Evolus Pencil – wireframes and prototyping

During my consequential research and exploration of UML and prototyping tools for Linux I found something I really enjoy way too much than expected. It's the Pencil Project.

Pencil is an open source tool based on Firefox for drawing UI prototypes, schemes, wireframes. It has a pretty interface which is usable and fast, it could be ran over Firefox or as a stand-alone application in most of the operating systems around. I had installed it on my Fedora station and now I enjoy drawing schemes for my clients since then. 

The Pencil project offers some standard shapes for drawing, web components (h1 to h6, lorem ipsum, panels...), UI components from Forms (buttons, labels) and other popular things like tables that you might need to show the basic structure. Using a Windows Form/Frame as a parent component it looks exactly like a standard Swing or Forms application. Also, it has alignment of components by horizontal and vertical coordinates related to previously positioned elements. And so on. It's mandatory to try and use in the future. 

Other more complex charts could be painted as well - it's up to you.

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3 thoughts on “Evolus Pencil – wireframes and prototyping

  1. mwainer

    I've been using Pencil for a week, but I'm having mixed feelings about it.
    On the one hand, it's free and open-source. I like using it. It's easy to use and I feel like it has a lot of potential.
    But on the other hand, I'm finding it frustratingly limiting. The only way to save my work is in their .EP format. Pencil is supposed to be able to export to other formats, but when I try, I get error messages. It includes the ability to export to .PNG format, but the exports are unusable – too fuzzy and blurry. The only way I can show anyone else my wireframes is to take screenshots.
    I believe that it is being developed by just two people, so I imagine it takes a while. That being said, the last update seems to have been in 2009. The discussion/user group forum only has a few comments in the last 6 months or so. I found many questions and very few answers. I don't think the project has been abandoned (at least I hope not), but there doesn't seem to be a lot of support for it.

  2. Mario Peshev

    That's indeed true, but it depends on the dedication of some target developer group who is willing to support it. At the moment I'm using the PNG export for wireframes – it's really not that usable as I wish it to be (and not wide enough to be able to do enormous drawings) but it's still the best solution on the market for myself.

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