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Real-Time Mobile App UX Tool Goes Beta

Fuse announced its tool for real-time mobile app UX collaboration between developers and designers is now available for download following a closed beta.

"For the first time, using a markup language and unique visual tools, mobile developers and designers can create and update the look and feel of their apps on multiple devices in real time, and then output production-ready code for both iOS and Android," the Oslo, Norway-based company said of the tool that has been in a one-year closed beta.

CEO Anders Lassen said in a blog post that the closed beta program provided user feedback indicating the tool provided intuitive prototyping -- emitting native code instead of static slideshows or GIFs -- that he termed a huge improvement over way today's apps are generally made.

The company said developer/designer collaboration of an app's UI/UX is even more important to help companies ensure their mobile wares stand out in the crowded iOS and Android app stores, which reportedly increased by 50 percent in size last year.

The Fuse tool features an instant-on device preview -- running native code -- that's similar to what's available in the Web development realm, but without what the company called the inherent limitations of hybrid apps. Hybrid apps are based on Web technologies but typically wrapped in a container that communicates with native devices via JavaScript -- a technique that lets Web-based apps appear in the online stores.

In the Fuse approach, app UIs built with the visual tooling and UX Markup -- an XML-based language -- are compiled into pure C++ code and exported via native platform tools. "Your JavaScript code obviously runs separately from UI and animation, with reactive data binding to the front-end," the company said. Developers can also use Uno, a C# dialect, to create custom modules and features.

But building app UIs requires knowledge of only XML or JavaScript, the company said. Designers and developers can create UIs featuring motion, interoperating with design tools such as Sketch and Photoshop and leveraging OpenGL ES acceleration for "advanced visual effects and custom UI components."

Developers can sign up for the Fuse beta program here.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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