Best GUI Software to Use

GUI software is a bit problematic. See, while the GUI is important, and doing it procedurally is indeed very tedious, there’s not really much in the way of general, global software for this. And you know what?


I know exactly why there’s not much of this GUI software concept out there, and I still call bull crap on this, because it could be done. The problem is that every programming language, compiler and SDK out there treats GUI in a different way, especially across different platforms.

However, intrepid designers could create general GUI tools which could save to formats compatible with the majority of the popular SDKs out there. Alas, for now, that’s not really the case.

Is there Anything:

Well, you have your choice of some SDKs that, themselves, have very decent GUI design applications. The problem is sometimes this limits you in language, and in platform. Still, you have options here.

#1 – Microsoft Visual Studio

If you want to program for Windows systems, be they mobile, web or PC, then this is the system to use. Supporting four languages – C++, C#, Visual Basic .Net, and ASP, this gives you a good set of options to program in an environment that works for you. But, it requires the dotnet platform.

Mono allows for other systems to run programs you build, but expect limitations. In that vein, MonoDevelop, a cross platform open source VS alternative, alleviates that problem a bit, but the GUI editor on it’s not good.

#2 – Eclipse

If you’re designing for mobile or for Java, then Eclipse is a good SDK/IDE which has an excellent GUI editor very like Visual Studio or the like. I like it a little better than Netbeans, because it’s got such a familiar, comfy feel to it.

In the mobile world, we need an excellent IDE for these Java platforms. It does the trick.

#3 – Dreamweaver

Adobe’s Dreamweaver is a web design program which works fine for visual web interface design, and if you’re designing GUI yourself for SaaS-like interface layers, this one’s immensely useful.

#4 – Google’s HTML5 Tool

This one’s name seems to change a lot, but this HTML5 visual editor, animator and programming tool can also make splendid AJAX/HTML5 interfaces for more software-like web interfaces.

This one’s a bit young though, so expect hiccups.

#5 – Balsamiq

This one doesn’t make active GUI, but rather prototype mockups. Basically it’s a high fidelity paper prototype gone digital, on which designers can base the layout of the real GUI.

Allegedly, Balsamiq may soon support exporting real GUI profiles to the others on this list which would indeed make it the first one of these that does exist, like I said at the beginning.


Were it not for GUI, computing wouldn’t be a lightyear near where it is in functionality, usability and enjoyability. Without a GUI to take the place of complex readouts and commands, it’s so hard to be productive or get anything out of it.

So, you need GUI software of good caliber. For now, this stuff’s where it’s at. This may and most likely will change at some time in the future, so we need to keep an eye on this.


Jessica Miller
Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.
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