This month Graham looks at Penpot,…

This month Graham looks at Penpot, ProcMon, diskgraph, Shaarli, Music Radar and more!

UX designer


Penpot is a tool that helps designers create and prototype a user interface (UI). A little different from the desktop and command-line utilities that typically fill these pages, Penpot is a web application, designed to run in your web browser and, most usefully, online. Like WordPress, Nextcloud, and Home Assistant, the online element in Penpot is an essential feature that performs such an important role that the application is worth investigating, regardless of how it presents itself. And like those other brilliant web apps, it has a huge Linux bias and a commitment to open source.

Over the past few years, if you worked on any project that required a designer, it’s likely the designer will have used a prototyping tool like Penpot. They’re used to sketch up various UI designs, present them to the team, make changes, and eventually fix those changes so that developers can start adding whatever functionality is required. This is why similar prototyping tools work best when they’re hosted online: It allows a project’s various “stakeholders” to access the designs, make their own suggestions, and leave feedback. Penpot can do all of this and a lot more.

While Penpot is a web app and its developers offer their own portal, which is currently free to use, the open source version can be easily downloaded and self-deployed via a Docker image. This also happens to be the default development environment for anyone who wants to tinker with the code. Despite loading via a web browser, the application itself operates much like Inkscape or Scribus, only with additional social and prototyping features. There are shape drawing tools, a freehand mode, paths, curves, images, and text boxes. All are tightly bound to a grid, object boundaries, many alignment modes, and accessible data values for every element. These can then be grouped into reusable objects.


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