A quick little bug-fix release

Hi everyone!

We just did a little release to fix a few bugs uncovered by last week's release.

Here's what's new:

  • All versions: fixed issues with selecting Arrow controls when zoomed and when inside groups.
  • All versions: fixed alt+drag on Arrow controls. Thank you Justin Hernandez for reporting it!
  • All versions: fixed text and icon alignment in geometric shape controls.
  • All versions: fixed Kerning pair for periods and commas in these pairs: P. T. F. Y. P, T, F, Y,. Thank you Benjamin Wan for reporting it!
  • Mockups for Desktop: fixed an issue with creating a new blank mockup with the UI Library showing the Project Assets tab.
  • myBalsamiq: fixed an issue with pressing the CMD keys on OSX triggering a zoom operation (fixed a few days ago).
  • myBalsamiq: fixed timeout issues when saving or exporting large projects to PDF (fixed a few days ago).
  • myBalsamiq: fixed a problem with staff members cloning projects (fixed a few days ago).
  • Mockups for Google Drive: fixed an issue with pressing the CMD keys on OSX triggering a zoom operation (fixed a few days ago).
  • Mockups for Google Drive: "Save as new mockup" now properly saves the new mockup in the same folder as the original mockup.
  • Mockups for Google Drive: Selecting images from the image pulldown now works properly.
  • Mockups for Confluence: the configuration page had the "is about to expire" and "has expired" messages backwards. Fixed.
  • Mockups for JIRA: fixed an error when saving empty mockups.

How do I update?

If you're using myBalsamiq, you're already updated. Just log back in and enjoy.

For other versions, simply install from our download page on top of your current installation. You won't have to re-register.

As always, if you hit any snags with the new build let us know immediately and we'll fix it right up! :)

For posterity, these are the version numbers of today's release:

  • myBalsamiq: build #3924
  • Mockups for Desktop: version 2.2.9
  • Mockups for Google Drive: version 2.2.9
  • Mockups for Confluence: version 2.2.6
  • Mockups for FogBugz: version 2.2.6
  • Mockups for JIRA: version 2.2.6
  • Mockups for XWiki: version 2.2.6
  • Web Demo: version 2.2.6 launch it

In other news, we partnered with Aramis B.V. to increase software development speed!

Onward!
Peldi for the Balsamiq Team

Release: Collapsable Property Inspector, Better Arrows, all new Mockups for Confluence, and much more!

Hello friends of Balsamiq!

Another month, another exciting release!

Let's get right to it.

Collapsable Property Inspector!

We have heard complaints about the property inspector getting in the way almost since the very first version of Mockups. Over the years, we have refined the algorithm for where and when it shows up, with the goal of having it "near you when you need it, out of the way when you don't".

We're pretty happy with where we are right now, but we agree that the property inspector still gets in the way too much sometimes, especially when working on smaller screens.

This is why today we're introducing the ability to collapse the inspector into a small bar:

collapsableinspector

You can collapse or expand the inspector using the little icon on its top-left corner, and Mockups will remember that state until you change it again.

Give it a try, we think it's a great step forward!

Thank you travis.jensen, gbuchoa, Tesa, Tania Yuki, Josh, Mathieu Brault, jguice, Dakota Brown, Barry Garman, Stéphane Donzé, Jolynn Halls and many others via email for reporting this, and for your patience! :)

As always, I'm sure we can improve this feature even further, and with your help, we will. :)

Better Arrow Controls!

We've known for a long time that the Arrow control could be improved quite a bit.

As Adam and Mark from DigMyData told us in the Mockups Success Stories e-book, "it's time for big boy arrows". :)

Well, with today's release, we didn't quite get all the way to big boy arrows, but I think we made a big step forward, eliminating the most frustrating parts of the previous implementation.

First of all, the selection. Starting today, in order to select an arrow, you have to click ON the arrow itself, NOT anywhere in the rectangle that contains the arrow. If you've ever had big arrows in your mockups, you know what I'm talking about.

arrows

The next improvement is about resizing an arrow once it's selected:
arrow

As you can see, you only get the two resizing points that matter to you, for a much more intuitive experience.

There's still a bunch of work we could do to the arrow controls, and we'll get there eventually, but in the meantime, we thought we'd release this part as a step in the right direction.

Thank you James Watt, Andy and Al Fuente, chrismrink and Martin H. for the requests related to this feature.

Big UI Library Performance Improvement

We rewrote how the UI Library generates thumbnails for controls and symbols, so that it's done gradually and only when necessary (the thumbnails get cached in memory now).

This should result in a noticeable performance improvement, especially if you keep the UI Library open and work with Symbol libraries a lot.

Let us know how you like it, we think you'll be pleased.

As usual, there's always more we can do to improve performance, so we'll keep digging! :)

Squished the annoying "mouse out of bounds" bugs!

We finally fixed two issues related to selecting or dragging controls in a way that required the mockups canvas to automatically scroll. What would happen is that once you released the mouse, controls would jump or your selection lasso would behave unpredictably.

These two very annoying bugs turned out to be very tricky to fix, but I'm happy to report that Florian and Marco managed to squish them!

Thank you Jon, andipandi, chris.gatland, Cherian, Hugh and Pagapov for reporting these over the years!

"Remember tab order" feature in Mockups for Desktop!

This is one of those features that is nearly invisible but really really useful, especially if you're one of power users.

Here's the scenario: say you work on multiple projects at the same time, each in its own folder just like our best practices suggest.

In order to export your mockups in a consistent order, up until today you were forced to use a clunky naming convention.

With today's release your life should get a lot simpler. Mockups for Desktop will now remember the relative order of your mockups within each project, and always sort mockups in that order in the file tab bar when you open them, regardless of their file name. This means that you just need to order your mockups once as you're working on them, and then you no longer have to worry about it. You can close all files or just some of them. Next time you want to open those files, they'll be sorted in the same way you left them.

This is not "projects on the desktop", but it should take away some of the pain of managing files from multiple projects.

The next feature we're going to do in this area (already in development), is the ability to move the file tabs bar to the left or right hand side instead of it being squished at the bottom of the screen.

Completely redesigned Mockups for Confluence!

This is really exciting. In order to be compatible with Confluence 5, which released a couple of days ago, we finally decided to revamp the user experience of the Mockups for Confluence plugin.

While still compatible all the way back to Confluence 3.5, if you use the plugin in Confluence 4.0 and above (including 5.0), you will see that mockups integrates with the Confluence editor in a much more native way. Gone is the "Add UI Mockup" menu, replaced instead by a more intuitive "Insert UI Mockup" menu in the Confluence editor. The plugin's mockup editor will pop up on top of the editor, and when you close it you'll see your mockup right there were your cursor was.

confluence1

You can then select the mockup and edit it, or change its alignment or size, in a much more intuitive way:

confluence2

While we were at it, we also implemented two of the most highly requested features for the plugin: if you use Confluence 4.3 or above, you will now be able to add mockups to unsaved wiki pages, as well as add mockups to page comments!

I'm so happy with this new UX, it's exactly how I imagined the plugin to behave back when I started almost 5 years ago, but couldn't because the editor didn't have APIs back then. Both Atlassian and Balsamiq have come a long way since then... :)

We've updated our Mockups for Confluence documentation to reflect these changes.

Other fixes and improvements

  • All versions: if you choose a paper size when exporting to PDF, we will align the mockups to the top of the page instead of centering it vertically. Thank you Hai Shubin, Nigel Taylor, Maria Söderberg for requesting it!
  • All versions: text in the Geometric Shape control now properly wraps again.
  • All versions: we no longer trim trailing spaces in your text. Sorry for this regression, thank you Fabienne for reporting it.
  • All versions: fixed an issue with a control icon looking enabled even if the control was disabled. Thank you Terry for reporting it.
  • All versions: fixed an issue with the bullet taking the styling of the first character. Thank you Andi for reporting it!
  • All versions: fixed sizing of the Button Bar control. Thank you Adam and Kartik for your email reports.
  • All versions: we now automatically autosize Label controls vertically.
  • All versions: the Property Inspector now tells you the name of the symbol library a particular symbol is coming from.
  • All versions: fixed an issue with the scrollbars not being usable in full-screen mode when the big arrow pointer is enabled.
  • All versions: fixed an issue with PNG transparency when only a selection of the mockup was exported to PNG. Thank you Jenni for reporting it!
  • All versions: symbols that are loading now properly say "Loading..." instead of a confusing "Symbol not found" message.
  • All versions: shortened the timeout when trying to load images from web servers that hang.
  • All versions: fixed an issue with custom properties not showing up properly when opening the dialog a second time. Thank you asavage and Simon for reporting it.
  • All versions: fixed a bug when undoing the deletion of the top-left control in a group.
  • All versions: fixed padding of selected row in datagrid control
  • All versions: fixed position of vertical curly brace text
  • All versions: fixed some padding issues with the Menu control
  • All versions: fixed a strange bug when resizing a symbol instance
  • All versions: fixed the width of the "partial export to XML" dialog when used inside a group.
  • All versions: fixed a cosmetic issue with the UI library tile border, overlapping other tiles.
  • All versions: we now add the release date to the file name in the build archives.
  • All plugin versions and web demo: the about box now shows both the version number of the plugin and the one of the mockup editor the plugin is using. This will help us support you better.
  • All plugin versions: we now show the plugin version in all the plugins' configurations or billing pages. Again, this is so that we can support you better.
  • Mockups for Desktop: fixed an issue with the file tab bar not stretching out all the way to the right when the UI library is on the right hand side. Thank you Andrew for reporting it.
  • Mockups for Desktop: fixed an issue with right-clicking on the background of the file tab bar
  • Mockups for Desktop: fixed a few issues around renaming files.
  • Mockups for Desktop: "open recent" was missing some files. It should work well again.
  • myBalsamiq: fixed an issue with some conversions not finishing. Thank you Amir and Danielle for reporting the issue.
  • myBalsamiq: we now verify a user's email address when they change it.
  • myBalsamiq: link highlights in PDFs created via myBalsamiq now look like the ones in the web UI.
  • myBalsamiq: fixed some URLs in email notifications.
  • myBalsamiq: fixed an issue with deleting comments. Thank you David and Chris and Roger for reporting it!
  • myBalsamiq: fixed an issue with uploading some types of PNGs. Thank you Laurian for reporting it!
  • myBalsamiq: fixed the "forgot my username" flow when done from www.mybalsamiq.com
  • myBalsamiq: fixed an issue when promoting a project member to staff
  • myBalsamiq: fixed an issue with non-staffers being able to remove other project members from a project
  • myBalsamiq: improved real-time notifications in different ways.
  • myBalsamiq: as usual, we did a lot of behind the scenes work for stability and performance

How do I update?

If you're using myBalsamiq, you're already updated. Just log back in and enjoy.

For other versions, simply install from our download page on top of your current installation. You won't have to re-register.

As always, if you hit any snags with the new build let us know immediately and we'll fix it right up! :)

For posterity, these are the version numbers of today's release:

  • myBalsamiq: build #3913
  • Mockups for Desktop: version 2.2.7 2.2.8 (we just fixed a bug with Arrow selection).
  • Mockups for Google Drive: version 2.2.7 2.2.8 (we just fixed a bug with keyboard shortcuts).
  • Mockups for Confluence: version 2.2.5
  • Mockups for FogBugz: version 2.2.5
  • Mockups for JIRA: version 2.2.5
  • Mockups for XWiki: version 2.2.5
  • Web Demo: version 2.2.5 launch it

What else is going on?

We have a lot of exciting news in store for you, stay tuned!

Onward!
Peldi for the Balsamiq Team

A GREAT little release

Hello friends of Balsamiq!

Today's release is both great and little. The great part is that we moved to a more modern version of the Flex framework, which allows us to support features we couldn't have supported before (see below).

The little part is that while we did fix a number of bugs and released a few highly requested features, we don't have anything earth-shattering to announce - we have some cool stuff cooking for the next release, stay tuned.

Alright, let's see what's new and improved!

Changes that apply to all versions of Mockups

  • We changed the code that draws our custom mouse cursor to a more modern flash API. The result was not only a MUCH more responsive mouse (it no longer lags behind), but also a big performance improvement of the application overall. Try it out, it should feel noticeably snappier, especially in the in-browser versions.
  • You can now link to URLs! As pre-announced in December, you can now specify Web Addresses (URLs) - http://, https:// and even mailto: - as link targets in all controls that support linking. Here's how it works. There's a new "Web Address..." menu item in the Link property inspector:

    Click it to show this little dialog:

    Type or paste your URL and click OK. Now when you click on the link while in full-screen, Mockups will open a browser page to that URL.

    Notice that we gave web URLs a different icon so that you can spot them easily. Thank you again robin, merle.corey.87, Besi and others for asking for this feature.
  • We switched to a more modern text rendering engine (Adobe TLF), which finally allows us to support font kerning in our Balsamiq Sans font. If you're someone who knows and cares about kerning, the difference is staggering. If you don't, just know that your eyes will thank you after a while. :)
  • We now have automatic fallback for glyphs that are not included in the font. You'll no longer need to turn on "Use System Fonts", yay!
    chinese
  • We added EXTREMELY LIMITED RTL (Right-To-Left) text support. As we said in the pre-release announcement last month, we're pretty ignorant when it comes to right-to-left support in software. We have received a long list of TODO items from some of you (thank you!), and we'll attack them slowly but surely. In the meantime, this release goes from "RTL characters don't even show up" to "I can type RTL characters and see them". Not exactly "full support" by a long shot, but a step in the right direction, right? :)
  • Editing text (adding or removing lines of text or even reshuffling them) will now maintain the correct selection and links! Thank you László, Jeron, Andy, John E. (via Email), Roman Florian for reporting this annoying bug which we've wanted to fix for a long time.
  • Added support for ~this notation~ for strikethrough text, in all controls.
  • Added support for {size:40}this notation{size} for setting the absolute size of part of your text, in all controls. {size:+2}relative size{size} will come in the future (it's a lot harder than you'd think!). Thank you Jenni and Win7Guru for the requests.
  • Added multi-line support via \r to the following control types: Alert box, Arrow, Breadcrumbs, Button Bar, Callout, Checkbox, Checkboxgroup, Field Set, Geometric Shape, Icon and label, Image, Link, Linkbar, Multiline Button, Pointy Button, Radio Button, Radio Button Group, Search Box, Subtitle and Title.
  • Made some performance improvements when UI Library is visible - and we have further improvements planned for the next release.
  • Fixed a bug with the "treat as markup" right-click menu not working for small controls. Thank you Anders for reporting it!
  • Fixed the "property inspector becomes huge if controls have long text lines" bug. Thank you Joe for reporting it!
  • Fixed the "couldn't drag controls in the top 20 pixels of the canvas" bug.
  • We fixed literally hundreds of little visual bugs in how the controls draw themselves at different sizes: the skins have never looked so good.
  • The menu control now supports using the checkbox or radio button, the label and the keyboard shortcut, all in the same line. Thank you Stu (via email).
  • We fixed the graph paper background when zoomed in or out. Thank you Shannon (via email).
  • We now deal with corrupted bmmls more gracefully.
  • The image inspector pulldown now correctly shows which image is selected.
  • Removed a bug which looked like an easter egg. Thank you Andrew Rowe and Patrik Boström for reporting it.
  • All versions that support Symbols: you now can see which symbol library a control comes from when hovering over it in the UI library and when selecting it (in the property inspector title).
  • All versions that support linking: we now show a "broken link" icon for files that are no longer found. Thanks Erik, robin and Matty Sallin for requesting it. :)

Changes to Mockups for Desktop

  • Bumped app requirement from Adobe Air 2.5 to 2.6 (which still runs on linux don't worry).
  • Added links to Local Store and Documents folders in the About box. Handy for debugging!
  • Fixed support for AltGr+S and other keys in some keyboard layouts. Thank you gk.klimek , sergeySafonov, Tomasz and Andi for reporting it.
  • Fixed several file name encoding issues on Windows.

Changes to myBalsamiq

  • Updated the text of most of our email notifications to make them more clear and less marketingy.
  • Fixed custom icons when converting mockups to images. Thank you Graham for reporting it!
  • Moved from Beaconpush to PubNub - that's the service that provides us with real-time notifications for mockup updates etc.
  • Fixed a load-balancer configuration that resulted in occasional "you're not logged in" errors.
  • We made it possible for us to recover your deleted assets if needed.
  • Fixed an issue with user photo upload button not displaying when changing staff member photo on staff page.
  • The site owner no longer needs to know a user's password in order to change it. Thank you Dr. Cris Bloomfield for reporting it!
  • Finished implementing the owner@subdomain.mybalsamiq.com email alias feature.
  • Fixed thumbnailing for gray scale images with alpha channel.

Changes to our Plugin versions

  • Mockups for Confluence and JIRA: made it easier to switch from a marketplace trial license to a balsamiq-issued license.
  • Mockups for Confluence: fixed mime type for attachments.
  • Mockups for Confluence: fixed an issue with attachments containing spaces in their names.
  • Mockups for Confluence: resolved a serious issue causing images to not display. Thank you Andreas, Wilm, Marco, Jack Lindsay, Oliver, Paul B, davet, Eriks Nukis for reporting it.
  • Mockups for JIRA: you can now edit mockups even if their snapshot was deleted manually from the issue.
  • Mockups for Google Drive: upped the trial period from 7 to 30 days!
  • Mockups for Google Drive: we now show the email you're logged in with in the help menu.
  • Mockups for Google Drive: we now show server-side errors (like going over quota) properly.
  • Mockups for Google Drive: we now correctly update the browser page title after a "Save As...".
  • Mockups for Google Drive: fixed an issue for people who have multiple google accounts. We have more work planned in this area.
  • Mockups for Google Drive: fixed an issue stopping the delete and arrow keys from working after using Save As New Mockup… Thank you Brendon McLean for reporting it.
  • Web Demo: removed empty item at the end of the Mockup menu.

How do I update?

If you're using myBalsamiq, you're already updated. Just log back in and enjoy.

For other versions, simply install from our download page on top of your current installation. You won't have to re-register.

As always, if you hit any snags with the new build let us know immediately and we'll fix it right up! :)

For posterity, these are the version numbers of today's release:

  • myBalsamiq: build #3895
  • Mockups for Desktop: version 2.2.4
  • Mockups for Google Drive: version 2.2.4
  • Mockups for Confluence: version 2.2.3
  • Mockups for FogBugz: version 2.2.3
  • Mockups for JIRA: version 2.2.3
  • Mockups for XWiki: version 2.2.3
  • Web Demo: version 2.2.3 launch it

UPDATE: we just did a little release this morning (Jan 21st) to fix a couple of regressions. The new version numbers are here:

  • myBalsamiq: build 3899
  • Mockups for Desktop: version 2.2.5
  • Mockups for Google Drive: version 2.2.5
  • Mockups for Confluence: version 2.2.4
  • Mockups for FogBugz: version 2.2.4
  • Mockups for JIRA: version 2.2.4
  • Mockups for XWiki: version 2.2.4
  • Web Demo: version 2.2.4 launch it

UPDATE 2: we just did another little release of Mockups for Desktop this morning (Jan 28th) to fix this bug. Mockups for Desktop is now at version 2.2.6.

What else is going on?

The next release is going to be focussed on performance (especially when using Symbol libraries) and improving the lives of our power-users who have lots and lots of mockups in their projects. We have two little features in the works which I'm sure you'll like.

Today we are also releasing a new estimate creation and invoicing system which provides you with a better user experience while helping us be more productive. It's awesome, and getting better every day.

We are also busy updating our documentation and interviewing for our open positions, stay tuned for some exciting announcements on these fronts soon.

Onward!
Peldi for the Balsamiq team

Go from Mockup to Code with Reify

The following is a guest blog post by Raymond Ha of Isomorphic Software. Enjoy!


Hi, Everyone, I’m Ray from Isomorphic Software, the creators of SmartClient and Smart GWT. If you haven't heard of our technology before, SmartClient and Smart GWT are HTML5/AJAX platforms that are used to build complex web applications, especially those that involve lots of screens, lots of data and power user features.

We’re big fans of Balsamiq, so we’re excited to announce a new tool that generates SmartClient and Smart GWT code from Balsamiq mockups in one easy step. It’s called Reify – an actual English word meaning "to make something abstract more real or concrete".

There are already several tools available that can turn Balsamiq mockups into simple interactive web pages, PDFs, and other formats so they can be more easily shared. That's not what Reify does.

Instead, Reify deeply analyzes your Balsamiq mockups, and produces source code similar to what a developer might write by hand. This allows your team to skip over the phase of painstakingly recreating the UI shown in the mockup, and move directly to adding business logic and data binding.

Watch the Video

Don’t re-create. Re-use.

Reify allows you to get much more out of your Balsamiq mockups. Normally, when a mockup is handed off for implementation, your developers needed to laboriously duplicate the mockup in actual code - one screen at a time. This is an enormous waste of time and effort, and typically causes extra iterations as developers inevitably miss subtle but important details. With Reify, you can go straight from a mockup to working code that reproduces your intended design.

Reify - Import

How does it work?

In Balsamiq, placing a widget on top of a window or tab is enough for the mockup to look right. However, working applications need to know that a widget is contained by a tab or window, or the wrong thing will happen when the screen is resized or the window dragged.

Reify deeply analyzes your mockup to discover the relationships that are implied by the way you arranged widgets. Containment relationships are automatically discovered, labels are automatically associated with input controls, input controls are automatically grouped into logical forms, and aligned components are grouped into flexible layouts that respond as expected to browser resizes.

Reify even compensates for imprecision in mockups by recognizing that a set of controls is meant to be perfectly aligned even if the mockup is a few pixels off, and recognizing that the intended size of a control is its visible size, not the size of its (invisible) bounding box.

Clean, Extensible Code

Tools that generate code often produce awful results that cannot be meaningfully extended. Reify is different.

Reify outputs screens in Isomorphic’s Component XML format, a concise, declarative format similar to Flash’s MXML or Microsoft’s XAML. Reify makes great efforts to produce clean, minimal code. For example, if a component gets its size from its container, Reify won’t output the redundant size information on the component. More generally, Reify will avoid outputting code that would set a property to its default value.

Screens created by Reify can be connected to real data sources in one step, and event handlers and business logic can be added while keeping the screen definition in XML. This enables a clean separation between layout and logic, and allows non-developers to understand and modify screen layout without breaking business logic.

No Limits

You can easily mix and match between screens imported via Reify and classic hand-coded screens and layouts. For example, if you have created a highly dynamic, portal-style layout manager that couldn’t be built just with XML, you can still use Reify to create portlets, wizards, and other screens controlled by your advanced layout manager.

Or, you can create a screen that has a placeholder for a dynamically generated component, and insert that component programmatically after the Reify-created screen is loaded.


Reify lets you maintain any part of your application in easy-to-read, easy-to-modify XML, while still allowing advanced, data driven techniques to be used wherever appropriate - the best of both worlds.

Get Started

You can Try Reify online, without installing anything, at the live demo site! Here are two sample mockups so you can try it right now (Sample 1: Resize bars & Layouts; Sample 2: Navigation, Charts). Or, if you’re ready to get started then download our free 60-day trial.

Thanks

Thanks to the Balsamiq team for creating one of the best tools in the business. We hope that Reify will become another invaluable tool in your arsenal. If you have any questions, please Contact Us or visit our Forums.

The Isomorphic Team
http://www.smartclient.com/

[Pre-Release] Performance Improvements, Font Kerning, Links to URLs, Right-To-Left Language Support!

Hello friends of Balsamiq!

We've been really busy here in Balsamiq-land.

The next release of Mockups will include a lot of new stuff, so we'd like to invite you to try it out before we ship it officially (maybe next week?).

Here's what's new in the pre-release:

Massive performance improvements

We changed the code that draws our custom mouse cursor to a more modern flash API.

The result was not only a MUCH more responsive mouse (it no longer lags behind), but also a big performance improvement of the application overall. Try it out, it should feel noticeably snappier.

A new text rendering engine!

We switched to a more modern text rendering engine (Adobe TLF), which finally allows us to support font kerning in our Balsamiq Sans font.

If you're someone who knows and cares about kerning, the difference is staggering. If you don't, just know that your eyes will thank you after a while. :)

The other nice feature this new text rendering engine gives us is automatic fallback for glyphs that are not included in the font. Here's what I mean:

You'll no longer need to turn on "Use System Fonts", yay!

Links to URLs support!

You've asked for it for years (robin, merle.corey.87), and we finally added it!

You can now specify Web Addresses (URLs) - http://, https:// and even mailto: - as link targets in all controls that support linking.

Here's how it works. There's a new "Web Address..." menu item in the Link property inspector:

Click it to show this little dialog:

Type your URL and click OK. Now when you click on the link while in full-screen, Mockups will open a browser page to that URL.

Notice that we gave web URLs a different icon so that you can spot them easily, and in Mockups for Desktop we also show a "broken link" icon for files that are no longer found. Another nice little feature (thanks Erik, robin and Matty Sallin for requesting it). :)

(Tentative) Right-To-Left Language Support!

This last feature is a bit embarrassing for us, as we're totally ignorant on how right-to-left software is even supposed to work.

The thing is, I tried switching my computer's keyboard layout to Hebrew and Arabic, and it sort-of worked!

We are working with a bunch of smart people from our community to bring this feature to a good quality. It will take time, so please be patient.


Ready to get your hands on all this new goodness?

Head over to our newly revamped Pre-Release Download Page and install the build from there. As usual, although we think it's pretty solid right now, pre-release software might be buggy, so back up your data before you try it.

How can I report issues?

The usual ways: email us or post on our GetSatisfaction forums. Make sure you include PRE-RELEASE in your message title.

Thanks so much!

Peldi for the Balsamiq Team

Give Mockup presentations on your iPad/iPhone with Link Viewer

Hello Balsamiq friends! Today we asked Eileen and Max of Link Viewer to write up a blog post introducing their app for testing iOS Mockups. Enjoy!


Presenting your UX concept to your client is a crucial moment in product development. In this post I want to talk about how Balsamiq Mockups and our own Link Viewer App can help you make a great impression.

A lot has been written on why wireframes and sketched interfaces are a good idea when communicating with your client. We use myBalsamiq on a day-to-day basis for user interface design @ Mondon Design for that matter. When Peldi asked us to talk about how we present them we were thrilled – to say the least.

First let me remind you of a common problem:

Users Break Prototypes

Giving a flawless mockup presentation on the real device is tricky, especially when we want to hand over our iPad to a client or to a test user. They tend to break the prototype. Viewer menus pop up, accidential swipes will switch pages, things don't work... you get the point.

Instead you need an app that will present the prototype and not stand between it and the user. The app should be as invisible ("chromeless") as possible and let users navigate via links inside the mockup.

Less Is More

To give a smooth mockup presentation, you want:

✘ no loading screens
✘ no menus or status bars
✘ no third party branding inside the app
✘ no funky transitions between slides
✘ no tap zones
✘ no zoom or rotation
✘ no scrolling or swiping
✘ no distractions
✘ no prototype editing
✔ navigation with linked elements only

We did not find an app that could fulfill these expectations so we made our own, Link Viewer.

It works with any hyperlinked PDFs, like the ones that Balsamiq exports.

The Mockups feel solid like a real app, nothing can go wrong while navigating them.

Presenting Without Distractions

One great thing about Balsamiq Mockups is that they just work. With Link Viewer this was our top priority, too. We made a short video to show how quickly you can get your bullet-proof presentation:

Step by Step from myBalsamiq to Link Viewer

If you use myBalsamiq, your can do everything right on your iOS device.

Your project should be final at this point.

  • Download the Link Viewer App.
  • In iOS Safari, open your myBalsamiq 'All Projects' page.
  • Tap the project dropdown (cog icon), select 'Export to PDF...'
  • In the export dialog, select 'Optimize for viewing' and tap 'Export PDF'
  • Tap 'Open In…' and select 'Link Viewer'
  • Enjoy!

Now your mockup is launched every time you tap on the Link Viewer app icon.

1. On iOS device find your project in myBalsamiq

2. Tap the project action menu and Export to PDF

3. Set PDF Export options

4. Open in Link Viewer

5. View your Mockups in Link Viewer

Offline Use with Balsamiq Mockups

There are several ways to get your mockup into Link Viewer. The important step is to create a PDF that has link functionality. Then connect your iOS device via USB and it will show up in iTunes (PC/Mac). In iTunes (PC/Mac), navigate to the Apps section of your device and scroll down until you see the Link Viewer icon. Click it and drag your PDF into the list area on the right.

Remote Use

It might be that you have no access to the target iPhone/iPad. A tester may be on the road or a client far away. Let them download Link Viewer. Create your mockup PDF and email it to them. Once they open the email on their device and click the PDF, they will be able to select "open in… Link Viewer". With the factory settings, Link Viewer will always display the last PDF that was imported.

Rapid Prototyping

If you keep the myBalsamiq tab open on your iPad you can generate new mockup PDFs for Link Viewer real quick. The same goes for offline use via USB cable: new PDFs can be uploaded very fast. With myBalsamiq and Link Viewer you have new presentations at hand in no time.

Advanced Features

The factory settings make sure that Link Viewer will work right out of the box. However, if you need a file-list to select and delete files or use the resume-from-last-page feature, check out the Link Viewer settings in the iOS settings app.

Thanks

Thanks to Balsamiq for their mockup tools. We couldn't work without them. Now Link Viewer is our little contribution to the happy UX landscape. If you have any questions or feature requests please email hello@link-viewer.com

Eileen and Max
Link Viewer Team
http://link-viewer.maxmondon.de/

Improving People Management in myBalsamiq, Image Support in Mockups for Google Drive, Link Support in Mockups for JIRA, and more!

Hello friends of Balsamiq!

We just updated myBalsamiq with a new release, focussed on smoothing over one of the roughest edges of the application, the managing of staff and project members.

We also fixed some bugs and made some improvements in Mockups itself.

An easier way to manage staff members in myBalsamiq

We made it a lot easier to manage your staff members. Look at the new menu for a staffer:

As a site owner, clicking on "Edit User Info" now shows a pop-up which lets you complete or edit your staffer's info:

You'll get similar pop-ups if you click on "Change Password" or "Change Photo".

If instead you click on "Manage Project Membership", you'll get a pop-up like this one:

Just select the projects a certain staffer should belong to, "Save Changes" and voila'! This should save you a bunch of time.

But we didn't stop there! We expanded the "Create new Project" dialog to allow you to specify who should be in that project, right then and there.

Also notice the "Automatically add new staff members to this project" checkbox. Super-handy! You can set it a project creation time, but you can also change it later.

An easier way to manage project members in myBalsamiq

In the settings, we added a "Non-Staff" tab which shows all the different project members invited to your site, regardless of which project they're on. This overview was sorely missing for site owners.

We also made it easier to spot staffers and non-staffers inside a project, by adding a little "staff" label to the appropriate avatars in the project members pop-up menu:

Note how we removed the "quick invite" text input from that pop-up menu. It's now inside the "Add and Manage Members" dialog:

This is a one-stop shop to add or remove staffers and non-staffers to your project, as well as inviting others.

Note that for staff members, we only ever show non-staffers that belong to other projects the staffer is already a member of. In other words, if you want to keep a project and its external members secret, it will work: only the staffers on that project will be able to see the non-staffers from that project. It's complicated, but it works, trust us. :)

Other changes to myBalsamiq

  • Greatly optimized the display of the home page and of the project grid page.
  • We now disable the Project Assets UI Library tab in the editor when editing a site symbol library.
  • Alternate mockups in comments now properly show up in the history.
  • We fixed an issue with people logging out when logged in from www.mybalsamiq.com.
  • We fixed some concurrency issues when creating several projects at the same time.
  • We fixed the overly aggressive caching on mockup image permalinks.
  • Improved error messages in editor when there are save / load issues.
  • Improved user photo dialog.

Support for images in Mockups for Google Drive!

You can now use your drive images or upload new images from within the Mockups editor in Mockups for Google Drive.

Support for linking between mockups in Mockups for JIRA!

That's right, you can now link your mockups together in Mockups for JIRA. The feature works just like on the desktop: you select other mockups from the same JIRA issue, then go full screen to navigate between your linked mockups.

Changes to Mockups

  • All versions: fixed the "label control text editor deletes text if you have text selected and press Enter to confirm the text" bug.
  • All versions: fixed some issues with Undo/Redo while editing text.
  • All versions: fixed the occasional "character gets repeated out of control when editing" bug.
  • All versions: roughened up some of the shapes of the Sketch skin, since the 2.2 clean-up had been a little too aggressive.
  • All versions: the Tabs Bar control is now also called Ribbon.
  • All versions: the Text Area control is now also called Memo Field.
  • All versions: the Horizontal Lines icon is now also called Reordering Control and Drag and Drop.
  • All web-based versions: we now hide the inspector while you pan the canvas with SPACE+Drag.
  • All versions: in the Icon and Label control, the text is now properly aligned vertically even when using System Fonts.
  • All versions: dragging the property inspector stops the editing of the position and size text inputs.
  • All versions: we no longer hide the Quick Add behind a + button. This was a change we introduced in 2.2 which didn't work out, so we're rolling back to the 2.1 look and feel (Quick Add is just on the right instead of on the left now).
  • All versions: we now hide the property inspector while you're dragging a new control from the UI library.
  • All versions: If you add a new control via drag and drop while not at 1:1 zoom, you no longer get decimal numbers for the x and y coordinates.
  • Mockups for Desktop: Save as did not give a warning if you didn't add the suffix .bmml in the native Save As dialog.
  • Mockups for Desktop: At startup time, unnamed mockups recovered from a previous autosave are now promptly put back into the autosave database.
  • Mockups for Desktop: when adding a custom icon, the source file name was not properly decoded, thus resulting in wrong filename being used for the new asset file.
  • Mockups for Desktop: custom icons now work properly on newly cloned mockups.
  • Mockups for Desktop: we now properly show assets that contain slashes in their names.
  • Mockups for Desktop: fixed a "hanging on startup sometimes" bug (fixed in 2.2.2 on Sep. 13th).
  • All plugin versions: we now notify you with an error whenever there's a problem uploading an image, we no longer fail silently.
  • Mockups for Confluence: fixed a bug with PNGs not showing up in IE8/IE9 (we had the wrong mime type).
  • Mockups for XWiki: as a side-effect of a big refactoring effort, it now uses the same "Save" and "Close" buttons UI as the other plugins.

How do I update?

If you're using myBalsamiq, you're already updated. Just log back in and enjoy.

For other versions, simply install from our download page on top of your current installation. You won't have to re-register.

As always, if you hit any snags with the new build let us know immediately and we'll fix it right up! :)

For posterity, these are the version numbers of today's release:

  • myBalsamiq: build #3877
  • Mockups for Desktop: version 2.2.3
  • Mockups for Google Drive: version 2.2.2
  • Mockups for Confluence: version 2.2,2
  • Mockups for FogBugz: version 2.2.2
  • Mockups for JIRA: version 2.2.2
  • Mockups for XWiki: version 2.2.2
  • Web Demo: version 2.2.2 launch it

What else is going on?

We have started working on the following issues:

  1. Finally fixing the "links break when I insert or remove a line of text" bug. You can try it now on the pre-release version already.
  2. Improving mouse performance.
  3. Making it so that Mockups for Desktop remembers the order of your mockups for each folder. This should alleviate the pain of working on multiple projects at once. See this GetSatisfaction thread for more info.
  4. Adding support for linking to Web Addresses (URLs).

On other news, we are hiring!

Onward!
Peldi for the Balsamiq Team

Balsamiq 2.2 is here!

It is with great excitement and pride that I present to you our biggest release yet: Balsamiq Mockups 2.2!

The new release sports an updated look and feel, and a new "wireframe" skin for you to use in your mockups, and lots more!

A new editor look and feel

As a programmer, I have always cared more about making my software SOLID rather than having it look pretty. When I was back at Adobe, my friend and colleague Nigel Pegg would spend hours tweaking the speed of an animation tween and working with our designer Tim Allen to make sure that everything looked beautiful and pixel-perfect. The three of us made a great team.

When I started Balsamiq, I was on my own. I did my best to make the Mockups skin look OK, but I clearly never made the look and feel a top-priority. Just like a wireframe, I wanted to make sure the app worked well before spending time and money making it pretty.

It's been four years now, and it's time for Mockups itself to grow up. We have a world-class graphic designer on our team, and it's time we start using his skills to the fullest. Mike started by redesigning myBalsamiq while still in beta, and now we're taking his gorgeous, minimalistic design sensibility to Mockups itself, and it feels great. In fact, it's making me appreciate how important graphic design is, even early on. We live and learn... :)

Our goal with the new look and feel was to make something that is beautiful, professional, incredibly intuitive, all the while staying out of your way as much as possible.

Since we run on Windows, Mac, Linux and the Web, we needed a look that didn't try to mimic the native look and feel of the controls, but also one that didn't scream "Look at me, I'm a Flash application!"

We think Mike did an amazing job with this new look, it's truly gorgeous and does its job extremely well.

It makes working in Mockups for hours and hours an even smoother and fun experience.

An additional skin for your wireframes!

The fact that wireframes created with Mockups look hand drawn has been one of our best ideas yet. It makes it obvious to everyone that the design is NOT final, and encourages people to give honest feedback, which is what it's all about. It also has an instantly-recognizeable, playful character that makes everyone who uses Mockups a little happier at their job every day. :)

We love our sketch-like skin and are very proud of it, but over the years we've heard from many of you that it doesn't fit every situation.

The first person to raise the issue was famous British designer Andy Budd, back in 2009! In his My First Impressions of Balsamiq article, he argues that our skin had TOO MUCH character, it distracted stakeholders from looking at the structure of the wireframe. I think his criticism came mostly because we used Comic Sans as a font back then (we've since switched to our own, hypoallergenic font), but his point was valid, the playful look and feel didn't fit all situations.

Over the years, as Mockups became mainstream, we have heard the same argument from many of you: you love Mockups and want to use it on every project, but sometimes its playful character didn't help, your awesome wireframes weren't being taken seriously by your boss / your graphic designer / your client.

We even heard from someone who did all the thinking in Mockups, but then had to painfully re-create each of their wireframes in a different tool just to present them to their clients. Ouch.

Starting with today's release, you have a new Skin choice in the View menu:

The Sketch skin is the one you know and love, only cleaned up a little bit. It is still the default and what we recommend people use most of the time.

Our goals with it were to make a skin that still conveyed "this is not final" while also disappearing in the background as much as possible, the goal was for it to be "totally vanilla".

After experimenting a while with some product design skin in the style of sketch-a-day, we landed on a clean, straight-lines look that we feel is timeless because of its simplicity.

Take a look at some example wireframes shown in both skins (click to enlarge):

Switching from a skin to the other should be totally painless, most things won't move around at all. We think most of you will do all the thinking in the Sketch skin, and only switch to the Wireframe skin when it's time to present your work, when you're trying to "sell" your designs to other stakeholders. We'll see what happens...

A personal note from Peldi

On a personal level, these two feature were a bit painful for me to work on, which partly explains why I postponed them for so long. Let me explain.

My fear was that a cleaner look and feel and a cleaner skin would make Mockups lose too much of the character that has made it so successful. I didn't want it to look like "just another pro design tool", boring in its similarity with all the others.

Well, I have been using Mockups 2.2 for weeks now, and I gotta say, I can't go back. The new look and feel of the app doesn't feel boring, it just feels RIGHT. Whenever I have to use 2.1 to debug a customer's issue, my eyes hurt and I can't believe we've been so successful with such an ugly app.

The new wireframe skin is actually REALLY FUN TO USE, darn it! :) It totally grew on me. My wife Mariah drew all the controls of the original sketch skin, so falling in love with a skin that she didn't draw feels a bit like I'm cheating on her! You understand my internal conflicts here, right?!?!? ;)

Another thought about these two features: I built and launched Mockups in 2008 as a programmer who had developed a passion for UX, but was totally self-taught and didn't really know anyone in the IA / UX industry. We can safely say that Mockups has come out of left field in the UX industry, mostly introduced by developers and product managers.

We have never marketed Mockups directly to UX professionals, because in some way we didn't feel that it was good enough for them. With the 2.2 release, four years after the original launch, I think we are ready to start changing that perception. We know lots of UXers who already rely on Mockups, and we think that today's release elevates Mockups to become a first-class citizen in the UX professional toolbox.

We hope those who considered Mockups a toy will give it a second look now, it has really come a long way since we first started, Comic Sans and all...

A new Site Map control

While we were at it, Paolo threw in a new, highly requested control type: the Site Map!

It's super-easy to use and helps you make site maps in a snap.

Each page is linkable, easy peasy. Try it out.

What else is new?

  • All versions: changed the size of the background grid to match our 10px - 20px shift+nudging dimensions.
  • All versions: reduced the bottom padding of the sticky note control so that you can make smaller stickies.
  • Mockups for Desktop: fixed the "Copy to Clipboard doesn't copy transparent PNGs when transparentBackground is true." bug. Thank you Nathaniel Boehm for reporting it!
  • All versions: fixed a long-standing issue with links being offset while full-screen presentation mode. Thank you Peter Baker for reporting it and sorry it took us so long to fix it!
  • All versions: we now hide the property inspector while panning with space+drag.
  • All versions: when ungrouping the z-Order of the ungrouped control was wrong in some cases.
  • All versions: Fixed Tab bar control spacing when right-aligned
  • Mockups for Desktop: fixed more erroneous "the file is read only" errors.
  • Mockups for Desktop: the DMG file on the downloads page no longer gives the Gatekeeper error on OS X Mountain Lion. This was crazy hard to do, thanks Marco and Paolo for figuring it out.
  • Mockups for Desktop: we now use the native menus in Linux. Thank you Jonta for spurring the change.
  • myBalsamiq: if you use "Use System Fonts" in your mockups, the generated mockup images will now properly show your text.
  • myBalsamiq: fixed an issue with using images in symbols.
  • myBalsamiq: improved handling of JPEG assets. Thank you Sophie G. for reporting it.
  • myBalsamiq: fixed caching for mockup images and implemented an improved caching strategy.
  • myBalsamiq: fixed an issue with the editor displaying real-time notifications for other projects in the same site. Thank you Bartosz J. for reporting it!
  • myBalsamiq: fixed an issue with using quotes in staffer's names.
  • Mockups for FogBugz: revamped the UI and fixed some bugs.
  • ...and lots and lots more, either behind the scenes or to small to mention

Thank you to all of you who helped us test 2.2 in the last month, especially Ben Norris, Eric Chan, Paul Harrison, Christian Colding and Timothy Whalin.

How do I update?

If you're using myBalsamiq, you're already updated. Just log back in and enjoy.

For other versions, simply install from our download page on top of your current installation. You won't have to re-register.

Thanks to Florian's huge test automation efforts, this is the best-tested release of our history. It's still a huge update though, so something might have broken. If you see it, let us know immediately and we'll fix it right up! :)

For posterity, these are the version numbers of today's release:

  • myBalsamiq: build #3859
  • Mockups for Desktop: version 2.2.1
  • Mockups for Google Drive: version 2.2.1
  • Mockups for Confluence: version 2.2.1
  • Mockups for FogBugz: version 2.2.1
  • Mockups for JIRA: version 2.2.1
  • Mockups for XWiki: version 2.2.1
  • Web Demo: version 2.2.1 launch it

Did you know that...

  • we released the TrueType files for the Balsamiq Sans font?
  • we added kid-sized T-Shirts to our SWAG store?
  • we improved our "send us an email" submission form for myBalsamiq to help us help you faster?
  • Peldi will be speaking at Business of Software 2012 in a few weeks, and hopes to see you all there?
  • most of us took some time off in August to rest and recharge, and are totally fired up for all the goodness that we're going to work on this fall? :)
  • while our sales continue to grow, support load is actually decreasing?

In short, we're stoked about 2.2 and the future. We hope you are too. :)

Onward!
Peldi for the Balsamiq team

The last 2.1 release

Hello friends! We hope you're having a great summer.

We've been very busy working on the 2.2 release of Mockups, which will include a new awesome look and feel, a new wireframe skin for you to use and a new "Site Map" control type. The release is ALMOST ready, and you can try it today here.

We are aiming to release 2.2 at the end of the month, after some of our engineers get back from vacation. :)

In the meantime, we wanted to get out one more 2.1 release, which include some bug fixes and other minor enhancements.

Here's what's new in today's release:

  • All versions: Arrow heads now look good on straight arrows. Thanks Rolias for reporting it!
  • All versions: Fixed a number of Button Bar sizing and display issues. Thanks to Yaroslav Berezovsky, henri.juntunen, rbstijl and Christine Mayeux for reporting them!
  • All versions: Label control's dimensions were not rounded when the label was tilted.
  • All versions: Multiline button labels are now properly centered even if the second label is longer than the first. thank you pswulius for reporting it!
  • All versions: Rounded Rectangle geometric shape looks better.
  • All versions: Right-aligned Tab Bars are now right-aligned properly. This also fixes this crazy bug reported by robert.wallerblad.
  • All versions: Added {color} macro support to the Tag Cloud control.
  • All versions: made straight arrows (and any other thin control) easier to grab and move.
  • Mockups for Desktop: fixed a few issues with incorrect "This file is read-only" warnings being shown.
  • Mockups for Desktop: fixed a few issues with renaming files by just changing the capitalization of some letters.
  • Mockups for Desktop: fixed "Pressing CTRL+S when Save Mockups dialog appears when 2 dirty files are unsaved only saves the focussed file" bug, reported by Nathaniel Revathi.
  • Mockups for Desktop: fixed an issue with showing UTF-8 file names.
  • Mockups for Confluence and JIRA: fixed an issue with local attachment images not being found when editing old mockups.
  • Mockups for Confluence and JIRA: made it possible for Marketplace trial customers to purchase the plugin from us directly.
  • Mockups for JIRA: fixed an issue with session expiring when editing mockups for a very long time.

How do I update?

If you're using myBalsamiq, you're already updated. Just log back in and enjoy.

For other versions, simply install from our download page on top of your current installation. You won't have to re-register.

As always, if you hit any snags with the new build let us know immediately and we'll fix it right up! :)

For posterity, these are the version numbers of today's release:

  • Mockups for Desktop: version 2.1.20
  • Mockups for Google Drive: version 2.1.20
  • Mockups for Confluence: version 2.1.23
  • Mockups for FogBugz: version 2.1.20
  • Mockups for JIRA: version 2.1.21
  • Mockups for XWiki: version 2.1.19
  • Web Demo: version 2.1.19 launch it

We hope you enjoy the new release.

Onward!
Peldi for the Balsamiq Team

myBalsamiq updates and Mockups 2.2 pre-release

Hello friends!

We've been heads down for months, but it looks like things are finally coming together and we can start sharing some exciting new stuff with you.

myBalsamiq updates

First of all, myBalsamiq. As you know, we've had a bit of a rocky road with its stability since launch, but the dust seems to have really settled now, the servers have been humming along for weeks now.

We have been pushing a new update every Monday morning, quietly and without any downtime (yay!), mainly to fix bugs.

Here's what's been fixed in myBalsamiq since our last announcement:

  • In story view, don't show long left border in thumbnail
  • Fixed uploading multiple images in the editor (thanks Abdul R.)
  • Reduced the impact of RSS spiders on server load by implementing if-modified-since handling
  • Fixed an issue with removing staff (thanks Noah P.)
  • Setting site design settings to Default now correctly sets background to Pleather
  • Uploading gif assets with transparency now works correctly (thanks Alex B.)
  • Fixed an issue with deleting site assets (thanks Ed C.)
  • Implemented a way for customers to cancel and stop auto renew so they can continue to use their site until the end of the payment period (thanks Rick New)
  • Fixed an issue with deleting project assets (thanks Verónica T.)
  • Fixed an issue with caching BPML urls, should fix blank new mockup on edit (thanks Kenneth S., Craig L.)
  • Fixed missing edit note in email notification on mockup save (thanks Peter G.)

We are now working on improving the management of people and projects, as well as finishing up some infrastructure pieces.

Oh, and myBalsamiq has surpassed $200,000 in total revenue since launch! A nice milestone for what is still a pretty young product for us, yay! :)

Next up...

Mockups 2.2: a new skin for us, a new skin for you!

Version 2.2 of Balsamiq Mockups is coming soon, and it's AWESOME.

This new version brings two long-awaited features to Mockups:

  1. A new look and feel - we're finally getting rid of my programmer art, and replacing it with a look that's cleaner and consistent, while still staying out of your way. Here's a bit more background on this change. Thanks so much to Mike and our friend Mims Wright for an EPIC effort on this.
  2. An additional new skin for your wireframes - that's right, you can now switch to a clean, thin-lines skin. This is useful for presenting your work to your bosses or anyone else who thinks our default skin is too cartoony.

We hope to release it as an official release in a week or two, but we need your help! As you can see, this was a big change. We need your help in making sure it's solid before we ship it to the masses. Can you please start using it today and report bugs with it to support@balsamiq.com?

We suspect the bugs will mostly be cosmetic little things here and there, nothing catastrophic - that said, the usual disclaimer applies: this is a pre-release version, not to be used with data you're afraid to lose.

You can try the pre-release here on the web or download the latest 2.2 candidate here. Bookmark that page and check it daily! ;)


That's it for now, but there's lots more cooking, so stay tuned... :)

Onward!
Peldi for the Balsamiq Team


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