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Kool Tools: Axure RP 8 for OS X and Windows

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Axure Software Solutions’ ( Axure RP 8. It’s a solution for Mac OS X and Windows created to help teams design solutions to complex business challenges.

Axure RP 8 gives business and UX professionals new diagramming, prototyping, and specification features that help them create the right solution and align their teams. For large teams and enterprises, new collaboration features—along with an option to install Axure Share on-premises—help streamline modern workflows, whether it’s agile, lean, waterfall, or a hybrid.

Axure RP 8 has a new pen tool for drawing custom shapes. It also comes with a built-in library of more than 600 vector icons. Improvements to flow diagramming include the ability to add and position connector points to any shape or image. New line ends and curved connectors allow for even more customization.

Axure RP 8 extends the core prototyping functionality with new events, actions, and animations. Designers can flip and rotate widgets with animation, as well as resize from an anchor and dynamically set opacity. It is also now possible to perform simultaneous animations on widgets. In addition, Axure Software Solutions has enhanced the repeater to make prototyping data-driven grids easier.

Widget notes are enhanced to support rich text formatting. Links in the text are now clickable in the HTML prototypes, enabling designers to link to related documents or issue-tracking solutions. A new sidebar in the HTML prototype includes widget notes in addition to the page notes. Beyond notes, a new Snapshot widget has been introduced to make it much faster to specify the flow through an interactive prototype and keep that documentation updated.

Axure Share, the cloud platform for publishing Axure RP projects, can now host team projects, providing an alternative to setting up an SVN server to take advantage of co-authoring and revision histories. The Enterprise Edition further allows for private installations of Axure Share on-premises. Widget libraries now can be created as team projects and hosted on Axure Share.

Axure RP 8 has a cleaner layout that gives designers a larger view of the design canvas while arranging functions so designers can work more efficiently. For example, a single Inspector has replaced three panes and has been reorganized to make it easier to find properties.

The sidebar in the HTML prototype has been redesigned to have a more modern look and also to make it more extensible. For example, a new Console section has been added that allows designers to see triggered interactions and variables as they interact with their prototypes.

Perpetual licenses are $495 for the pro version and $895 for the team. Axure Software Solutions has also introduced subscription licensing options—$29 a month for pro, and $49 a month for team. The Enterprise Edition is available only as a subscription and costs $99 a month per user.

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