I am doing UI design for a group of programmers who are working on building music-related software. I have created .psd files for all of the mockups, graphics, etc.

I was assuming they just needed the (many) images to put into the code, but they want me to use a GUI to spit out the necessary code.

My question: Is there a GUI tool that can build VERY UNIQUE designs, and can spit out the mockups in code using MatLab or Java? -- Or should I just say no and give them the images to use in the code. (we are talking guitar-pedal knobs, EQ sliders, etc.)

  • 1
    This isn't really a graphic design question. Sounds like an IDE question. In general, though, I'd rarely--if ever--trust any IDE that 'spits out' the code based on mockups.
    – DA01
    Feb 18, 2013 at 23:01
  • What they are asking for is absurd if you weren't hired with the understanding that you would be coding the UI; this is not standard practice. Echoing the comment above, I'm a developer and I would never use GUI-generated code, nor would I ask a designer to produce code for me unless they were a developer/designer hybrid with coding experience. If what they want is an interactive mockup try a wireframing tool, but again they should have specified this in advance as goes a bit beyond the standard designer call of duty. Sounds like they are not used to working with designers?
    – lk135
    Feb 20, 2013 at 0:48

1 Answer 1


There is no universal way to describe a user interface. It's typical for a designer to hand over image assets as one or a combination of these things:

  • Individual files. Probably 32bit PNGs if you're creating an iOS, Android or Mac app.
  • Sprite sheets. More common for games than apps. Sprite sheets are also known as texture atlases.
  • Photoshop documents (PSD). Sometimes developers prefer to cut things up themselves, so they can experiment with different ways to implement the UI in code.
  • Some information describing the non-image aspects of the design. Text size and colour etc.

Is the goal final production assets? If so, chances are the developer will (or should) want things as described above. If you're just creating mock ups to demonstrate how the app works, then there's many approaches, including using HTML/CSS, Apple's Keynote app. Basically anything that can demonstrate how the app moves and fits together.

Ultimately, the decision on how to construct the UI is with the developer. Even if it's an iOS app, where the IDE is pretty locked down, there's still many ways of approaching the code side (XIBs, auto-layout, doing everything in code).

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