TweetFollow Us on Twitter

ARTIS Screen Tools

Volume Number: 19 (2003)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: Cool Tools

ARTIS Screen Tools

Useful utilities for pixel measurements.

by John C. Daub

A great find!

Between my day job as a software engineer and occasionally fiddling with my hsoi.com web site in the evenings, I find myself every so often being concerned with pixels. I want to know how many pixels long is this? How many pixels are there between this and that? Will that many pixels fit onto the screen? What color is that pixel? Are all these pixels lined up? In trying to have my software adhere to Apple's Human Interface Guidelines and to have my web site be usable by any web browser, I need to employ tools to help me count pixels because my eyesight is too poor to count manually. J

Interface Builder has the terrific functionality of supporting guides and snapping-to when laying out your GUI, and the added cool factor having support for adhering to the Aqua Interface Guidelines. When designing in Interface Builder, I always have this support on because it generally alleviates the need to count pixels for relative measurements, e.g. is the widget 20 pixels from the left and right edges of the window, 14 pixels of vertical spacing, etc. While Interface Builder's support is useful, there are other measurements that sometimes need to be taken. For years I used a tool called colorScope, which served my "pixel" needs quite well. However, colorScope didn't make it over to Mac OS X. I dug around the 'net looking for a replacement tool. I found the ARTIS Screen Tools, a collection of four simple utility applications aimed towards solving a specific screen issue: measuring, ensuring fit, magnification, and ensuring alignment.

ARTIS Screen Tools is an application suite consisting of: ARTIS Screen Ruler, the screen ruler for your desktop; ARTIS Small Screen, small screen sizes on your desktop; ARTIS Screen Loupe, the magnifying glass for your desktop; and ARTIS Screen Guides, visual guide lines on your desktop.


Figure 1. Contents of ARTIS Screen Tools 2.5.3.

The Tools

Screen Ruler's purpose is measuring. You are given both horizontal and vertical rulers by which you can measure items on screen. The rulers float above all other windows, allowing control over their opacity, as well as control over the units and length of the ruler. Screen Ruler allows for quick and easy measuring of screen items, and is as simple to use as a physical ruler.

Small Screen's purpose is to help you ensure your window and its contents fit on screen. As developers we tend to be spoiled with a lot of screen real estate, but many of our users are still using small 640x480 screens. Small Screen places the thin black outline of a rectangle on screen wired to the sizes of well-established screen sizes, e.g. 640x480, 1024x768, or you can establish your own sizes. When Small Screen places the boundary on screen it can adjust for items such as the menubar so you can truly see how your window will fit and display on a monitor of that size. Small Screen also has a Browser Content mode which further adjusts the boundary rectangle to consider browser window content such as toolbars and scrollbars so you can see how the more popular browsers will squeeze your content and force it to reflow. Handy for debugging your code prior to posting it to your web site.

Screen Loupe is a magnification tool, like Apple's Pixie but more powerful. With Screen Loupe you can view pixels close up, up to 8x magnification. You can also view information about the pixel under the cursor: global coordinates, RGB color, HSB color, and HTML code color. I remember using this sort of tool when I was working on the Grayscale implementations of the PowerPlant Appearance Classes. I had to determine the correct patterns for an indeterminate progress bar and chasing arrows so LGAProgressBarImp and LGAChasingArrowsImp could reproduce them. Being able to zoom in on the pixel patterns of the Appearance Manager-generated widgets and pick up the RGB color values was a necessary part of recreating those widgets.

Screen Guides is a way to add guides when you can't have guide support or wish to augment existing guide support. Guides are lines that help you position your layout but don't appear in the final layout; they are tools to aid in supporting proper alignment of your content. You begin working in the Screen Guides application, creating and moving guides as necessary for your layout purposes. When you switch out of the Screen Guides application, the guides are no longer editable and you can begin your work. The guides float above your windows, so they'll be just where you'll find them useful while you work on your layout, but they won't get in your way.


Figure 2: ARTIS Screen Tools at work.

The ARTIS Screen Tools are offered as shareware, US$9.95 at the time of this writing, for the suite of all four tools. Once you register, functionality is unlocked in the applications: in Screen Ruler, the ability to use the vertical ruler; in Small Screen, the Browser Content sizes; and in Screen Guides the ability to use vertical guides. When I contacted the author for support, the response was quick, courteous, and helpful.

The ARTIS Screen Tools work together as a nice suite for handling pixel-measuring needs. Each application is lightweight and focused in its purpose, and serve to address needs that both software and web developers can encounter in designing, testing, debugging, and development of a successful user interface. If you find yourself needing to measure, fit, magnify, or align pixels, you'll find ARTIS Screen Tools a useful addition to your toolkit.

References and URL's

ARTIS Screen Tools - http://www.artissoftware.com/screentools/

Apple Human Interface Guidelines -

http://developer.apple.com/techpubs/macosx/Essentials/AquaHIGuidelines/index.html


John C. Daub lives in Austin, Texas USA with his wife, three children, and all the BBQ he can eat. You can contact John at hsoi@hsoi.com.

 
AAPL
$111.78
Apple Inc.
-0.87
MSFT
$47.66
Microsoft Corpora
+0.14
GOOG
$516.35
Google Inc.
+5.25

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

NeoOffice 2014.6 - Mac-tailored, OpenOff...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.5.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
CleanApp 5.0.0 Beta 5 - Application dein...
CleanApp is an application deinstaller and archiver.... Your hard drive gets fuller day by day, but do you know why? CleanApp 5 provides you with insights how to reclaim disk space. There are... Read more
Monolingual 1.6.2 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
NetShade 6.1 - Browse privately using an...
NetShade is an Internet security tool that conceals your IP address on the web. NetShade routes your Web connection through either a public anonymous proxy server, or one of NetShade's own dedicated... Read more
calibre 2.13 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Mellel 3.3.7 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
ScreenFlow 5.0.1 - Create screen recordi...
Save 10% with the exclusive MacUpdate coupon code: AFMacUpdate10 Buy now! ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your... Read more
Simon 4.0 - Monitor changes and crashes...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
BBEdit 11.0.2 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Make your own Tribez Figures (and More)...
Make your own Tribez Figures (and More) with Toyze Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
So Many Holiday iOS Sales Oh My Goodness...
The holiday season is in full-swing, which means a whole lot of iOS apps and games are going on sale. A bunch already have, in fact. Naturally this means we’re putting together a hand-picked list of the best discounts and sales we can find in order... | Read more »
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode f...
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode for Angry Birds Epic Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minec...
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their...
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their New Game: Tempo Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] WarChest Ltd and Splash Damage Ltd are teaming up again to work | Read more »
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary...
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary with a Bunch of Free Games Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] BulkyPix has | Read more »
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking F...
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking Fever’s new sushi-themed update Posted by Simon Reed on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Lithuanian developer Nordcurrent has yet again updated its restaurant simulat | Read more »
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to C...
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to Celebrate 20 Million Downloads Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Desti...
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Destiny, and Beyond – AppSpy Takes a Look at AAA Companion Apps Posted by Rob Rich on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] These day | Read more »
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Fre...
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Free for the Holidays Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Best Buy has lowered their price on the 2014 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro to $1149.99 on their online store for a limited time. That’s $150 off MSRP and the lowest price available for this... Read more
Kodak Returns to CES With New Consumer Produ...
Former photography colossus Kodak is returning to CES for the first time in three years where the Kodak booth (#21818 South Hall 1) will showcase a wide range of innovative, imaging-related products... Read more
Invaluable Launches New Eponymously -Named A...
Invaluable, the world’s largest online live auction marketplace, hhas announced the official launch of the Invaluable app for iPad, now available for download in the iTunes App Store. Invaluable... Read more
IDC Reveals Worldwide Mobile Enterprise Appli...
International Data Corporation (IDC) last week hosted the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Mobile Enterprise Applications and Solutions 2015 Predictions Web conference. The session provided organizations... Read more
Hello Vino Wine App Launches “Safe Ride Home”...
Hello Vino has announced addition of a new “Get a Safe Ride Home” feature in its Food & Drink app with a direct connection to Uber, the technology platform that connects users with rides. The... Read more
DEVON-technologies Releases DEVONthink To Go...
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho based DEVON-technologies, LLC has updated DEVONthink To Go, its mobile companion to DEVONthink, to version 1.5. The update includes an iOS 8 extension, compatibility with the... Read more
The Apple Store offering free next-day shippi...
The Apple Store is now offering free next-day shipping on all in stock items if ordered before 12/23/14 at 10:00am PT. Local store pickup is also available within an hour of ordering for any in stock... Read more
It’s 1992 Again At Sony Pictures, Except For...
Techcrunch’s John Biggs interviewed a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) employee, who quite understandably wished to remain anonymous, regarding post-hack conditions in SPE’s L.A office, explaining “... Read more
OtterBox Defender Series Case For iPad mini 3...
With their innovative Touch ID technology and ultrathin profile, the latest tranche of Apple iPads are more desirable than ever, and OtterBox has just announced the Defender Series custom-engineered... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: MacBook Pros for...
 B&H Photo has new MacBook Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday pricing. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1699... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Store Leader Program (US) - Apple, I...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on experience, Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.