Saturday, October 10, 2009

NoVa Code Camp - SketchFlow presentation materials

Today I presented an introduction to SketchFlow at the Northern Virginia Code Camp (http://www.novacodecamp.org/). Thanks to those who attended my session!

Here are the presentation materials.



Some takeaways we discussed:
  • SketchFlow is not just for WPF and Silverlight prototyping! While it certainly fits well with a WPF/Silverlight project because of the consistent toolset (using Blend for both prototyping and "real" form development), there's nothing stopping you from prototyping a WinForms or asp.net application.
  • SketchFlow has a built-in feedback and markup mechanism (for the reviewers), and annotations (for the prototype author)
  • SketchFlow provides a screen navigation map, navigation links, and animation links. The latter allows you to provide "what-if" simulated user actions without actually wiring these animations up to a specific UI element. This is very useful to show alternate behaviors for a given action - recall the demo I showed with PassEmployeeAnimation and FailEmployeeAnimation.
  • SketchFlow projects are simple to build and deploy. Silverlight deployment is easier than WPF deployment: just copy your packaged prototype to a website virtual directory, as we saw today on my laptop at http://localhost:9999/)
  • SketchFlow helps remove the distraction of pixel-peepers who get distracted by exact look-n-feel of production-style user controls and graphics.
  • You can work with your prototype screens just like any other XAML form from a Silverlight or WPF app: you can easily view the XAML and make changes to things like a listbox DataTemplate (as I demonstrated with the Interview Question listbox).
  • Last, but not least: Since there's no real code behind the prototype, you won't get stuck in the prototype-gets-turned-into-a-real-app trap.
I'll leave you with one final super-cool tidbit: After loading up the demo prototype, go to the File menu and choose Export to Microsoft Word...   This feature builds a document for you complete with table of contents, screens, component screens, and navigation map. I generated Word output from today's demo and put it online along with the other demo files.

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