As application developers embrace more screens, desktop, mobile, tablet, netbook, and even TV, tools for prototyping such applications become even more important. One example is 10Screens a software prototyping tool developed by the Indian company Bizosys. This Flash-based applications is capable of running both online, and offline via Adobe AIR.
This tool offers a rich interface for creating prototype designs of user experiences. 10Screens lets non-programmers develop simple simulation that can use sample data, and offer a level of interactivity. It is possible to simulate user experiences for different platforms, such as mobile, web, and desktop.
10Screens a quite new application, having started development only in December 2010. The application was developed by team of just 3 developers, yet managed to have a beta version available as early as March 2011, and a commercial release by May 2011, after just 5 months of development.
After the online version of the application was complete, it took just two weeks and around 1000 lines of code to make a desktop version of the application using Adobe AIR. This is possible because a significant portion of the code of the application is shared between the desktop and the online version. While the online version includes features that lets people collaborate and share designs, the offline version is more of a stand-alone application that can be used by someone working independently. Unlike the online version, the installable application uses an SQLite database and local files for storing your project data. Being an AIR application, it will run on Linux, Windows, and Mac OSX as long as the Adobe AIR Runtime is installed.
Since the application is built on Flash, it will run on any device capable of displaying Flash content, such as Android and Blackberry devices. The developers are considering using the mobile capabilities of the latest Flash Builder 4.5 to create a customized version of their application for iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad. This version as well will be able to share a majority of the code base of the application.
On the back-end, 10screens is a regular Java application that runs on a HSearch server. HSearch is a platform developed by Bizosys developers themselves, and released as open source software. Their HSearch search and data platform uses Hadoop to handle large amounts of data. This will allow 10screens to scale easily to support their growing customer base. To make this scaling simpler, 10screens is hosting their services on the Amazon Web Services platform.
While 10screens is a commercial application, a free usage tier is available as well. The free online plan plan allows one project, with as many users as desired, and 10 MB space for your project. The local AIR version too has similar constraints on the free version, allowing one project. The local version however can be purchased for a one-time license fee after which there is are no limits.
For more information about 10screens and to try it out yourself, you can visit their website by clicking here.