WireframeSketcher Blog

SWT to Mockup: WireframeSketcher Spy plugin

Jun 04 2009 by Comments

Hi there! Almost a month ago a saw a blog post by Max Andersen titled Instant Mockup for Eclipse SWT Applications. In this post Max exposes a brilliant idea of an Eclipse plugin that dumps SWT UI to Balsamiq’s BMML format. I instantly thought that this idea is a perfect fit for WireframeSketcher.

When you need to revise the UI of an existing application it’s only natural that you’ll want to start with something. Why would you want spend your time redrawing the UI that is already there?

Thus I present you the WireframeSketcher Spy plugin! How it works? Open the dialog you want to mockup. Press Alt+Shift+F5 and the XML of the mockup is put into the clipboard. Open the “New Screen” wizard, and on the second page paste the XML. Hit Finish and you are done!

So take for example the standard Search dialog:

Search dialog

And here’s the result that you get:

Search dialog mockup

Here’s a quick screencast of the Spy plugin in action:

Technical details

WireframeSketcher Spy is provided as a separate plugin: com.wireframesketcher.spy. You just need to make sure that this plugin is included in your environment when you launch your Eclipse plugin or the RCP application.

I realize that there is also the case of standalone SWT applications. I plan to provide a separate JAR file that you’ll be able to bundle with your app. I’ll also have to design some minimal integration API. If you are interested in a setup like this please drop me an email.

Other changes

I’ve made some changes to the Note widget. I’ve removed the red bar and changed the color to something lighter. The widget now also supports the text alignment property. Thanks Timo for your feedback!

Another change concerns the “New Screen” wizard. There is now a second page that allows to paste an initial XML. Apart from the Spy feature you can also use this functionality to copy the XML from the web, email, etc.

Updating

As usual to update to the latest version of WireframeSketcher just use the Eclipse update manager. I hope you’ll have as much fun using the Spy as I’ve had implementing it!

Enjoy!

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