CRANK IT! August 2010
Welcome to the August 2010 issue of CRANK IT! — the newsletter for UI designers and embedded systems engineers. We’ve cranked out five articles for you this month.


Fresh off the press! Storyboard 1.1.1 update is available

Storyboard Suite development is in full force. The crew here has been hard at work implementing changes and resolving issues posted from customers and from our own internal testing. We are now at a point where we have enough changes to release a Storyboard update.

Storyboard 1.1.1 will not be delivered as a standalone installation like the previous Storyboard 1.1, but only an update. The update can be installed two ways from within Storyboard Designer.

  • Simply click on Help -> Check for Updates
  • Or click on Help -> Install New Software -> Add and paste this link into the space provided

http://www.cranksoftware.com/cranksoftware/storyboard/updatesite

NOTE: The new update will work with either Storyboard Designer 1.0 or 1.1.

So you are interested. Why would you want to update your installation to Storyboard 1.1.1? Well there are a number of good reasons to upgrade. One being we have exposed a number of internal variables so they can be set within Storyboard itself. Previously the only way to access these variables was via Lua script. Now they are presented with the rest of the variables in the properties view for the control or layer being viewed.

In Storyboard 1.1 we released a Lua debugger to help developers get further insight into what might be going wrong with their Lua scripts. To enable the Lua debugger there were a few manual steps that had to take place to get it up and running. We have made that manual process pretty much obsolete in Storyboard 1.1.1. Our developers have taken all those manual steps and instead provided a checkbox option.

Last but not least are bug fixes and performance tuning. Every product needs a little tuning to provide the best possible development experience for our customers and individuals evaluating Storyboard. The list is too long to list here but comments from our Beta testers are promising.

As always we look forward to comments/feedback from our customers and with Storyboard 1.1.1 that hasn’t changed. Please feel free to provide comments, ideas, feedback, fanfare, etc in our forums or shoot us an email.

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New Office Update


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Update your Crank Software Inc. contact information.

    4017 Carling Ave., Suite 302
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    K2K 2A3

The days of working over an Irish Pub are now behind us, moment of silence please … ;) To accommodate our growing staff Crank needed a larger space. This new office space is much larger then what we had before. In fact, I get winded walking from my cube over to the kitchen. Some might say that has something to do with my physical condition but I chalk it up to the size of the office.

With all joking aside this is a great step forward for Crank Software. We now have the necessary space for new hardware and testing labs. Accommodating staffing and customer requirements will no longer be challenging in our new space. For a virtual tour of our new digs, visit Jason’s blog post.

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Walk through a complete embedded application design

Our very own Thomas Fletcher, Vice President of Research & Development, is currently on Part 3 in a series that will walk through a complete embedded application design using Storyboard for the user interface.

Part 1 provided a general overview of the product to be built; Part 2 contained a rough block architecture diagram of the software components and their communication paths.

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Upcoming events

RENESAS DEVCON 2010, OCT 11-14 2010

Crank Software is an exhibitor at this year’s Renesas DEVCON. Jason Clarke, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, will be giving a presentation on “Developing Rich Graphical User Interfaces Optimized for Embedded Systems".

A four-day environment of valuable technical information exchange, which includes personalized direct and interactive access to Renesas technology, experts and partners from around the world. Select from over a hundred hours of lectures and hands-on labs on an array of technologies and application topics and participate in discussions at the "Meet the Experts" sessions. You'll also find a solutions-filled exhibit hall with over 75 informative demonstrations and show exclusive offerings on tools and development kits.

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Customer Highlight

Anthem

For over 15 years, Anthem has been setting the standard for sonic excellence in every product category it offers. Anthem's focus on providing the best in performance and value continually pushes the boundaries in audio/video receiver design.

When this international manufacturer decided to integrate multimedia capabilities in audio/video receivers, it turned to Crank™ Software for their expertise in embedded user interface (UI) development solutions.

Technical Challenges

  • Integrating multimedia capabilities into a line of audio/video receivers. Rather than being pass-through devices, the manufacturer wanted to provide a high level of interaction with consumer media devices such as iPods and USB devices, and provide that support natively within the receiver. To achieve this goal, the manufacturer needed to provide an enhanced graphical display user interface/user experience (UI/UX) that would be more than just a dial to select video and audio sources.
  • Building in scalability across product lines. The UI/UX needed to be consistent across a low-end and a high-end system. Adding to the complexity, the UI on the low-end product had to match a third party’s UI.
  • Leveraging investments. The manufacturer wanted to leverage the development in the low-end system, yet enable the high-end system to have a completely custom UI.

Solution

The manufacturer required a turnkey solution for the low-end product. Few companies have the embedded development expertise to complete the integration at the level that the manufacturer required, the experience working with the multimedia system the manufacturer was using, and an embedded UI development solution that optimizes hardware performance on resource-constrained devices. The team at Crank Software has a strong background in and understanding of real-time embedded systems—they understand memory constraints, CPU constraints, and prioritization of tasks. Crank Software offered the manufacturer the expertise and tools required to achieve the project objectives.

Benefits

  • Leverage R&D Investment; learn from the experts. Crank Software delivered the UI for low-end system using the Crank Storyboard™ Suite of embedded UI development solutions; the manufacturer’s development team will develop the high-end system.
  • Scalability and portability. Now that Crank Software has separated the business logic from the system logic, the manufacturer’s development team will be able to easily reskin and reapply the UI to the high-end system. Storyboard provides the foundation that will ensure portability across OSs, hardware platforms, and CPU versions—without re-designing the UI.
  • Easy to use tooling solution. Storyboard provides a tooling solution that allows the manufacturer’s development team to easily edit screens to modify the UI.
  • Quick and easy integration points. The system takes advantage of the fact that there are multiple ways of driving products. From a testing point of view, even if a piece of the system isn’t integrated with a command set, the development team can advance the project schedule by prototyping, developing, and testing in advance of the hardware being ready. The Storyboard plugin interface makes integration with third party multimedia systems quicker.

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Twitter

Stay up to date with the latest code samples, in depth tech discussions and mindless banter from the Crank Software crew via our Twitter account.

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