Do you know how to code a circle? If you’re a software developer, the answer is probably yes. But what about interface elements, complex icons and other fancy graphics? Sure, you could probably get it done, but what a pain. That’s what PaintCode is for.
PaintCode is a Mac app which takes your complicated vector-based designs and translates them into Objective C code, ready to be pasted straight into Xcode.
If you’re developing for the Mac or iOS, you now have to deal with multi-resolution devices. You could double up on PNG files for every little visual element of your app, or you could use vector graphics, which are resolution independent. Better still, why not just paste in the code to draw them on the fly, making your app tiny, instead of as bloated as an iPad magazine?
Vector graphics take up just a few kilobytes and can be displayed on the tiniest screen or blown up to print on the side of a building without any loss in quality. This is because they don’t contain pixels. Think of a B&W picture of an arrow. In a bitmap file, the values of every single pixel have to be saved, and the bigger the picture, the bigger the file.
With vectors, the file consists of instructions like “draw a line starting here, in that direction, with this length.” No matter how big you blow that up, it’s still just drawing a line.
The neat thing about PaintCode is that it acts as both a full-featured vector drawing app, and also as a tool for coding. And exporting the your app is easy: just check the box for target platform – iOS or OS X – and go.
The app can be bought in the Mac App Store right now, for $99, and there’s a trial version available from the developer’s site. For a pro-level app, that looks like a pretty good deal.