[thelist] Windows App GUI Tool

Rory.Plaire at wahchang.com Rory.Plaire at wahchang.com
Thu May 24 11:58:00 CDT 2001

Hi Michael,

 From the description of the tools used in the past, may I restate your
question in terms that may make your request more clear to me? In most
engineering disciplines, a prototype is an actual working model, with near
full functionality (what in the SW field is known as alpha or beta bits). A
model definition where you only render the representation of its significant
features in order to achieve a more complete conceptualization is called a
mock-up. A mock-up generally possesses little to no functionality of the
final product, but appears like it in a striking way. This aside, and
assuming that you have a mock-up for visualization purposes, you can use
either Microsoft Visio or Microsoft VB (or VBA with Office, for that matter,
it's "cheaper" 8), to do a real-to-life visual model. With VB[A], you can
also get someone (or you, yourself) to put a little code here and there to
extend the visual impact of the features, if so needed (e.g. "What would
happen if this button is pushed?").

Hmmm... the bulk of the beginning of this reply was wordy and sufficiently
off-topic to demand to be propitiated with a tip? Sure enough...

<tip type="Designing with Models" author="Rory Plaire>
In many shops, back in the day, before the internet helped everything attain
unheard of speeds, put-up and tear-down models were rare. Designers and
developers were generally the same person, and we invariably, at the most,
drew a few token squares on paper to conform to some pie-in-the sky
principle of "software design." It was more of an ideal we were happy to
forego in order to get to the "real part" of our work -- coding. 

Today, with shorter and shorter cycles of solution rollout, higher and more
demanding expectations and bitter experiences from efforts wasted in unused
or badly treated applications, we more frequently turn to the artist to help
us render the ideas gained from use-focused analysis. This design makes
heavy use of models and mock-ups to present the general idea to users and
managers, so that understanding and level of enthusiasm both remain high,
and therefore the intelligent involvement of the concerned is secured,
providing a truly valuable, high quality end-result. To facilitate this
further, there is a standard modeling language which can be used to generate
the graphical UI and the underlying code. It is known as UML, the Unified
Modeling Language. UML can be used to help designers and developers (still
can be the same person, sometimes! 8) express the functionality of the
system in a common, shared and consistent way, regardless of the design
tools or development language employed. A great book to get started is: UML
Distilled, 2nd Edition; ISBN: 020165783x; URLs:
http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=2-020165783x-0 -or-

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael McGlynn [mailto:blastronaut at excite.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2001 5:54 AM
To: thelist at lists.evolt.org
Subject: [thelist] Windows App GUI Tool

list rox -
I am a gui developer and I am entering the world of Windows applications.
Previously I have developed ASP and web GUIs using Illustrator, PS and

Now that I am transitioning to Windows, I am wondering if there are any
standard prototyping tools for this platform. Not for coding, but
prototyping, ostensibly something that a small organisation could use for

So far I have come up with Supercard, but nothing Win specific.


michael mcglynn
interface designer

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