Prototyping with ForeUI
Prototyping an application or an idea is always considered a best way to visualize how your application will behave. It also helps you to save your time by showing initial screens to your clients so that they can figure out whether the things are going fine or not.
Many people still believe in Paper Prototyping while it sounds a bit weird in current age of computers when efforts are being made to save the trees by using less papers. Beside that, you just can't erase things again and again on a paper.
There are several mocking/prototype tools available which could be used to create initial mockups of your apps. MS.Visio, Pencil,Mockingbird are few of many which are used for this purpose.
I personally have tried to use many tools to create wire frames and prototypes but most of the tools disappointed me. I heavily used Visio for flow chart drawing and other stuff. Visio does give shapes for prototype designs but it usually focuses Desktop apps, so are other tools. I tried a lot to find some sensible tool but all efforts went in vein.
Luckily I came across foreUI which answered my problem. ForeUI is yet another prototyping tool which tries to sort out issues related to prototyping. I don't say I have explored all of its features but the best thing I have found in in it that it provides a very cool feature of creating web mockups. Now a person like me who can't work on Photoshop , can easily visualize the structure of site. Allow me to mention few features which I explored myself and found them quite useful.
1- Multiple UI Themes : With ForeUI you can select different UI themes based on your choice and nature of application. For instance,following two pictures are about login screen in two different themes;Hand drawing and Windows 7. Quite cool stuff to visualize your app on different platform.
2- Custom Elements: ForeUI provides an array of custom elements which you can use in your drawing. You can use elements like Rectangle,place holders for DIV based web layout as well as framing things within a panel. You can also create your own custom composite elements like login,message box etc.
3- Resource Sharing: This is the exciting feature which I did not find in other prototyping softwares who can provide,sort of plugin things. You can create your own own or download free to use custom elements by using an easy interface.
4-Event based System: Did you ever wish that you can actually visualize how your application going to behave on certain actions? Good news for you.ForeUI's event system provides you a Visual basic like environment which you can use to carry out certain actions on items. For instance you can hide and show elemts based on your Click or Double click actions or can providing conditional statements which will execute based on your input
5-Cross Platform: ForeUI is available for platforms like Windows,Mac,Solaris and Linux and quite responsive in use.
6-Documentation: Documentation is quite friendly and there are various articles which can help you to take first step and unlock the potential of the software. The software is available in both trial and premium version.
7- Export Formats: you can export your drawing in PDF,Image and DHTML format which you can use to show to your clients
Online demo version is available which you can freely use to have. This youtube video will help you to understand the functionalities of this awesome tool. Over all I rate this software 9/10 because there is still room to make it further extensible by providing plugins for IDEs like Eclipse etc so that it could be used right within an IDE.