What is Storyboard?

Storyboard takes a design-centric approach to creating embedded graphical user interfaces (GUI). Users create interfaces in a desktop development environment by directly importing content from graphic design tools, such as Photoshop and Sketch, and by dragging and dropping standard image assets into a position to build up screens.


A Proven Way to Build Embedded GUIs

Storyboard isn't a traditional development environment. With traditional development methodologies, software developers build user interfaces using functionality libraries and are unable to easily validate the look and feel of the interface while they are coding. User interfaces developed using Storyboard are immediately visible and teams can test and validate the interaction, graphics, and user experience during development via desktop simulation and rapid hardware deployment.

Unlike widget frameworks where you instantiate pre-configured elements and attempt to customize them, Storyboard Components offer a way of quickly creating reusable display elements that can be associated with logic that is independent of the presentation.

Storyboard Designer and Storyboard Engine

Storyboard is composed of two parts: Storyboard Designer and Storyboard Engine.

Storyboard Designer is the desktop development environment that designers and engineers use to assemble a graphical user interface (GUI) application. In this environment, you can quickly import structured content from existing tools, such as Photoshop, Sketch, or Autodesk 3ds Max, or as standard image and font files and assemble the visual structure of your application.

Once an application structure is assembled, Storyboard Designer exports the application as a sophisticated state machine application model that is used as input to the Storyboard Engine. This application model is not generated source code that needs to be compiled (i.e. C/C++) and is completely independent of the target execution environment.

Storyboard Engine is the target-specific executable (or library in some scenarios) that loads the model generated by Designer and starts the execution of the state machine. Storyboard Engine is a highly optimized execution environment. Each engine is configured for a specific CPU architecture (Arm, x86, MIPS, etc.), operating system (Linux, QNX, Android, FreeRTOS, etc.) and rendering technology (OpenGL, OpenVG, software framebuffer, custom, etc.). This structure makes porting the Storyboard Engine to a new platform configuration relatively risk-free and a deterministic process.

A Non-Compiled Solution

The application model generated from Storyboard Designer doesn't require compilation and is target environment agnostic. This makes it straightforward to generate applications that execute in a variety of different environments, such as an application that can work both on an embedded device (for example a wall thermostat) and in a mobile context.

Another advantage of being hardware and operating system agnostic is that elements of the user interface can be used as part of a product's hardware evaluation process. It takes only minutes to create a rich animated application when working with the Sketch and Photoshop import functionality. The application can be immediately evaluated on any one of the over forty different platform configurations spanning more than a dozen operating systems and popular rendering technologies.

Storyboard Software Updates

Storyboard minor updates are provided through a software update installer within Storyboard Designer.

When Storyboard Designer starts, it automatically checks for updates and again every four hours while running. Users can also force a check for updates from within Storyboard Designer by selecting Help > Check for Updates from the main menu. If an update exists you will be notified to apply it and a wizard will guide you through the download and installation process.

Updates won't take effect until you restart Storyboard Designer.

Major updates are provided as a separate stand-alone installer. It is not recommended to install new versions of Storyboard on top of each other as there may be a number of file conflicts leading to instability. Install Storyboard versions to separate directories. You can install and run multiple versions of Storyboard on a system at the same time.

Compatibility with Previous Versions

Storyboard Designer 7.0 can import and work with projects from Storyboard Designer 4.0 and later (i.e. 4.0 - 4.2, 5.0 - 5.3). To migrate from an older Storyboard version to 7.0, read our Migration Guide.

Projects created with versions of Storyboard Designer older than 4.0 must first be converted to an updated file format using a Storyboard Designer 4.x or Storyboard Designer 5.x release. Contact support@cranksoftware.com if you need assistance in performing this conversion.

When migrating to new versions of Storyboard, save and archive a snapshot of the project if you plan to continue to work with it in an older Storyboard Designer environment.

To use a Storyboard project from an earlier release than it was created (e.g., using a version 7.0 project with a version 5.0 environment), the best approach is to 'back migrate' the project using a Storyboard Engine export and then a Storyboard Engine import. The export to a Storyboard Engine creates a runtime file (*.gapp) from the design file (*.gde). The Storyboard Engine file contains only the information required to run the application and does not contain all of the design material (such as notes and unused layers) so that content will be lost. Features that are not present or used by the older Storyboard version will be lost on import since it is not possible to use them with an older environment.

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