Top 5 Axure features that were made for developers

We know Axure is used by different types of users. This article focuses on developers and what features in Axure, they would find useful and exciting.  We have compiled our top 5 Axure features we think were  definitely made for developers.

1. Masters
Masters are collections of widgets you can maintain in a single source location and then reuse throughout your file. Common elements that are created as masters include headers, footers, and navigation. Any edits you make to a master will be automatically applied everywhere that master is used. Developers will be most familiar with the concept of a “Master” from CSS and other programming languages.

2. Use of Variables
Though at its core Axure is a prototyping software, more complexity can be added to each prototype with the use of variable. Variables in Axure RP are structures used to store alphanumeric information (the variable’s “value”). Variable values can then be used in a variety of ways—displayed or manipulated using actions, or moved between pages in the HTML output. Variables must be named, and can optionally be given default starting values.

A variable can be used when collecting some information and then pass it to another page to display it as part of a greeting message. There is no hard limit to the number of variables that can be used in a single RP file, but Axure recommends limiting to 25 or fewer (especially when using Internet Explorer to view the prototype)

3. Conditions
“Conditional logic” in Axure RP is a system of rules used in interactions to determine whether a case should fire. This feature is primarily used to determine which case should fire when two or more cases exist on the same event (for example on a button widget’s OnClick event).

“Conditional expressions” are sets of one or more such rules assigned to cases, describing the scenario in which a given case should fire. “Conditions” are individual such rules—single line items in conditional expressions. We usually just refer to conditional expressions as “the conditions” on a case.

Think of conditional expressions and their host cases as having an “if-then” relationship: if the conditions are met,then the case’s actions will be executed.

4. Maths functions
Axure RP can perform math functions on widget text and variable values. This is useful when prototyping a design with a computational component, like a shopping cart, shipping calculator, scheduling app, or advanced animation.

Axure RP also gives you access to a large number of other types of functions, like string functions and date functions, borrowed from JavaScript. Examples of these include “length”, which returns the number of characters of text on a widget or in a variable value; “toLowerCase”, which converts widget or variable text to all lowercase letters; “toFixed”, which takes a widget or variable value and rounds it to a given number of decimal places (good for working with currency); and “getDate”, which can return a specified date (e.g. today’s or tomorrow’s).

5. Adaptive views
A no-brainer, “Adaptive views” are used when designing for multiple screen sizes. An adaptive view is a version of a page designed for a specific screen size. Changes to a widget or page property can affect one view, several views, or all of a page’s views. Given how much testing developers do around screen size and various sized displays, this a great feature that mirrors that workflow.

Top 5 Axure features that were made for designers

In this series we look at specific Axure RP features that a visual designer will especially appreciate and probably use most often. Not everyone who uses Axure is a visual designer and its main purpose is low fidelity prototyping. Despite this, the team at Axure have made sure it has enough familiar design tools/features for a designer to express themselves.

Let’s look at the features that are most important to visual designers.
Widget Styles
Widget styles and page styles are reusable sets of style properties that give the designer control over the look and feel of the final product. Style properties that are available include fill color and shadowing; border line color, pattern, and thickness; and text attributes like font, color, alignment, line spacing, and padding. Page style properties are also available in Axure RP and focus on page alignment, background color and image, and sketch effects.

Pen tool
To those familiar to Illustrator, Sketch and Photoshop, Axure RP’s pen tool draws vector-based shapes, which maintain sharp lines while resizing on the canvas and can be styled like regular shape widgets. Widgets created with the pen tool are called “custom shape” widgets. The icons in Axure’s Icon library are examples of custom shapes. The pen tool can be used to draw things like icons, charts, and curved arrows.

Grids, guides and snapping
Probably one of the most familiar aids to the designer, grid and guide lines on the canvas and widget snapping behaviors keep your diagrams tidy while working. You can create page guides for individual pages and global guides for the entire file.

Widget libraries
Widget libraries ease the learning curve for first time users by providing standard Axure RP widget libraries—Default, Icons, and Flow— that come pre-installed with Axure. But you can also install more libraries and even author your own in RP just as you would create regular .rp files. Axure widget library files exist in your computer’s file system as standalone files with the .rplib extension.

Dynamic panels and micro-interactions
Important to every design prototype is the detail of how the design will interact. Axure allows the designer to mimic these interactions on its widgets or pages. Interactions determine the dynamic behaviors of a widget or page and have three parts: events, cases, and actions. Interactions are configured in the Inspector’s Properties tab. Definitely a feature designers will find they cannot live without.

Axure 8 review: 3 features that will speed up your workflow

With the highly anticipated release of Axure RP 8, we look at the 3 features that will definitely speed up your design workflow.

 

Faster HTML prototype rendering times

In Axure 7, the generated HTML protoype was a combination of HTML tables, images and Javascript to accommodate cross browser compatibility, especially on the dreaded Internet Explorer. This however introduces lag in wireframe/prototype loading times resulting a bad experience when testing or when presenting to client. Axure 8 now actually generates CSS elements from your shapes resulting in more code than rasterized images. As developers know, this means it takes the browser a shorter time to load your Axure prototype. Sign me up!!

Group Interactions

Grouping Axure widgets is a regular activity to make moving them and applying a style easier. In Axure 8, the design team has gone one further and now provide interactions for groups of widgets. This means you can select any number of elements, like content blocks, calls-to-action or text and apply an action/interaction to perhaps open up a page or pop-up. Very cool. This can be a tedious exercise when the project comprises of numerous pages with widgets that need linking and where Masters and dynamic panels do not help. This feature will definitely reduce the time to link together an awesome prototype.

The Fire Event

A new inclusion in Axure 8, this event allows you to trigger an action or event on another widget. It works in a similar way to the OnClick event but actually allows for copying one widget’s event to be referenced on another widget or multiple widgets. What that means for you as the designer, is that you only need to change an action in one location and its applied wherever else it is referenced saving hours of debugging every occurrence of your action in your project. A definite time saver for large Axure projects.

Axure RP too expensive: How to download Axure for free

One of the obstacles to taking up Axure has been always been its price.

Though an industry standard software widely used in the UX field, some users struggled to cough up the cash after their Axure trial ran out.

This was a challenge for me when I started out in Axure. Eager to learn and master the software, I installed Axure on several machines trying my best to extend my trial period. When the software became indispensable to my job, I eventually bought the Axure Standard RP license. I was only able to do so because the agency I was working for desperately required the deliverables produced by Axure.

If you are freelancing or still a student there is no way you would be able to afford the price tag of Axure RP.

Or can you?

How to get Axure RP license for free

This was something I discovered after using Axure for a couple of months. Users can request free licenses from Axure if you are a student or a teacher. There are more than 30,000 licenses that have been provided to students, teachers, and classrooms around the world by Axure.

FREE FOR STUDENTS

If you are a student enrolled in an accredited high school, university, or community college, you are qualified to receive a free educational license of Axure RP Team.

FREE FOR TEACHING AND CLASSROOM/LAB

If you are a teacher or professor and want to use Axure RP Team in your class, we can provide you a free educational license to teach with and to install in your classroom/computer labs.

 

Eligibility: Do I qualify for a license

You are eligible if you are a student at one of the following:

  • Accredited full-time public or private primary/secondary schools
  • Accredited public or private universities or colleges
  • Specific educational organizations approved by Axure

You are not eligible if you are attending one of these:

  • Non-accredited schools
  • Freelancers or agencies offering UX or similar training
  • Meetup Group organizers/presenters/attendees
  • Professional Associations organizers/presenters/attendees
  • Training centers or organizations offering certificates upon course completion
  • Libraries

How long does the Axure license last

Educational licenses are perpetual and do not expire or need to be renewed.

Sweet deal.

So if you are a student or a teacher looking to use Axure RP, you can request for a free educational license. Super cool.

Go to this link to get one.

http://www.axure.com/edu

Axure 8 review: Top 5 features you will definitely use

With the exciting new release of Axure RP 8, we look at the new features that we have been waiting for and will definitely be using on a frequent basis.

  1. New widget library for icons
    The inclusion of a new library of built-in customisable icons from Fontawesome for Axure RP 8. If you did not know, Fontawesome is an ever expanding icon font that allows for customising size, color without losing quality. The inclusion of icons can transform a low fidelity wireframe to a more understandable and great looking design. For Axure RP7, a tedious workaround was developed by the users to include Fontawesome icons in Axure prototypes, so its great to see this inclusion for a frequently used activity across mobile and desktop designs.
  2. Pen tool
    We have definitely been waiting for this one. Axure 8 has a Pen tool which gives Axure, the vector drawing capabilities similar to Adobe Illustrator and Sketch App. Everyone who has used Axure for wire framing and prototyping, will have inevitably longed to produce complex shapes but these were not available in the default native libraries. Line Graphs, pie charts, silhouettes, custom icons etc were not possible in Axure RP 7 so we definitely welcome this feature with open arms.
  3. Global styling
    Axure 8 offers an exciting feature that fundamentally changes the workflow process when it comes to styling your wireframes and prototypes. The default widget styles can be changed at any point creating a editable base style set for the whole project. This feature is a more evolve aspect of the default and custom styles that Axure 7 had and will frequently come in handy on larger projects.
  4. Group properties
    Similar to a lot of you, in Axure 7 we used a hotspot that covered several widgets to apply the same action to everything below the hotspot. Now, Axure users will be able to apply an interaction or action to a group of objects by simply grouping them. Now that is very cool.
  5. Printing options
    Though Axure was ideally developed to generate HTML prototypes which would be viewed on any browser, in the wild it never quite works out that way. There are occasions were printing your project makes sense for team reviews and client meetings (clients loving killing trees). This becomes a painstaking exercise as an Axure project may contain sitemaps, long webpage wireframes which do not fit on a A4 page. Axure 8 makes that printing workflow easier with a significantly improved set of printing options including paper size, print guides and scaling parameters.

Bonus gem
Individual Page Adaptive views
Axure 8 now allows for adaptive views that can be enabled per page rather than the whole project. This is obviously important when your project does not only contain wireframes but personas, sitemaps, analytics, user journeys and so forth. Two thumbs up.

Overall verdict
Axure 8 looks to be a good improvement on some of the key areas users struggled with in Axure RP7 so definitely looking forward on giving it a full spin on some bigger client projects. So far so good. Not entirely sure about the subscription model though. Keeping the one-off payment option may be more profitable.

To get a full list of new features you can go the Axure blog

FAQ:Where is my Axure widget download?!

You have excitedly selected your widgets, gone through Checkout and eagerly await your Purchase email with the Download links. But nothing shows up. Don’t worry, it is not an issue that cannot be resolved nor are you the first. As one of the top recurring support issues we receive, we felt we should write a blog post on this topic. Let’s go through the whole journey.

Before purchase
Chose as many Axure widget libraries by selecting “Add to cart”

Checkout
Once you are done, either go to the Cart or select “Checkout” on your chosen library product

Enter your details (Last name is not mandatory) on the Checkout page and click on “Secure Purchase”.
If your purchase total was for free, you will be directed to a Purchase Confirmation page with you download links highlighted in GREEN. An email copy with the download link is also sent to your email address.

If your purchase total was $1 or more, you are directed to a secure payment section for Paypal or Credit card payment. Then, re-routed back to the site to the Purchase Confirmation page.The Purchase confirmation page will have your download links. If you are not re-directed from Paypal, an email with your download links are also sent to your email address.

Email receipt
If you went through checkout on the site, an email is sent to your email address and should be in your Inbox.
If you do not find it there it is one of three reasons

  1. It is in the SPAM folder as some email providers can treat mail with links as a security risk
  2. You email network has blocked the mail from reaching your Inbox
  3. Your payment is still pending with Payment service

 

So what must I do?

  • Check your email folders, both the Inbox and SPAM folders
  • Confirm that your payment has gone through on your card or Paypal. You should have confirmation email from the payment service you used on checkout.
  • Send us a mail and we can send our copy of your purchase receipt with the download links (Expect a response within 12 hours due to time difference)
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