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Microsoft Garage's 'Ink to Code' helps turn your app sketches into quick prototypes

Sketching out your ideas can often be a helpful activity for better visualizing whatever it is you're working on, whether it be something as simple as rearranging your furniture or as complex as an app idea. Microsoft is looking to help those in the latter camp with the latest idea to come out of its experimental Garage division, called Ink to Code (opens in new tab) (via Ars Technica).

Ink to Code is an attempt to improve upon the simple idea of a napkin sketch, allowing app developers to more rapidly prototype their ideas. The app, available from Microsoft (opens in new tab), acts as a canvas for developers to quickly draw wireframe sketches for their apps and export them into Visual Studio. The app does this by taking advantage of changes to Smart Ink in the Fall Creators Update, leveraging its improved recognition tech to help developers save time.

According to Microsoft, Ink to Code was created by Garage interns last summer in a bid to "modernize the brainstorming and prototyping process." Over the course of creating multiple prototypes, the time spent on turning a sketch on paper into code can add up. Ink to Code seeks to streamline that process and "bridge the gap between analog and digital." The app is still in its early stages, so it's limited in functionality. However, it could evolve into something more powerful as time goes on and new features are implemented.

According to Microsoft, Ink to Code should be available from the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab), but the link doesn't appear to be live just yet as of the time of this writing. Once available, Microsoft recommends using the free app with Visual Studio 2017 for the best results.

See at Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

6 Comments
  • Microsoft used to have a tool in the Expression suite that did this. I wonder why you didn't mention that, Dan. The fact this is done by the garage team shows that MS was wrong to kill that suite. 
  • Sketchflow. That was the tool I was thinking of yesterday.
  • This is similar to an old Android app from Adobe called "Proto" -- You would sketch boxes and gestures to create mockups for apps. They discontinued it 3-4 years ago.
  • Is is me or is the store link not working? 
  • It is not working for me either. Search within the store doesn't work either. I'm wondering if this is exclusive to insiders.
  • I find it interesting that the Store lists the app as being available for Windows 10 Mobile but the app requires build 16299. I don't believe 16299 ever made it to Mobile.