and provides the easiest way to download more interesting examples, elements and libraries.

German Language Support

From V2.15, ForeUI supports German language.  We should give the credit to Marcus Barkhahn since he translate all text scripts to German voluntarily, thank you Marcus :-)

Zoom In/Out

This handy feature is implemented in V2.20.  You can zoom in to see the the details of a region, or zoom out to preview the entire page.

Container Support

From V2.22, ForeUI supports a new “container” concept.  You can embed other elements into a container, thus they are tightly joined and can be moved together.  Table became the first container element, and then we have Scrollable Container (V2.32), Tabs (V2.37), Vertical Tabs (V2.37), Tree (V2.60), Window (V2.62) joined the containers family.  You can hold the right mouse button and drag elements into container.

Online Updater

This feature is shipped with V2.50.  With its help you can upgrade your ForeUI to latest version without visiting our website.

I just listed the most important updates in year 2010.  Of course there are still many great updates remained, you can find them here.  However the items above should not be missed.

We must thank you all who report bugs or share ideas with us.  Thank you all for the help!

Forecast Year 2011

Year 2011 is coming and we have started to think about the roadmap of  2011.  In year 2011, we will use more time on polishing the current features, providing more documents and tutorial videos.  The V3.0 may be launched at Q4 of 2011.  We are also considering the development of ForeUI server side application, which will integrate version control, prototypes management, resource sharing and feedback collecting platform.  What’s more, we may release mobile version of ForeUI in year 2011.

If you have any idea on ForeUI’s roadmap, please let us know your great idea, thanks!

ForeUI V2.62: Window Container and Improved Usability

Merry Christmas and happy new year!  Today ForeUI V2.62 is out, and it will be the last version in year 2010.   This version allows to use Window as container, and introduces some features/enhancements to improve the usability.

Window Container

The Window element becomes container now.  You can hold the right mouse button and drag other elements into it.

New Options for Tree Element

Two new options are added for Tree element.  One is to turn on/off the default icon display, and the other is to show/hide the handles for root nodes.  The animation below shows how they work.

Manipulate Embedded Element

Now you can cut/copy/paste/delete the embedded element directly from the floating tool pane.  These manipulations were disabled temporary because of technical reasons, now they are enabled again and you can feel free to work on the embedded elements.

What’s more, you can freely move embedded element in its container now.

Start Selecting from Outside

Another useful improvement is that you can start selecting content from outside of the editing plot area.

Hold SHIFT to Restrict Moving Direction

If you want to restrict the moving direction to horizontal or vertical, you can hold the SHIFT key while draging the element.

Other Enhancements:

  • Improve rendering performance.
  • Paint small expand/collapse button for tree nodes in HandDrawing theme.
  • Paint (optional) lines for tree in HandDrawing and Mac OS X themes.

Fixed Bugs:

  • Bug_0264: Embed Tree into scrollable container, Tree text become white. (IE only)
  • Bug_0265: Table does not layout properly in simulation if column widths conflict with table width.
  • Bug_0266: Change the padding values of ScrollableContainer, then select its embedded element.  The embedded element is in wrong location.
  • Bug_0268: Double clicking Balloon or Post-It element can not bring out the in-line editor when zoom is not 100%.
  • Bug_0269: Select an embedded element and define action for it, the selected embedded element is not show in element chooser.
  • Bug_0270: Embedded element that has smaller Z value than its container can not be selected in element chooser.