Review of Principle for Mac

The Good

  • Sketch artboards import perfectly
  • Unlike FramerJS, each layer is accessible, giving a lot of desired control right up front
  • Export to GIF feature is very convenient and makes it easy to share
  • Looks and feels very similar to Sketch
  • When duplicating an artboard, it knows to insert it adjacent to the source artboard
  • Crazy quick interface that’s fluid and smoother than butter
  • A substantial collection of tutorials – http://principleformac.com/tutorial.html
  • Timeline feature makes it less difficult to analyse and envision

The Bad

  • Like FramerJS, in order to import from Sketch, Sketch has to be open.
  • (Being picky here, but…) Smart Guides would make this a bit better since this is heavily GUI based designing/buidling
  • Documentation is light… Not sure what to make of that yet, but it worries me a little.
  • Principle does not loop/play embedded animated images (.gif or .png)
  • Very primitive item insert: Rectangles are only available shape to create
  • You can’t just adjust an object’s properties in one artboard/state. It has to exist in the current and previous artboards/states
  • Feels cumbersome to keep creating new artboards for all these different states of the animations
  • Even though the interface is fast and snappy, it’s easy to accidentally click and open the wrong object. Becomes a PITA with a lot of undos to fix mistakes or close an unwanted tooltip

The Ugly

Overall
7 out of 10

The interface is great and works as advertised. But for my mind, I’d rather a little more code, control, and precision in my prototypes. Maybe my mind isn’t wired to work this way efficiently, but I’m sure this works well for others. Plus it’s relatively easy to pick up and simple enough for a small project.
I can see this being helpful for quick and simple interactive prototypes or animation. But for something more complex, I’d look elsewhere.

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