Sketch + inVision + Abstract workflow question

over 2 years ago from , Ux/Ui designer and front end developer

Hey everyone,

Bear with me whilst I outline the situation. My team and I are currently struggling with a workflow issue when designing with Sketch, inVision and Abstract. We're currently working on some large, expanding projects—and naturally as new requirements are discovered we have to amend the user journeys/job stories.

Due to the size of these projects, a Sketch artboard naming convention is a must to keep everything coherent within Sketch and particularly inVision.

As the stories/journeys change new screens are required and as such our artboard number prefix for certain screens need to change too. This is an issue which had been resolved (I'm assuming with the release of Craft?) by inVision—the support section of their website states:

"Craft Sync for Sketch When you sync your artboards with Craft Sync, InVision matches your artboards to screens based on the underlying screen filename. InVision also creates a one-to-one sync relationship between the artboard and screen so that you can rename your artboard, and will continue to sync it to the existing screen in InVision."

This no longer seems to be the case when abstract is brought into the mix. At least for us anyway. I assume it is because upon each commit/merge abstract generates a new incremented sketch file and in turn new artboards.

Has anyone else come across this issue? It may be a bit of a long shot but is there any recommended solution? I get that this isn't necessarily a platform breaking bug and can be managed with communication but it would be nice to have this disconnect resolved.


  • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, over 2 years ago

    If Figma just allowed for branching and merging it would essentially be the only tool your team needed to replace that entire workflow.

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    • Liam WheatonLiam Wheaton, over 2 years ago

      Yeah, the hype around figma seems to be getting bigger and bigger everyday. I haven't tried it properly yet...

      I do like the idea of a cross operating system design tool...

      What's it like in terms of open source plugins? Does it support community development/does it have a strong community behind it?

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  • Jrtorrents Dorman , over 2 years ago

    What’s your opinion of Abstract?

    One of my colleagues is working on a project with several designers accross difference countries and he claims Abstract is unreliable and plagued by bugs.

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    • Liam WheatonLiam Wheaton, over 2 years ago

      Abstract is great. It is still early days in terms of design version control software, but I think Abstract is probably the industry leader. They have good customer support and are very quick to respond (they issue fortnightly patches with fixes addressing any bugs raised by the community)

      Tbh I haven't come across any major bugs and I've been using it since release. The one downside is its a bit of a ram hog, so if your project is large and you're running other programs/multi-tasking it can slow everything down significantly... It's getting more and more optimised every week though.

      Another thing I'll mention is that there is a bit of a learning curve, particularly if you don't have any development/git experience. To get the most out of version control designers have to reframe their process a little bit. Instead of just opening a sketch file to work and incrementing your files each iteration, you kind of have to think in terms of designing, committing and merging by feature. This change will slow you down at first but it's for the better as your design history will be modular and organised so you can go back at any stage and re-implement changes or review certain stages of the design easily and of course it allows for multiple designers to be working on the same file/page at the same time with no conflicts. (Planning your commits becomes even more important when you're working with a design library as every change needs to be merged before it becomes available)

      I'd highly recommend it IF you work with a team of designers. It's not as necessary if you're the sole designer... I'd probably still use it on my own simply because I like having my design history stored and sorted perfectly.

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    • Aaron SagrayAaron Sagray, over 2 years ago

      Abstract is great, when it works. When it doesn't work, it makes you doubt the tool fierce – mainly because there's no feedback why it isn't syncing or why it is crashing Sketch. Their documentation is also very sparse, and help requests aren't returned for days, so you're often on your own to track down the cause of failure.

      That said, they've recently made some great improvements to reliability. I think they're hitting the typical startup "scaling pains" and I'm going to give them that benefit of the doubt for another 6 months or so.

      1 point
  • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, over 2 years ago

    I use the same flow you've described and don't have this problem at all. I'm curious what could possibly be causing it though.

    On the other hand, with Invision7 on the near horizon, who knows what kind of things are in store for us.

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    • Liam WheatonLiam Wheaton, over 2 years ago

      Wow really? Maybe I'm experiencing some kind of bug...

      Are there multiple designers working on the same project in your case?

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    • Liam WheatonLiam Wheaton, over 2 years ago

      lol wtf... We literally just had a reply from inVision stating:

      "Apologies for the trouble renaming your artboards. inVision will only replace screens with the exact same name automatically, so in order to get your screens to replace each other, we'll first need to manually replace all of the screens in Invision, then automatic syncing will resume as normal.

      That said, to have the ability to rename a screen but still maintain the connection to the screen within the InVision prototype for updates is a potential feature that our product team is tracking. They're monitoring interest and reviewing whether we should add this functionality to our product."

      So they don't support it? The Craft by InVision support page says they do... I guess they don't consider Craft a part of their product

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      • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, over 2 years ago

        I have to amend my previous comment because I was curious. To reproduce your problem, I have to merge to master, create a new branch, rename the artboard and sync. It ended up sending the new artboard name to Invision and thus, yes, new artboard.

        So basically merging to master, which is something I actually rarely do because I don't work with other designers, actually caused the problem you're seeing.

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        • Liam Wheaton, over 2 years ago

          Ahhh, thanks so much for testing this for me. I guess that identifies where the issue is. Hopefully we see a resolution soon.

          1 point
      • Nathan NNathan N, over 2 years ago

        IIRC The art board names need to be the same in both InVision and Sketch for the automatic name change to work.

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