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Enable Commenting on your Live Axure Prototypes

I’ve started working on a large project as part of a team of 5 people recently. Aside from doing the visual design, I’m working on the UX strategy and information architecture with an IA and UX designer from the US. We’re of course creating most of our documentation, user flows, wireframes and prototype in Axure RP Pro. He and I have been working on the same project file using the new Shared Project feature from Axure 5.x and collaborating on it through a free Subversion server (www.myversioncontrol.com). That works very well and, once a day or sometimes more often, I’ll generate the Axure prototype and FTP it to a password protected sub-domain on my site so that other team members can consult it. There’s also other project file linked from a page in the prototype. But there was one thing missing from this process.

The thing is that, as of now, Axure prototypes do not handle comments on the project from other stakeholders as some online prototyping applications like Protoshare do. But recently, I’ve discovered a little script that enables us to integrate comments quite easily using the free Protonotes service. That script is called Head Insert and has been developed by another Axure enthusiast named Joshua Morse. He originally published version 1.2 in this blog post and recently updated the script to version 1.31 which can be found here.

What the script does is add a small bit of JavaScript code provided by Protonotes when you signup (for free) to the head of each appropriate HTML file in the generated Axure HTML prototype. Then, when a user loads the prototype in their browser, they can see comments added by others, edit/reply to them and add their own through a toolbar created through the Protonotes script. Using variables in the script you can control whether the toolbar or the actual comments appear on page load by default. The comments themselves are saved in a MySQL database on ProtoNotes’ server or, optionally, on your own. It works very well and the great thing is that this is all free!

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