FTDI Chip adds graphic toolchain to its packaged-HMI offering

March 26, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
A widget-based development tool assists user-interface designer professionals to create their own on-scrren interfaces without any need for detailed knowledge of the display list in FTDI Chip’s Embedded Video Engine (EVE).

Bringing more comprehensive support to its Embedded Video Engine (EVE) product offering, FTDI Chip has made the EVE Screen Designer available as a free download. This Windows (7 and above) development suite enables the creation of advanced human machine interfaces (HMIs), via EVE’s object-oriented approach, without any understanding of EVE display lists. This means that it is far more accessible to graphic designers who are concerned primarily with the look and feel of the HMI.

Using this software tool on a purely visual level, superior quality, highly intuitive HMIs can be derived via primitive objects (such as circles and squares), as well as EVE’s array of more complex built-in widgets (including buttons, dials, clocks, gauges, sliders, scroll bars, text boxes, etc.) which are made up of multiple objects. Designers can specify an EVE hardware platform and set the resolution required. Then by choosing and subsequently placing particular EVE objects on the screen they can rapidly begin constructing a HMI. Objects can be moved from one place to another using the cut and paste function. They can be pushed back or pulled forward. An adjustable grid aids their screen positioning and alignment.

Provision is given for editing widget properties (colours, sizes, text fonts, etc.), with objects being locked/unlocked as needed. In addition it is possible to zoom in/out on objects and group them together. User interface designers can consult the display list when necessary or make use of the step-by-step display list debug function. Finally they can export the completed screen to the display list via text file. “Utilisation of widgets and images allows us to replace the conventional, and rather complex, full range graph method of HMI design,” states FTDI Chip CEO and Founder, Fred Dart. “This means that the need for any programming is eliminated and the creative vision of user interface designers is maximised.”

FTDI Chip; www.ftdichip.com/EVE