Sketching The Future

So no doubt you’re aware that Sketch is pretty much the goto tool for UI/UX work these days, but unless you were watching very closely — even if you were watching very closely, actually — you might have missed a most interesting improvement in the latest release, Sketch 43:

Here’s a quick overview of the key updates Sketch 43 introduces:

  • Improved shape editing to speed up your workflow
  • We’re retiring legacy plugins, so they’ll no longer work
  • Over 40 other improvements and bug fixes, including an update to Mirror, a new file format and changes to nested symbol overrides

Missing the interesting part? It’s the “a new file format” part:

With this release, we’ve introduced a new Sketch file format, which means documents created with Sketch 43 will not be compatible with previous versions.

Still not getting the interesting here? Let us examine some outside opinions:

With Sketch 43, Design IS Code & Code IS Design

Sketch 43 will revolutionise software design work. The next version of Sketch will have an new file format that allows to read and write .sketch files manually or programatically. This strategic move will make designers and frontend engineers skip (the visual aspect of) frontend frameworks like Bootstrap or Zurb Foundation and go from Sketch straight to implementation…

With Sketch 43 you can now alter or create the very document that describes visual form and color from scratch, programmtically. That could be any element, modular component or an entire screen UI.

We do not have a need anymore to build templates based on visual layouts. Furthermore, we do not need to go through design definition phases before going into implementation. Forget the USP “Pixel-perfect design”.

The design IS the code, and the code IS the design.

Anything visual can now go back and forth between Sketch and UI frontend seamlessly. Designers now define the actual UI code. Developers can now make changes to the .sketch file with a simple click…

Various articles with further tidbits:

Sketch 43 is coming to town with a new game. An open file format!

Sketch 43 will change the way we work and think

New file format in Sketch 43

New file format in Sketch 43 and what we learned about it

Everything you need to know about the Sketch 43 file format

Sketch 43: A brief tour of fact vs folklore

sketch-web-viewer: “View and inspect Sketch 43 files in browser

And while this isn’t new, it will probably be of interest for scripting workflows:

Sketch-Server: “A Sketch Plugin that creates a local web server for your Sketch Documents.”

By default, Sketch Server returns an HTML page containing your image, centered (when smaller than viewport). You can specify both page, artboard, scale, and what kind of content the server returns to you… If you’d like just the image (png), you can get it using the /image path

Our immediate application is, we’d like something like this, but that draws 30+ localized languages from our CMS:

Generate App Store images for all iPhone sizes from Sketch

which should now be eminently doable. That’ll streamline the release process nicely!

So keep an eye on Sketch Hunt and Sketch App Sources and all the rest of the Sketch developer community … likely to be some mighty interesting stuff coming!


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Sketch and Reveal, 2 best friends

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Alex | May 8, 2017

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