Here at Crank, we update and release Storyboard Suite on a regular cadence. We generally have a major feature release followed by a maintenance/refinement release. This release strategy helps us balance the need to deliver new functionality with ensuring we get a chance to refine usability and reduce technical debt as the product evolves.
Storyboard 5.3 was intended to be a maintenance release. Customer feedback (which is very important to us) provided us with a list of small changes that would have a big impact on usability, such as automatically opening up the design report after it has been generated, allowing control alignment to be used outside the editor, and creating a dedicated action to stop timers as well as providing timer selection through a drop-down list.
This release is full of these small, but significant, Storyboard Designer changes for embedded GUI development. They are captured in the release notes, but ideally, you won’t even notice them. Instead, you will just get the sense that using Storyboard 5.3 is an even smoother and easier experience.
Storyboard Suite 5.3: More than a maintenance release
Even though Storyboard 5.3 is a maintenance release, the Storyboard development team couldn’t resist adding in some new functionality. The existing Storyboard Engine performance logging was enhanced with new instrumentation for timers, animations, control cloning, screen transitions, and event communication. Periodic reporting of key metrics such as frame-rate, memory, and CPU usage is now available and can be dynamically controlled while the application is running.
To help digest all this new data, a completely revisited performance log editor was created that provides a number of statistical breakdowns of the data in addition to the hierarchical log file listing.
Looking forward, the team is excited about introducing a graphical timeline-based view of this performance data to help match what you are seeing to what you are designing. It isn’t part of this “maintenance release”, but look for it in a future Storyboard release.
There are two other enhancements that you might want to try right away:
Manage text overflow: For text that exceeds its display area, there is an auto-ellipsis option that can be enabled. To better understand what areas of your project this might best apply to you can run the Design Report and look at the Text Translation content.
Easily locate the center-point: To make the process of selecting the center point for rotated images, such as needles and dials, we’ve added a rotation center-point tell-tale. It’s small and subtle but we feel that it’s just the right amount of hint without getting in the way of your visual design.
Enhanced platform support for embedded GUI development
We now support Raspberry Pi with both an OpenGL based renderer and a software renderer out-of-the-box. We are working on a demo image for the Raspberry Pi and will be posting that to our site, so watch for that in the near future.
Give Storyboard 5.3 a try and let us know what you think. The Crank team is always receptive to feedback and we’ve already started laying out the new features for the next major Storyboard release so it’s a great time to incorporate your feedback.
As always, we provide a full-featured 30-day evaluation for you to try it out first hand.