Fast UI prototyping for Raspberry Pi

October 21, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
ByteSnap Design’s user interface development framework SnapUI has been extended to support Raspberry Pi and i.MX6-based embedded devices. SnapUI already allows Windows embedded and Linux developers to build and test user interfaces before hardware development of the target device is complete.

ByteSnap Design’s latest iteration of SnapUI brings high performance to UI prototyping, with the emphasis on CPU embedded chipsets. The small, focused SnapUI codebase and easy integration of new features makes adoption of the framework painless for software engineers, enabling them to extend built-in custom graphical objects easily.

When designing new hardware devices, keeping the user interface design in step with hardware development can, ByteSnap asserts, be difficult; worse, when the user interface is overlooked or is the last consideration in the design process, projects can suffer significant delays in getting product to market. SnapUI mitigates this risk by enabling development of the user interface independently of the hardware, on a reference hardware platform or readily available Raspberry Pi, ready for deployment to the target device when the hardware is ready.

The compiled SnapUI library contains a powerful OpenGL engine, which renders content optimised for Raspberry Pi hardware and achieves high frame rates with low CPU usage. Changes to the user interface can be implemented rapidly and simply by changing the XML description of the interface, significantly reducing the time required to deploy new versions of the UI or to change branding or multi-language translations compared to traditional UI development methods.

“We see our framework being used to quickly mock up user interfaces for demonstrations on the Raspberry Pi itself; this could be deployed on the Pi compute module to create an industrial platform with a suitable baseboard. We expect this to be the case for many customers wanting to drive an LCD panel for purposes such as ticketing, information and industrial control devices,” says ByteSnap Director Graeme Wintle.

ByteSnap Designs: