Developing beautiful UIs for the new NXP i.MX RT1060

Storyboard Suite for the NXP i.MX RT1060

*** This post was written in collaboration with Garry, our delightful UK Field Application Engineer. Garry visited the new Crank headquarters this week and, being a team player, he grabbed a baseball glove and helped the Crank softball team (nearly) win a game in the local high-tech league! ***

This week at the NXP Connects event in Shenzhen, China, NXP announced the new i.MX RT1060 Crossover Processor with an Arm® Cortex®-M7 core.

Working closely with the NXP i.MX team, we helped create a new application demo to support the product launch. Our white goods demo features a washing machine front panel GUI to demonstrate Storyboard Suite’s animation capabilities for embedded devices, which helps bring life to modern GUIs.

The i.MX RT1060 has increased memory resources which enable higher resolution and larger form-factor LCD panels to be deployed such as with the new 5 inch 800×480 LCD fitted to the EVK used in our demo.

We developed this demo using the Storyboard FreeRTOS Cortex M7 runtime engine, which is supported with the latest Storyboard 5.3 and RTOS SDK. The combination of this lightweight real-time OS and our optimized graphics runtime engine allows us to achieve the fast cold-boot times you can see in the video

We are running application code directly from on-board QSPI flash using an eXecute In Place (XIP) configuration along with graphical resources and images streamed directly from flash for minimized CPU loading. For this launch demo, we worked with the early beta board support package (BSP) tools and drivers from NXP.

We are currently working on a Storyboard Suite demo image for you to download for the RT1060. Subscribe to the Crank blog to be notified when it’s available.

In the meantime, try Storyboard Suite for yourself. Start your free, 30-day trial now and see how easy it is to create beautiful embedded GUIs from concept to production.

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Developing rich GUI experiences for Boundary Devices Nitrogen platforms

Boundary Devices

Boundary Devices has an array of Single Board Computers (SBC) that leverage NXP i.MX applications processors for developing rich, high-performance embedded products.

Storyboard Suite GUI demo images for Boundary Devices Nitrogen Single Board Computers

We are continually working with popular platforms to test and showcase the scalability of Storyboard Suite for GUI design and development. We recently added a demo image for the Nitrogen6_MAX, which features the i.MX 6 Quad family of applications processors. This demo includes applications that span the automotive, home automation, and consumer embedded markets.

Designed and developed in Storyboard Suite, these application GUIs are built with a modern design aesthetic with a focus on usability, scalability, and performance. As always, our demo images are easy to download and install to your target advice. Download it and try it out!

Storyboard Suite GUI on the Nitrogen8M

Check out the following video from our friends at Boundary Devices of a Storyboard Suite demo running on their powerful and impressive Nitrogen8M platform.


Try Storyboard Suite for yourself, start your free, 30-day trial now and see how easy it is to create beautiful embedded GUIs from concept to production.

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Developing brilliant embedded UIs for the i.MX RT1050

Storyboard on the NXP i.MX RT

Late last year, NXP announced the i.MX RT Series, a crossover processor that is optimized for low power and high performance. Built for efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and lower power usage, the i.MX RT Series doesn’t compromise on what’s important to end users; high-performance, usability, advanced multimedia, and impressive graphics. This series fills a gap and hits a sweet spot that offers the best of both the MCU and application processor worlds to provide an excellent platform option for medical, IoT, building/home automation, and smart appliance applications.

Helpful resources to get you started with embedded GUI development for the RT1050

Check out the following resources to understand more about building applications for NXP RT1050 platforms.

Demo images: We’ve been building up our inventory of NXP demo images to make it fast and simple for you to see applications on your i.MX RT1050 platforms with both uClinux and FreeRTOS variants. Download them and try them out!

On-demand webinar: In addition to demo images, we also have an on-demand i.MX1050 webinar, “Delivering performance, functionality, and stunning design to embedded products” available that we hosted with NXP.

EmCraft demo: Our friends at EmCraft Systems created a short demo built with Storyboard Suite and instructions for quickly installing it to an NXP i.MX RT1050 EVK board.

Haven’t tried Storyboard Suite yet? Download our full-featured 30-day FREE trial today, and test drive it for your embedded UI development.

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Crank Software is moving!

It was inevitable. Eventually, just about every successful company has to take the leap and uproot and move its office. For a growing company like ours, moving to a bigger office space is almost a rite of passage and is a commitment to our employees, partners, and customers that Crank’s story is evolving and our future is bright. Our new office has space for us to double in size, and we plan to make full use of that.

But moving can be daunting. With so many logistics to manage and the potential for things to go wrong, we’ve put countless hours into planning and anticipating to minimize any disruption to our customers and our business.

Tomorrow is the big day! We have bins stacked high full of beloved desk essentials, all anxiously awaiting their new, bright, beautiful home.

via GIPHY

So, why did we have to move?

Simply put, we’ve run out of room! This is a good thing. We’ve been growing to better serve our customers and to continue to evolve Storyboard Suite to make it the best possible GUI development framework for embedded UI designers and developers. Not just good, but the best.

We’ve been joking over the past couple of months that any additional Crankonauts (Crank Software employees) would have to work in the washroom, server room, or coat closet. The idea of double-decker office spaces was floated and, rightfully so, shot down. We’ve completely outgrown our boardroom and lunchroom. We’ve been having meetings wherever we can find space. It’s been getting harder to find places to put our bikes. Time to move!

Also, the new office is closer to the mountain bike trails.

How does the move affect our customers and partners?

We are working hard to minimize any potential disruption. The move will happen tomorrow and it will be business as usual on Monday. We will still be responding to calls and emails promptly during the move. Our phone number and email address remain unchanged:

Phone: +1-613-595-1999
Fax: +1-613-701-0204
Email: info@cranksoftware.com

Our shipping address change is effective immediately, so please update your records with our new contact information:

Crank Software Inc.
1000 Innovation Dr, Suite 100
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K2K 3E7

As always, you can download our full-featured 30-day FREE trial of Storyboard Suite and test drive it for your embedded UI development.

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Storyboard Suite 5.3: The latest in embedded GUI development

GUI Software Crank Software Storyboard Suite
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.

Embedded GUI Design performance logging

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.

Embedded GUI design text overflow

 

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.