Business applications are seen on an iPhone screen in this photo illustration on March 17, 2019 in … [+]
It’s open season on punctuation and capitalization. In the world of corporate branding, it’s now quite normal to label your organization’s name, product or service in lower case — and many attempt to try all CAPS too. It’s also fine to conjure up an iPrefix or ePrefix style name as well… and apparently, it’s also acceptable to internally punctuate your brand name at any point whatsoever.
Indigo.Design appears to champion this new approach to stylization. Perhaps for quirkiness or perhaps to give sub-editors a new headache (how do you finish a sentence with a name has a full-stop/period in it anyway?), this is the first major project release from the Infragistics Innovation Lab.
Infragistics has formally invested more than US $12M to bring a so-called design-to-code system to market with the Indigo.Design brand. So what does this technology seek to achieve?
The company’s cloud-based product design technology aims to streamline app creation from the design phase to the code creation and software application development phase with a so-called ‘design-to-code’ system.
How does it work? Well, the technology proposition here ensures that low-code apps prioritize User eXperience (UX, yep, more quirkiness) by beginning the app creation process with Graphical User Interface (GUI) design. Indigo.Design brings together the core components of the app creation process into a low-code tool that encompasses the following: UI prototyping and design, application building, virtual user testing, iteration and finally, code generation.
Being a design and UI focused firm, Indigo.Design takes a comparatively negative stance on existing low-code process, which it says do not enable developers to address the user interface element of the application to the required degree for mass adoption.
“Most low-code tools on the market focus on going from idea-to-app by skipping the designer and much of the developer. That’s a good way to get a concept out of your head and come up with a prototype, but to create a mission-critical business app with a good user experience, low-code tools on their own won’t cut it,” said Jason Beres, head of Indigo.Design at Infragistics.
Beres calls this technology a single common platform for collaborative app design and development. He insists that this approach preserves the necessary steps in the product development process while empowering and enabling designers and developers to streamline app creation, from design… all the way through tocode.
It works by creating GUI (people often just say UI) prototypes. This means that software teams can build interactive prototypes with a design system that includes usable components, 60+ UI controls, pre-built app templates and preset layout and design pattern options. Or, equally, teams can import custom designs from Sketch, an online design system.
Some developers will be happy to use Indigo.Design’s own App Builder, which the company promises is WYSIWYG (what you see if what you get) drag & drop creation tool.
App developers can also conduct unlimited, unmoderated, remote user testing and get feedback early (before extended coding is carried out) to avoid costly iterations with the development team. Application designers and coders can see and experience their live running apps with real-time source code during design, letting them iterate with design without writing any extra lines of code.
Once a team thinks its GUI/UI is pixel-perfect, they can transform their designs into clean, production-ready HTML, TypeScript and CSS for Angular to hand off to web developers.
There are some clear trends on show here.
The technology industry is clearly (just in case you hadn’t noticed) embracing elements of low-code functionality throughout and across the software application development landscape.
Further, the action to consolidate critical software application features and attributes such as screen design, user flows, prototyping, design collaboration and code generation is generally agreed to be a productive way forwards in this space.
On the road to low-code application development with what are commonly known as ‘reusable tokenized design assets’, it is (surely, arguably) reasonable enough for a tier of that innovation to be focused on the upper-level user interface. Given that the lower-level substrate of application infrastructure and all the mechanics of cloud that underpin it get so much time in the limelight, perhaps now is the time to think a bit more directly about top-down (user-centric) design rather than just bottom-up (vendor-driven) development.
Did someone say no more gooey GUIs? No, calm down, this is (comparatively and relatively speaking) just the start. You’ll still be screaming at the screen occasionally, but there may be fairer weather ahead.
I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’;
I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. As the previously narrow discipline of programming now extends across a wider transept of the enterprise IT landscape, my own editorial purview has also broadened. I have spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management. I have an extensive background in communications starting in print media, newspapers and also television. If anything, this gives me enough man-hours of cynical world-weary experience to separate the spin from the substance, even when the products are shiny and new.