Pencil: The best thing since sliced bread?

Well, probably not, but Pencil is still pretty damn cool!

But what is Pencil? According to the Pencil Project website their:

..unique mission is to build a free and opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use.

Playing around with a Pencil!

But what does this really mean? Well, from my point of view you could condense the above sentence into one that reads as “a massive time saver”.

Pencil is a Firefox addon (or stand alone app if you have XULRunner installed)  that lets you quickly sketch out a website or desktop application without having to use a heavy duty graphics package. It is pretty much as close as it gets to paper prototyping without using paper.

In my day job I have to do a lot of prototyping. Whether it is for a desktop app, a new website or a funky cool mobile web app. And as much as it sounds, prototyping is not all glamour! It can be incredibly dull and monotonous (which is why I recommend di.fm loud in the headphones). However, Pencil is proving to be a huge time saver. As an example, the image above is the result of about 1 minute of playing about with Pencil for this article. It’s not amazing, but it is a damn sight better than the results after 1 minute playing about in Fireworks or Photoshop.

If you have any level of prototyping to do, download Pencil!