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PaintCode excels at transforming vector images into code

Marco Tabini | April 23, 2013
Pixel precision is an essential part of the software experience that users have come to expect from OS X and iOS. It requires a kind of accuracy that is usually best left in the hands of experienced designers who know how to manipulate every detail of images and icons to get the best possible result. This goal is time-consuming and expensive to achieve, however, and only really makes sense when an interface has completely taken form.

My only real complaint is that I would have liked a bit more control over the way the parameters are handled. For example, if it were possible to set PaintCode up so that it could use class properties instead of locally-defined variables, it would be easier to incorporate the code in an existing class. This is a relatively minor point, however, and one that it should be possible for the developers to fix in a future release.

Bottom line

At $100, plus an additional $20 if you want the ability to import PSD files, PaintCode is a fairly expensive tool. However, it has the ability to forever change the way you prototype and build your apps, and it will pay for itself nearly immediately once you start taking advantage of its features.

Even if you only plan on relying on handcrafted bitmap images to give your apps the shine and finish that they deserve, PaintCode can be used to rapidly prototype your interfaces; simply set all the UI elements up as vectors and change things around until you're satisfied, at which point you can hand everything back to your designer colleagues and let them apply the finishing touches. The difference over relying on traditional bitmaps is that all the changes can be parametrized in code, which allows you to shortcut the traditional iterative prototyping process and shorten your development cycle.

Of course, if you actually need the ability to handle vector graphics in your code, this app could be a real lifesaver. Compared to simply rendering PDF or SVG files, PaintCode gives you significantly more flexibility and power at the cost of a one-time fee that is very easy to justify.


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