[Release] Balsamiq Mockups 3.1! Alternates, new Google Drive Plugin, Background Music, and much more!

Hello friends of Balsamiq!

It's only been three weeks since the last release, but A LOT has happened since. In fact, this is such a big update that we're calling it 3.1! Don't worry, this is a free update for existing customers.

Let's dive right in.

New feature: Mockup Alternates!

Alternates (also sometimes referred to as versions or branches) allow you to create variations on a single mockup design without adding more mockups to your project.

Creating alternates can be useful during the early design phase when exploring concepts and in later stages for reviewers to add their feedback and propose changes.

Some possible reasons for using alternates:

  • You want to create only one mockup per screen but have several ideas about each one.
  • You want suggestions for design improvements but don't want other people changing your mockups.
  • You want to send your project around for feedback and track each person's feedback individually.
  • You want to design feature ideas for future releases without including them in the mockups for the current release.

Here's a quick video about it:

We've been using Alternates for a few weeks, and can't imagine going back.

Read the full documentation here: Working with Alternates, there are some exciting semi-hidden features to explore!

Mockups 3 comes to Google Drive!

Our Google Drive plugin is the first to "catch up with Desktop". Today's release brings all of the v.3 goodness to Mockups 3 for Google Drive customers.

The plugin was already using auto-save, projects and even BMPR files (though they were saved in a different format internally). It also had real-time collaboration, which we've improved a bit in this release as well.

This release also removes the 10Mb size limit on BMPR files, and shows an RTC-powered viewer when you share a BMPR with someone but only give them read-only access.

We also greatly improved the billing interface for new subscribers (we now control the whole subscription process by integrating with Stripe instead of using Pin Payments as a middle-man). This was A TON of work and will come to existing Mockups for Google Drive subscribers soon and later to myBalsamiq as well.

To use Mockups 3 for Google Drive, just open your existing BMPR files, wait a few seconds for the conversion to the new format to finish and enjoy!

If you have never tried Mockups 3 for Google Drive, you've been missing out! Try it now!

Built-in Background Music!

For years we've been suggesting people use headphones when working in Mockups, to help you get in the creative zone.

A few weeks ago we asked ourselves, why not give our awesome users a built-in, get-in-the-zone-inducing track to listen to? And so we did!

Just go to the Help menu, click "Play Background Music", and get to work! πŸ™‚

music

The track is called Ascension, by Dr. Christopher Lloyd Clarke B.Sc, Msc.D. Meditation music composer and founder of Royalty Free Meditation Music.com.

We cut the track down to 25 minutes, added a Zen bell, then added 5 minutes of nature sounds recorded by our own Michael Angeles in his hikes around Marin County, CA. We then made the resulting 30-minute track loop 4 times.

Why the (25 + 5)*4, you ask? Because this way you can use the music to time your Pomodoros, of course! πŸ™‚

We are absolutely thrilled with this little new feature. It feels like another "I can never go back" feature.

Improvements to Full Screen Presentation Mode

  • Changed how we show link hints in full-screen. We no longer leave the pink rectangles on all the time, but instead "flash them" as needed and fade them out so that they don't disturb your mockups. If you want to see where they are, you can click on any empty areas of the mockup to make them flash again.
  • Added a subtle animation when hiding the full-screen toolbar.
  • We now remember the following settings across project and across restarts: active right-side panel, toolbar minimized or not, show link hints, show cursor, show markup, zoom mode.
  • Fixed an issue with settings showing the wrong value in some cases.

Bug Fixes Related to Controls

  • Fixed an issue with the "123" label in the iOS keyboard not being centered.
  • Added support for the {mockup-name} macro in Title and Subtitle controls.
  • Improved how the iPad, iPhone and Accordion controls behave when resized to be very small.
  • Made the top padding of the Label and Text control types match, and improved the padding of other text controls.
  • Changed the default size of the Geometric Shape text to be 13pt, like most of our controls.
  • If you use \r in an image label, the text stays centered now.
  • Same as above but for the Image Map control. πŸ™‚
  • Fixed how the text alignment works in the Sticky Note control.
  • We changed the color of the Red X control in Sketch skin to be a brighter red.

Other Improvements and Bug Fixes

  • Some users were seeing saving errors, especially when working with OneDrive files. Those should all be fixed now.
  • We now work well with read-only files! We no longer try to update mockup thumbnails unless you change something in the mockup, so just opening a BMPR and looking around won't change the file on disk.
  • We now support our markdown syntax (except for strikethrough) in mockup notes and project description. *Try it out!* πŸ™‚
  • Fixed an issue with the positioning of the resource menu in the navigator panel.
  • Fixed an issue with reordering not working on the first attempt.
  • Added a subtle animation when creating a new mockup.
  • Added a subtle animation when entering "grid view".
  • Fixed an issue (on Windows) with project windows not maintaining their size or maximized state across restarts.
  • Fixed an issue with creating a symbol library when there are none generating a run-time exception.
  • Fixed an issue with the vertical scroll position of the navigator after a "move to trash" operation.
  • Fixed an issue with using arrow keys to change position and size.
  • Fixed an issue with QuickAdd losing focus in some cases.
  • Fixed an issue with placing new symbols in a symbol library in some cases.
  • Fixed an issue with selecting something in the Symbols navigator incorrectly opening all other branches.
  • Fixed an issue with new projects getting created after discarding an unnamed project.
  • Fixed an issue with link hints from other symbols being shown incorrectly in some cases.
  • Fixed an issue with importing the same image twice not updating all usages.
  • Fixed an issue with removing symbol overrides not working in some cases.
  • Fixed an issue with importing BMML projects when a file name contained an illegal character.
  • Removed illegal characters from mockup names when exporting to BMML.
  • In Mockups for Desktop, the About window now properly says "Adobe Air Player" instead of Flash Player.
  • Fixed an issue with the UI library showing blank thumbnails after reopening a project.
  • Fixed a typo in the Google Wallet icon name.
  • Pressing CTRL+PAGEDOWN and PAGEUP now loop around mockups when you get to the last (or first).

How do I update?

If you're using Mockups 3 for Google Drive or the Web Demo, you're already updated.

For Mockups for Desktop, simply install build 3.1.1 from our download page on top of your current installation. You won't have to re-register.

As always, if you hit any snags with the new build let us know immediately and we'll fix it right up! πŸ™‚

What else is going on?

  • Welcome Agnese! We are thrilled to announce that Agnese Sgarbi has joined our team as our first ever intern! Agnese is a programmer, and her main job right now is to be "The Queen of Controls", improving our 76 UI control widgets, one Pivotal Tracker story at the time. She's been here only a few days, but she's already shipping code! The Bug Fixes Related to Controls list above was all her doing.
  • We have switched balsamiq.com to be "HTTPS all the time".
  • balsamiq.com and our other websites are now responsive! Try them on your phone or tablet, it should all look great.
  • We're getting ready for our company retreat at the beginning of June. We're going to be exploring the Loire region in France this year, sweet!

Special Thanks

This release would not have been possible without the help of the following awesome people: Cynthia T., Edward B., Emma Jane Westby, Frederik Bader, Geir Sagberg, Greg Jankowski, Jan W., Jenni Merrifield, JeromeR, jonhath, Juliet Sabol, Mark Bednarski, Mark Decker, Markus Groener, MrTaurus, Pablo M., Paul, Philipp Quaet-Faslem, Philipp Quaet-Faslem, Renee Grebe, Sebastien Giroux, Sebastien Giroux, Shane Hussain Naqvi, Tim, Tim Price, Timothy W., Todd F., Vaclav Kocian, Vincent van S., Yan Z., and others.

Thank you all so much for your feature requests, your bug reports, and for caring about our little tool. πŸ™‚

Onward!
Peldi for the Balsamiq Team


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Comments (9)

  1. Pingback: Balsamiq Mockups 3.1 | techscouting through the java news

  2. Alternates is one cool feature. Love it already. Keep up the great work!

  3. Alternates seems to be a nice addition. However I’d prioritize more speed (v3 is very slow on large projects). I’d be happy for more individualization options. For example two sidebars take too much space on small 4:3 screens, or quick access at top left position for sake of consistency with v2. Because first of all I miss the Linux support.

  4. Alternates sounds like exactly what I had been waiting for. The improvements to full-screen mode are also welcome.
    Well done guys. Keep reading my mind and offering awesome updates!

  5. Thank you for your reply, I’ll contact support

    Lehoux--bosquet Paul
  6. Hi,
    During the transition from version 3 of the software, I lost three days of work. I use Balsamiq with Google Drive. The latest backup (Google Drive) dated August 27. However yesterday I worked on my project and when I launched the application this morning, I had my work I am doing the day before.
    At 13 o’clock today, I have relaunched the application and I lost my last three days of work. Is this normal?

    Lehoux--bosquet Paul
  7. Wicked cool.
    Any idea when version 3.1.1 will be available for Jira Cloud?

    • No ETA at the moment, but we’re in the testing phase of the new version of the plugin already. It’s going to be wicked cool indeed! πŸ™‚

      Peldi Guilizzoni