Vector Drawing App PaintCode Updated for User Interface Creation

Despite the popular expression, one size does not usually fit all. So while Adobe Illustrator rules the OS X vector illustration roost, a number of third-party alternatives are available. A particularly fertile subset of this is the creation of vector graphics for use in mobile and website interfaces, with Sketch being a notable example. And of course Photoshop CC can crank these out using Adobe's Generator technology but it doesn't seem to have found widespread adoption — many users stubbornly remain loyal to Fireworks, which Adobe has decided to not develop beyond CS6.

PaintCode has its own take on creating such images, positioning itself as a bridge between developers and graphic designers. The idea is that developers can create an app that is truly resolution-independent, by generating code in real time that draws the user interface. PaintCode was launched two years ago, with version 2, released earlier this year, being a major step forward.

Perhaps the most significant addition was that of StyleKits, a special Objective-C class that contains drawings, colors, gradients, shadows and other design assets. Since these can be exported from PaintCode with a single click, the result is an improvement in the design tweaking process. Variables were also introduced, which allow designers to create complex parametric drawings such as buttons with multiple states, circular progress bars and animated game characters. Also new were Expressions, which make it possible to create relationships between variables with immediately visible results. These dynamic relationships are apparently preserved in the generated code. Finally, improvements were made to the built-in drawing tools with the addition of transformations, new operations with Bezier curves, automatic and manual drawing guides, shape aligning and Boolean operations.

Version 2.1 may not equal such a leap forward but it's nonetheless significant in that it adds support for Apple's recently-released Swift programming language. Also new is the introduction of parametric colors, gradients, shadows and images, which allow designers and developers to create dynamic drawings that can be easily adjusted.

PaintCode 2.1 for OS X can be purchased on the PixelCut site for $99.95. A trial version is also available for download.