Imagine if you will that you’ve got an idea for a program/website that you’re working on, but you’re trying to play around with a bunch of different layouts to see which ones would look the best. What tool do you use to create your mockup? Photoshop? Some expensive program that costs hundreds of dollars? How about a free Firefox extension?

That’s exactly what the Pencil extension was designed for. It has many of the tools needed for fast prototyping of websites, applications, and much more. I for one was shocked at just how much stuff it included:

  • Built-in stencils for diagraming and prototyping
  • Multi-page document with background page
  • On-screen text editing with rich-text supports
  • PNG rasterizing
  • Undo/redo supports
  • Installing user-defined stencils
  • Standard drawing operations: aligning, z-ordering, scaling, rotating…
  • Cross-platforms
  • Adding external objects

Once you launch the Pencil extension after getting it installed the configuration screen will open in a new window. From there it feels like an entirely separate application from Firefox, but it’s really not:

pencil firefox-1.png
(Click to Enlarge)

I’m sure this type of extension won’t appeal to everyone, but something as simple as this can sure beat trying to tinker with heavy graphics applications for jobs that should normally be simple. And how can you beat the price? Free!

Pencil Firefox Extension [via Digital Inspiration]