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.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Google Earth 7.1.7.2602 - View and contr...
Google Earth gives you a wealth of imagery and geographic information. Explore destinations like Maui and Paris, or browse content from Wikipedia, National Geographic, and more. Google Earth combines... Read more
ClamXav 2.10 - Virus checker based on Cl...
ClamXav is a popular virus checker for OS X. I have been working on ClamXav for more than 10 years now, and over those years, I have invested a huge amount of my own time and energy into bringing... Read more
Tweetbot 2.4.4 - Popular Twitter client.
Tweetbot is a full-featured OS X Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it's the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds and animation, or features like multiple timelines and column views... Read more
Sierra Cache Cleaner 11.0.1 - Clear cach...
Sierra Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general purpose tool for macOS X. SCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many macOS X functions. Novice and expert... Read more
Things 2.8.8 - Elegant personal task man...
Things is a task management solution that helps to organize your tasks in an elegant and intuitive way. Things combines powerful features with simplicity through the use of tags and its intelligent... Read more
Remotix 4.1 - Access all your computers...
Remotix is a fast and powerful application to easily access multiple Macs (and PCs) from your own Mac. Features Complete Apple Screen Sharing support - including Mac OS X login, clipboard... Read more
Airfoil 5.1.2 - Send audio from any app...
Airfoil allows you to send any audio to AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, and even other Macs and PCs, all in sync! It's your audio - everywhere. With Airfoil you can take audio from any... Read more
Firefox 49.0.1 - Fast, safe Web browser.
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
Default Folder X 5.0.7 - Enhances Open a...
Default Folder X attaches a toolbar to the right side of the Open and Save dialogs in any OS X-native application. The toolbar gives you fast access to various folders and commands. You just click on... Read more
Safari Technology Preview 10.1 - The new...
Safari Technology Preview contains the most recent additions and improvements to WebKit and the latest advances in Safari web technologies. And once installed, you will receive notifications of... Read more

4 games like Burly Men at Sea to inspire...
Burly Men at Sea is out today and it looks a treat. It tells the tale of three Scandinavian fishermen who leave the humdrum of their daily lives to go exploring. It’s a beautiful folksy story that unfurls as you interact with the environment... | Read more »
3 reasons you need to play Kingdom: New...
Developed by a tag team of indie developers - Thomas "Noio" van den Berg and Marco "Licorice" Bancale - Kingdom is a vibrant medieval fantasy adventure that casts players as a king or queen who must expand their empire by exploring the vasts lands... | Read more »
JoyCity have launched a brand new King o...
Great news for all of you Game of Dice fans out there - JoyCity have just released a brand new limited edition pack with a really cool twist. The premise of Game of Dice is fairly straightforward, asking you to roll dice to navigate your way around... | Read more »
Burly Men at Sea (Games)
Burly Men at Sea 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Burly Men at Sea is a folktale about a trio of large, bearded fishermen who step away from the ordinary to seek adventure. | Read more »
3 tips for catching the gnarliest waves...
Like a wave breaking on the shore, Tidal Rider swept its way onto the App Store charts this week settling firmly in the top 10. It’s a one-touch high score-chaser in which you pull surfing stunts while dodging seagulls and collecting coins. The... | Read more »
The beginner's guide to destroying...
Age of Heroes: Conquest is 5th Planet Games’ all new turn-based multiplayer RPG, full of fantasy exploration, guild building, and treasure hunting. It’s pretty user-friendly as far as these games go, but when you really get down to it, you’ll find... | Read more »
Infinite Tanks (Games)
Infinite Tanks 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders (FULL)...
Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders (FULL) 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders Your weapon is your knowledge. Your wits will be put to the ultimate... | Read more »
HeadlessD (Games)
HeadlessD 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: HeadlessD is hand-painted dungeon crawler with intuitive touch controls and NO in-app purchases. | Read more »
Leaf for Twitter (Social Networking)
Leaf for Twitter 1.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Social Networking Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished 2015 13-inch MacBook Airs a...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $759. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 2015 13″ 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB MacBook... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 13″ and 11″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air: $799 $100 MSRP - 11″ 1.6GHz/256GB... Read more
Apple refurbished 12-inch 128GB iPad Pros ava...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 12″ Apple iPad Pros available for up to $160 off the cost of new iPads. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 32GB 12″ iPad... Read more
Phone2Action Unveils New Voter Turnout Techno...
Phone2Action, a leading digital advocacy platform, today launched its Tech to Vote Civic Action Center digital advocacy and communications platform on National Voter Registration Day September 27.... Read more
Apple & Deloitte Team Up to Help Business...
Apple and international professional services firm Deloitte have announced a partnership to help companies quickly and easily transform their workflow dynamics by maximizing the power, ease-of-use,... Read more
Chop Commute – See Traffic and Drive Times on...
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts based Indie developer, InchWest has released Chop Commute 1.61, a Mac app that takes the guesswork out of daily commute by showing real-time traffic and drive times right on... Read more
12-inch 32GB WiFi iPad Pros on sale for $50 o...
B&H Photo has 12″ 32GB WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for $50 off MSRP, each including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi iPad Pro: $749 $50 off MSRP -... Read more
Recent price drops on refurbished iPad minis...
Apple recently dropped prices on several Certified Refurbished iPad mini 4s and 2s as well as iPad Air 2s. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 16GB iPad... Read more
Apple refurbished Mac minis available startin...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $928...
Overstock has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $927.99 including free shipping. Their price is $171 off MSRP. Read more

Jobs Board

*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
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
*Apple* Wireless Lead - T-ROC - The Retail O...
…wealth of knowledge in wireless sales and activations to the Beautiful and NEW APPLE Experience store within MACYS.. THIS role, APPLE Wireless Lead, isbrandnewas Read more
Lead *Apple* Advocate - T-ROC - The Retail...
…Company, is proud of its unprecedented relationship with our partner and client, APPLE ,in bringing amazing" APPLE ADVOCATES"to "non" Apple store locations. Read more
*Apple* Advocate - T-ROC - The Retail Outsou...
…Company, is proud of its unprecedented relationship with our partner and client, APPLE ,in bringing amazing" APPLE ADVOCATES"to "non" Apple store locations. Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.