As we think about and design (and re-design), we’ve switched over to a Telerik show case application named AppMock , available in the Windows Store.
In addition to the advantage of dog-fooding our own product (always a good thing to do), we can see more closely what controls we’ll need and how we might layout the actual pages of the application, as seen in figure 1
Of course, nothing makes up for the fact that I’m not a designer, but having a toolbox that has all the controls I might actually use in a Windows 8 project is a huge advantage,
As Phil mentioned in his excellent article on the importance of Wire-Framing, this gives us a great head-start on creating the application itself. It is a lot easier to manage, manipulate and maintain wire-frames than to make these changes in the actual UI of the application.
AppMock itself allows you to quickly and easily create prototypes of your Windows Store application. It provides a rich set of Windows 8 style tools and components, grouped into categories (as you can see in the figure). You can organize your prototype into page (called sheets) and in the end you can run the project to see it in action by navigating through the pages using preset links (hot-spots).
The difference between which controls are available in AppMock (and thus, in Windows 8 out of the box) and those which are in the initial wire-frame received from the designers helps shape the initial discussions. Do we need custom controls or where they suggesting layout that can be replaced with out of the box controls? All of this is grist for the mill as we narrow in on the look and feel of the application.
Note that while these conversations are continuing, there is no reason that we can’t be laying out our data classes, creating our data model and creating our view model. For that matter, we can be doing some preliminary view work, subject to radical change as things sort themselves out.
Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects. He is the author of 2 dozen books and has been a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T and a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. You can read more on his personal blog or follow him on twitter