InVision (

I first heard of InVision on (transcript at ) and it sounds great but I wanted to hear more from customers, ideally from the open source perspective.

As luck would have it, Richard D. Bartlett from Loomio has already recorded a video in which he demos his use of InVision. Here’s a link to half an hour into his fantastic “Design for Developers” talk:

You can see his slides at

This talk is mentioned in an Open Source Design article at ( discussion at ) and Richard has a people page at indicating that he’s very much one of us, an open source enthusiast.

I don’t see InVision mentioned in the “Free-as-in-freedom tools for Designer Dev communication and creation” discussion at but I’ll drop a note there as well.

Does anyone have anything to add to what Richard says about InVision? Does it make sense for open source to use InVision, even though it’s proprietary? Are there any open source alternatives to InVision? What do you think of InVision? Thanks!

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InVision seems to have become the de-facto standard for presenting and testing simple designs. Even though I don’t use it directly, it seems to be a good tool.

I think it makes as much sense as for anyone else to use it in open source. One needs to keep in mind that it uses a proprietary format (on the other hand, there is no standard format for linked vector or pixel-based mockups…) and that the free version with only 1 active prototype is rather constraining

None that I know of. A simple link-parts-of-images editor should not be too hard to create; Nokia had a (sadly not open tool) named flowella that did this, and I considered re-writing something like it (In case you want to have a go…)

(even in a simple project you may want to work on 2 or 3 things in parallel)

Probably because it is only free as in “free beer”, and 1 active prototype is even a rather small beer in this metaphor.


I’m not familiar with InVision (might take a closer look next weekend), a handful of things come to mind.

UXBOX - The open-source prototyping tool

… early development stage …

@studiospring would you like to comment?

Pencil Project – referred from prototype - Best (free/open source) mock up tools? - Stack Overflow

At a glance, the project management part of the InVision tour reminds me of e.g.:

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Prototyping tools are so limited in quantity and quality in the open source world that I don’t feel we have much of a choice. If you are a professional, you are going to go for the best tool for the job, especially if colleagues don’t care about open source.

Online prototyping tools are a dime a dozen, each with strengths and weaknesses. One that I like is because it is polished, powerful and supports the most file formats. However, it is only ($) free for 2 weeks, last I checked. Others include Marvel, Figma and many others.

The lack of design tools in the open source world highlights the dev-centric nature of open source and the chicken-and-egg problem that designers face. With so many well executed commercial offerings, there is no compelling reason to develop an open source tool.

UXBox shows the most promise in the open source world and is the one that I support, but it needs a lot of work to become a viable alternative.


FWIW a while ago I made Annotate which runs on Sandstorm and is open source.

It’s more for commenting on mock-ups than stepping through. That was on the roadmap, but I’ve been really busy and haven’t had a chance to work on it.

cc @Xaviju, any news on UXbox development? :slight_smile: Any points where help or testing is needed by the community?

I’ll ask the developers.
They have an online version for testing purposes online now if you want to check:

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Here’s a project that seems to be an open source alternative to Invision. Haven’t checked it out yet but:


@Roy thanks! I just asked over on the Presentator Google+ community if they consider it to be an alternative to InVision:

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I tried presentator briefly, was positively surprised.

Looks really great! I’ll ask my colleagues to review it and give feedback.
If anybody test it in a real project would be nice to share a brief review of how was working with it. We could help improving it!

Same here, it has some kinks but definitely has big potential.

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Here’s an example of using InVision for a feature we’re working on:

This comes from

There’s one really great blog about mobile app prototyping - Mobile App Prototyping
You might like it!

I was surprised to see that HTML annotations are now standardized (recommendation) and that one of the annotation formats is not text-based, but can annotate based on shapes. If the standard gets implemented by a tool, a large part of functionality of tools like InVision would come with it.

It might be interesting to reach out to the group of editors (in the head of the recommendation).

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I checked out all the interesting links above, and some projects looked very promising. Most or all of them appear to not have been updated in a long time however.

Are there any actively developed Open Source inVision-like solutions that you are using? At phpList we have been trialling Adobe XD web viewer for sharing and annotating work, but it is very basic and has some disappointing anti features (and is also proprietary).

Specifically a self-hostable solution with the following would be good:

  • Image upload / sharing / sync from local computer
  • Image sharing via simple link (ideally requiring login for access control)
  • Image ID so multiple versions / derivations can be linked to separately
  • On-image commenting (pin board or hot spot style)
  • Ideally some kind of relationships between images to trace their history / drafts / derivations
  • Ideally version control to check image history and rollback versions
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