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Weekly Release: Export to PDF, a Fresh Coat of Paint!

Hi everyone. Man am I ever excited about this week's release!

A fresh coat of paint!

First of all, we'd like to unveil...our new application icon!
Isn't she gorgeous?

Here it is again "in action" (click to enlarge):
We are absolutely THRILLED with it, we cannot stop looking at it. 🙂

We think it really captures the essence of Mockups: it's about brainstorming, quick iteration, and the same ease of use as a marker on paper.

The new icon was created by The IconFactory: I'm going to write a whole blog post about all the iterations it took us to get to the final version, but let me just tell you that there's a reason these guys are considered the best icon-makers out there. They are GOOD. Very professional, very accommodating, very talented! Many thanks especially to Cheryl Culling, a.k.a. "she of infinite patience". 🙂

Another thing that The IconFactory did for us is to completely redo all of the icons in the application! There were 78 of them, so it was quite an effort. And while we were at it , we took the time to rationalize the icon sizes and colors throughout the application, reskinning some of the standard Flex UI components in the process. We are really pleased with the results, let us know what you think!
We now have the monumental task ahead of us to update all the screenshots and most of the screencasts on the website...but it was long overdue anyways so it will be good. 🙂

As a personal note, I feel a mixture of pride and incredulity about the new icon. I have always had great admiration for other people's gorgeously crafted icons and never even dreamed of building an app that could "stand its ground" on someone's OS dock. I can't believe this is happening to me now, that's just SO RAD! Our little app is growing growth FTW! 🙂 Ok, back to work <slaps_himself/>

Next up, we added one of the most highly requested features to Mockups for Desktop:

Export to PDF!

That's right. You can now export all of the mockups you have loaded in Mockups for Desktop into a single PDF file, for even easier sharing.
The PDF will have one mockup per page, and INTERNAL LINKS!

So if you need to send a full-blown multi-page prototype you built with Mockups to someone who doesn't have the app, just open all the files, link them all together and export to PDF!

Here's a quick example PDF I threw together: exportToPDFmockups.pdf and the BMML sources for it:

This feature was the result of a great group effort. The Actionscript PDF generation library we're using is the excellent AlivePDF, by Thibault Imbert, who added the inter-PDF linking feature to it just for us! Thanks so much Thibault!

The code to take a group of images and image maps from Mockups and create a PDF out of it was written by a very talented Flex developer we know, who we contracted for this quick 3-day project. If you need a Flex coder for a short-term contract, this guy is one the best out there. Email me for details if you're interested.

And of course I cannot forget to thank all the people who have asked us for this feature, both on GetSatisfaction and via email! Our customers are the best, how did we get to be so lucky!?! 🙂

We have also updated our FAQ here with the new info.

Let us know if you run into any issue with this feature and we'll do our best to fix it right away! Thanks so much to Michael Bourque and Bruno Hofstetter for helping us find and fix a sneaky little bug with it already! 🙂

Other changes

  • Added "Export to PDF" to the demo version here. Why not right?
  • Made it so that the 5-minute timer only starts when the demo is fully loaded, so that you don't run on the same issue as @elangogovind
  • In Mockups for Confluence, the HTML generated by our macro now sprinkles class="balsamiq_mockup" everywhere, so that you can style it with CSS if you want! Thanks so much Bryan Crotaz for the feature request!
  • As suggested by Samson, we have made the current tab stand out more, with thicker lines and by moving the label a little bit - now that the green highlight is gone, it was a bit trickier to see which tab was selected. I think the new look is a definite improvement, let us know what you think
  • Made a ton of progress towards enabling real-time-collaboration in the web app...screencast coming soon I promise. It's SO cool, can't wait to ship it already.
  • You can now resize the iPhone and iPhoneKeyboard controls. They will maintain aspect ratio, and both have an "AutoSize" button now so that you can go back to their "natural" size easily. Thanks to Charles Du and others for the feature request.
  • Fixed a crazy little bug in the Browser control, thanks Andi for the bug report!
  • Radio Buttons and Check Boxes are now a little taller by default, which takes care of this bug reported by Jaanus.
  • The icon in disabled buttons is gray again, thanks Jon Boardman for the bug report, sorry about the injection!
  • The font color in the Text Input and Text Area controls now changes automatically based on the background color (white or black, just like for Buttons and other controls that do the same)
  • The font size of the pull-down elements in the Combo Box now reflects the size of the first line. Thanks to "Mark Two Thousand Two Belgium" for reporting it!
  • fixed a bug that allowed you to open files while in presentation mode. Thanks to Simon Tetu for reporting it!

I think that's it! Not a bad little release! 😉

How do I upgrade?

  • Mockups for Desktop: here (you might hit this one-time error if you haven’t updated in a while). If you still see the old icon after installing, try rebooting!
  • Mockups for Confluence: here
  • Mockups for JIRA: here
  • Mockups for XWiki: here
  • Mockups for FogBugz: here (onDemand customers: this will go live for you automatically in a few days)
  • Web Demo: here


Peldi for the Balsamiq Team

Leave a Comment

Comments (15)

  1. Pingback: Use Balsamiq Mockups to Protocast

  2. Great update Peldi! Glad that you’re showing love to all the folks who helped on the project – the world needs more of that. And Balsamiq just keeps getting cooler.

  3. This Freakin’ Rox!!! Thanks folks!!! Now I have to go to all those wonderful contributing folks and show some love there, too!

  4. I don’t like the new icon because it’s very similar to any other editor icon (like notepad++). The graphics would be better used for a splash screen. The new icon doesn’t fit well with the application either because it seems to lose the sketchy feel of prototypes you can create with Mockups – the old one could easily be identified with the sketches.

  5. Happy AlivePDF was useful and gave some more momentum to this great application ! Congrats again 😉

  6. Wow, the pdf export is fantastic. (Except for the Napkee-Guys, maybe)
    But I miss the smiley-icon. Especially in the windows taskbar, the new icon looks like all icons do.
    Anyway, it’s a pleasure working with Mockup!

  7. The PDF feature with links is awesome and very timely for our project. How did you manage to read our minds? 🙂

    Laurent Delamare
  8. Fantastic job! Love the new icon.

    Hey the idea of putting an Easter Egg or two is not bad at all.

  9. The new icon does not look good small. You can’t see what it is. It just looks like a piece of paper with some sort of pen on it.

    I already miss the smiley man!



    Sue Anderson
  10. I just love your blog posts about the new releases. Always a lot of text, you explain everything, it’s a pleasure to read 🙂 If only all the tech people were that friendly in their writing…

    anyway excellent job, keep up the good work.

    BTW, a 55 year old lady in my company has requested that I show her how the software works, because she thought the tool was just fantastic. She now uses it 🙂

  11. I love the new icon! It really does capture the essence so well. And the cleaned-up icons within the app are sweet. You guys continue to be an inspiration on how to do it right….

  12. The new interface icons look great, but I preferred the old application icon, it had more personality.

  13. Wow, that export to PDF function is the best thing ever! At the new icons look gorgeous. Well done on an awesome release. Thanks guys!

  14. Great progress Peldi!

    Although I have to admit, I will miss the Smile icon sometimes. Perhaps you need an Easter egg 🙂

    Michael Bourque
  15. Man you guys *have* to get auto-updated sorted out…