Connecting your GUI with the Embedded System with Storyboard IO

Whether an application is destined for a car, washing machine, medical device, or fitness tracker; one thing remains the same: the user interface has to be able to communicate with the target device.

An application can be elegant and beautiful in GUI design, but it isn’t terribly useful if it can’t send and receive data from the embedded system. (It would be about as useful as the Commodore 64 my parents bought me when I was 10 years old, without getting me a storage device. Hello, World!, Goodbye, World. But I digress…)

Use Storyboard IO to connect your embedded system to your user interface

So, how do I communicate between my embedded system and my graphical user interface (GUI)?

When we talk to designers and developers and show them how fast and easy it is to create GUIs with Storyboard Designer, one of the first questions we get is, “That’s impressive, Dude, but can Storyboard communicate with the embedded system?” Storyboard Suite is way more than an awesome UI authoring tool. It’s a tool suite that allows designers to design and engineers to code — in parallel. Part of the functionality we’ve built in Storyboard for engineers is Storyboard IO (SBIO), a platform independent API that provides communication between the embedded system and the application. Storyboard Suite keeps the UI and the system logic separate, so that the design can evolve and iterate throughout the development process without negatively impacting the system, and SBIO provides the channel that brings it all together.

But that’s enough reading, check out this short video to learn more about Storyboard IO.

We are also working on an in-depth video that showcases the technical functionality of Storyboard IO, so If you haven’t subscribed to the Crank Software YouTube channel yet, you should, because you don’t want to miss it.

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Creating GUIs for the Connected Home with Storyboard Suite and Freescale

This past Spring Crank Software participated in a project with Freescale (and other fine Freescale partners) to deliver the ultimate connected home experience at Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) 2015.

There can be a wide variety of devices and sensors communicating data in today’s connected home. So how do we visualize all of that data?

IoT Connected Home Freescale Crank Software

How do we best help home owners interact with all of the information coming from their homes, without turning the promise of convenience into an overwhelming and inconvenient reality? The answer is iterative user experience design, teamwork, and flexible tools.

The Crank and Freescale teams collaborated to deliver a solid user experience and stunning, intuitive visuals for the FTF 2015 connected home. Using Crank Storyboard Suite, the teams were able to design a GUI that could provide home owners the ability to manage temperature, monitor and control security, maximize energy savings, control lights and appliances, and even…

…wait for it…

…make coffee. Well, not robotically deliver coffee. Yet.

While I continue to sit here daydreaming about coffee magically showing up on my desk on-demand, you go ahead and watch this awesome video from Freescale, that takes you on a tour through the connected home application from FTF 2015.

Why use Storyboard Suite to design GUIs for the connected home?

The best home automation interfaces are designed with users in mind. Simplicity is key, but intuitive and easy-to-use GUIs require elegant design, exhaustive testing, and multiple iterations – which can be time intensive (and expensive). Designing with Storyboard Suite allows teams to keep UX and UI designers engaged in the entire development process, resulting in systems that are finely tuned and highly functional, without dragging out timelines. Built-in collaboration tools in Storyboard also allow multiple designers and developers to work in parallel and merge designs without impacting quality or creating a fragmented user experience. This can dramatically reduce development cycles and speed time to market.

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Walk-through of the Storyboard Suite Embedded Application GUI Demos at FTF 2015

While we were at Freescale Technology 2015, we shared several photos of the various Storyboard Suite embedded application GUI demos. We also posted a (very) quick look at an IoT demo designed with Storyboard Suite for a connected home.

Thanks to our friends at Freescale, we now have a more in-depth video of Crank Software VP, Jason Clarke, showcasing all of the application demos at FTF featuring Storyboard Suite. Check out this more thorough look at the connected home application.

Smart homes lend convenience to busy households. Well-designed home automation interfaces allow homeowners to interact with and control their homes in ways that maximize convenience and savings.

If those demos leave you itching to test drive the new Storyboard Suite 4.1 for your next well-designed user interface, download the 30-day full featured evaluation version today.

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Introducing Storyboard Suite 4.1: Driven by GUI Designers – for GUI Designers

Earlier this year we announced the release of Storyboard Suite 4.0, giving embedded GUI design and development teams an easier and faster way to get their applications to market. 4.0 focused heavily on streamlining the design experience and supporting collaborative team development, with enhancements like multiple application design file support, model comparison and merge streamlining, support for 9-patch images, Lua Editor updates to increase productivity and make debugging easier, support for scrolling layers and circles and arc render extensions, and more!

When we release a new version of Storyboard Suite, we celebrate the success and innovation and get right back to making improvements and fine-tuning the user experience. Because our in-house UI & UX designers use Storyboard Suite on our own product feature demos and to create applications for customers, we find out quickly what we love and we know we could love more with a few tweaks.

Because of these tweaks and improvements, we bring you…

Storyboard Suite 4.1

Storyboard Suite 4.1 – Driven by GUI Designers, for GUI Designers

Available today, leverage the enhanced and improved capabilities we’ve brought to Storyboard Suite 4.1.

Quickly and easily edit animations

We’ve added significant enhancements to the animation timeline to make it easier to create and edit application animations, including:

  • the ability to copy and paste entire rows of animation steps
  • alignment controls on animation timeline
  • editing within the properties view
  • the ability to multi-select animation steps for quick adjustments
  • updated color coding to easily distinguish between animation elements

storyboard suite 4.1 animations

Design more efficiently and intuitively

We’ve fine-tuned a number of capabilities in Storyboard Designer to increase design and development productivity, by simplifying steps and making the UI more intuitive. These changes include:

  • In the Application Model View,
    • double-clicking Lua scripts enable editing
    • the Lua Script action label now includes the Lua function name
    • double-clicking an Action allows contextual editing
  • The Properties View has been streamlined to replace expanded shelves with tabs, making it easier to see the active render extensions that are being modified
  • Enhanced Group highlighting – Groups are highlighted upon selection in the Application Model or if they are ALT-selected in the editor. The selection displays the outline of the group contents and allows for easy resizing. Groups are also shown in the wireframe and outline mode
  • Updated Photoshop file (PSD) re-import workflow – Review and accept location changes of re-imported images
  • The platform specific color selectors have been replaced with a new generic SWT based color picker, leading to a more consistent experience across platforms

To test drive Storyboard Suite 4.1, download the 30-day full featured evaluation version today.

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From FTF 2015: Storyboard Suite IoT GUI Demos at the Show

Hello from Austin!

It’s day 3 at the show and we promised some photos and an update on all things Crank Software at FTF 2015. It’s exciting to see multi-market demos for the Internet of Things in the Technology Lab developed using Storyboard Suite, some of them by us, and some by our partners. Check out the photos and video below to get a vibe for what’s going on at the show.

News coverage of the home automation IoT demo

Unfortunately, there was only time to showcase a small portion of the functionality in this coverage, but check out the Storyboard Suite designed IoT home demo at FTF 2015. It starts at 6:25, so you can just skip right to the good stuff. :)

Storyboard Suite GUI design demos in the Technology Lab

Crank Software FTF2015 booth

Crank Software demo pedestals 102 & 103 in the Technology Lab at FTF 2015

Hands-on Lab at FTF 2015 by Crank Software

Crank Software VP Jason Clarke leading a hands-on lab at FTF 2015 on Day 2. The Evolution of Embedded GUI Design: From Photoshop to Crank Storyboard Suite to i.MX Series Hardware in Minutes

Storyboard Suite audio demo at FTF 2015 in the Freescale booth

Freescale Audio Solutions booth at FTF 2015, featuring an audio application demo built with Storyboard Suite

In-car Infotainment

In-car Infotainment demo by Freescale in Freescale & Green Hills Software booths at FTF 2015

Green Hills Software Storyboard Suite Demo

Multi-market application demo designed and developed with Storyboard Suite for Green Hills Software INTEGRITY RTOS

IoT Demo Storyboard Suite FTF

Freescale’s Clark Jarvis providing a demo of the IoT home at FTF 2015