Supporting UI scalability – from MCU to MPU

We are often asked the question, “what platforms do you support?” or variations on the same that include operating systems, GPUs, rendering technologies, and more. Development teams want to know if Storyboard Suite supports the environments they have, or want to build out.

We always give the same answer: All of them.

Of course, the details are important, so this blog explains exactly what Storyboard Suite supports.

Support across the boards

Storyboard supports a wide range of ARM architectures, from the low-power Cortex-M series used on MCUs to the powerful Cortex-A series used on MPUs. We’ve also supported PowerPC, x86, and SH4 architectures, among others. Storyboard runs on everything from task-based RTOS such as Micrium µC/OS-II and FreeRTOS to full-featured, general purpose RTOS such as Linux, QNX Neutrino, and Green Hills INTEGRITY.

This means you can build user interfaces (UI) for everything from tiny industrial controls to complex automotive instrument panels without having to worry about the particulars of the platform or the effort required to port to different environments when your product line grows.

Here are examples of our demo images running on the STM32F4 (Cortex-M4) and the NXP i.MX 6QuadPlus (Cortex-A9):

STM32F4 (Cortex-M4)

NXP i.MX 6QuadPlus (Cortex-A9)

We support this wide range through extensive development and testing on each platform, ensuring the Storyboard Engine takes advantage of specific board features, such as proprietary graphics libraries, 2D or 3D hardware acceleration, and memory management functions.

The ease at which we provide support for multiple platforms is a result of the way Storyboard is architected: it’s purpose-built for maximum performance and customizability. This flexibility is also exposed to the user, allowing fine control over application configuration and performance:

Application size – The Storyboard Engine is based on a modular plugin system, such that only the required components are included in the system configuration and deployed. Not only does this reduce the application’s footprint, it allows the user to scale functionality down for systems with minimal memory and CPU resources, including:

  • Screen transitions
  • Animations
  • 3D models
  • Input methods
  • Rendering types (polygons, circles, raw canvas, etc.)
  • Lua scripting

Scalability across platforms – Storyboard uses a fixed data model to represent the UI, not generated code, which means the same model can be used across multiple platform-specific runtimes that are tuned for the features and hardware optimizations of the platform. The model itself is event-driven and uses a well-defined API between the UI and the event/messaging system native to the deployment platform, meaning it isn’t tied to a specific environment.

Graphics rendering – Storyboard lets you choose how you want to render graphics, from writing directly into the frame buffer to taking advantage of any 2D or 3D hardware rendering available on the board.

Flexible filesystem – The standard Storyboard deployment uses a filesystem to store the UI data model and associated resources but, if you don’t have a filesystem, you can compile and bind resources directly to Storyboard Engine and flash to the target system.

Font usage – A Storyboard application can either use a font engine to load fonts directly from TrueType or OpenType files, or use pre-rendered glyphs that are stored in ROM.

To try out Storyboard on different platforms for yourself, download and run our ready-to-go demo images.

 

See scalable Storyboard demos on the Microchip SAMA5D2

Curious to see Storyboard Suite in action on your hardware? Our pre-built and packaged demos make it easy for you to test drive different types of applications designed for specific hardware platforms, letting you experience the powerful controls and smooth animations that create beautiful UIs and rich user experiences.

Scalable UIs across display sizes: SAMA5D2 demos for medical, white goods, and home automation

Storyboard applications are scalable across a variety of screen sizes and resolutions. Experience this on 480 x 272 and 800 x 480 displays with Storyboard demo images for the Microchip SAMA5D2 platform. These images include everything you need to get up and running in minutes, offering the following demos in both resolutions:

  • Smart washing machine – drill down into operational settings and track progress through cycles
  • Medical – browse through typical patient diagnostics, electronic health records (EHR), and security verification
  • Home automation – play with temperature controls, check out local weather, and customize lighting throughout the floorplan

Also included are instructions for flashing the image to an SD card and running it on your own board.

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To try Storyboard Suite for yourself, start your free trial now and see how easy it is to create beautiful embedded UIs from concept to production.

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Try it now: NXP i.MX 6ULL demo image

i.MX 6ULL demo image

Curious to see Storyboard Suite in action on your hardware? Our pre-built and packaged demos make it easy for you to test drive different types of applications designed for specific hardware platforms, letting you experience the powerful controls and smooth animations that create beautiful UIs.

i.MX 6ULL demo for medical, white goods, and home automation

This image includes everything you need to get up and running on an i.MX 6ULL platform in minutes, offering the following demos:

  • Smart washing machine – drill down into operational settings and track progress through cycles
  • Medical – browse through typical patient diagnostics, electronic health records (EHR), and security verification
  • Home automation – play with temperature controls, check out local weather, and customize lighting throughout the floorplan

Also included are instructions for flashing the image to an SD card and running it on your own board.

download

To try Storyboard Suite for yourself, start your free trial now and see how easy it is to create beautiful embedded UIs from concept to production.

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See Storyboard User Interface Demos on your Hardware

Storyboard Suite User Interface Demo Images

When working with any embedded platform it’s helpful to be able to quickly validate its capabilities and performance before investing the time and resources to create and deploy applications. Pre-built and packaged demos make it easy to test drive hardware with applications designed to its specifications.

Over the past several months we’ve been building a demo image library of application user interfaces created in Storyboard for a variety of platforms and hardware. Each demo image is built for a specific target with its unique capabilities, constraints, performance, and screen form factor in mind. The Storyboard user interface demos are packaged with simple instructions for getting the applications up and running on your target quickly.

Browse our library of Storyboard demos for platforms from NXP, STMicroelectronics, Microchip, and more. We will be adding new demos in the coming months, so check back often.

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Here’s an example of one of the Storyboard demo images, a multi-market demo on the NXP i.MX 6QuadPlus:

Download a free 30-day trial to test drive Storyboard and create your own application UIs.

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Experience Storyboard GUI Demos at NXP FTF Technology Forum

Storyboard GUIs at NXP FTF Technology Forum

Crank Software will be well-represented at NXP FTF Technology Forum 2016 next week in Austin, Texas, May 16-19. We will be running a hands-on lab again this year, as well as showcasing demo GUIs and Storyboard Suite features and capabilities at the exhibition. If you are going to the show, here’s what you can expect to see.

Exhibition Hall – GUI Design Demos

Visit the Crank Software booths (151 & 154) to check out a wide range of application GUIs designed and developed with Storyboard Suite. We will also be demoing the latest enhancements and features in Storyboard Suite 4.2.

You’ll find innovative Storyboard Suite demos in a number of partner booths at the exhibition as well, including:

Crank Software & NXP booths will be showing Storyboard Suite GUI demos that span automotive, white goods, and lifestyle applications on a variety of NXP iMX family processors. Not to be missed is the impressive Movie Theatre Kiosk, an interactive demo built with Storyboard Suite, running on the high-performance NXP i.MX 6QuadPlus on Linux with OpenGL ES rendering.

Hands-on Learning Opportunity – Storyboard Suite Lab Session

If you’d rather learn by doing rather than watching, we will be teaching a hands-on lab again this year, so make sure you rearrange your busy schedule at the show to attend our session. You’ll get your hands dirty in the 2 hour classroom session, so bring your appetite for learning and try your best to stump the Crank instructor.

Hands-on Lab – The Evolution of Embedded GUI Design: From Photoshop to Crank Storyboard Suite to i.MX Series Hardware in Minutes (FTF-DES-N2034)

When: Tuesday, 4:45 PM
Where: Griffin Hall 5 – Level 2
What: In this session, users will: import design artwork directly into Storyboard Suite; add interactive functionality and rich animations; test in the simulator to quickly refine and update the design; and deploy a functioning application prototype directly to an i.MX platform. After completing this workshop, users will be able to import artwork directly from Photoshop into Storyboard Suite, develop a rich application GUI, and deploy to hardware.

We will be tweeting from the show, so be sure to follow @cranksoftware for updates.
The NXP FTF hastag this year is #NXPFTF.

If you haven’t taken Storyboard Suite for a test drive yet, download a 30-day free evaluation and start designing today.

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See you at the show!