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Let go of your widgets! Image based embedded user interfaces

Thomas Fletcher (

Choice is a blessing and a curse. For embedded Linux developers, choosing a product platform involves balancing hardware costs, software costs and development time for their product's implementation.

For products containing a graphical user interface, choosing a UI technology can be just as difficult. Crank Software is developing an alternative approach to embedded user interface design that focuses on the graphical content rather than the underlying rendering technology. Graphic developers create the product user interfaces using standard image manipulation tools such as Photoshop or Gimp and then tie the graphical behaviour of the application to the embedded system using a loosely coupled MVC model.

In this model, system developers change data values and those changes are automatically propagated to the user interface as required. No knowledge of a particular widget framework or underlying graphic subsystem is required and because of the screen based design, optimization can be performed early in the rendering pipeline to take advantage of available graphics and hardware capabilities.

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