Design interactive products based on the same components your engineers are using.

Alva view with the integrated example project.
Category Graphics & Design
Keywords design design-system react components
License MIT
Downloads Alva-0.6.1.dmg Alva-0.6.1.exe latest-linux.yml latest-mac.json latest-mac.yml latest.yml meetalva-0.6.1-x86_64.AppImage
Latest Release v0.6.1 (v0.6.1)
Release Notes

Change Log

All notable changes to this project will be documented in this file. See standard-version for commit guidelines.

0.6.1 (2018-02-01)

Bug Fixes

  • Security fix: Thanks to @Suhas-Gaikwad for reporting and helping with this issue
    disabled drag-and-drop from outside the application (c15b2cf)

Meet Alva

Alva is a radically new digital design tool built for cross-functional product teams.

Alva works with your production frontend components, adding up-to-date, responsive, and interactive designs to your living styleguide.

You can start with a minimal set of components to sketch concepts and do fast iterations with your development team to create and enrich components, from atoms to modules and entire pages and a full-featured styleguide. But you can also add Alva designs to existing style guides.

Alva focuses on the arrangement and content editing of pages, while it leaves the implementation of the components to the developers, providing a single source of truth for both.

There is no such thing as out-dated and static PNG screens, as the current version of both the design models and the component implementation always render to up-to-date web pages instead.

Installation and usage

Please follow the installation and usage guidelines matching your purpose for Alva.

As a designer

Download the pre-built release of Alva.

If you want to get familiar with Alva and work with the kickstart wireframe styleguide, that's all you need.

If you want to work on a production styleguide, together with your developers team, you also need to clone that repository from git, and build it according to their instructions.

Either way, after the download and installation, start Alva and choose "Open Styleguide" to get started.

As a pattern developer

Also download the pre-built release of Alva.

Alva requires a styleguide project containing compiled React components in a folder named lib/patterns.

Each pattern must provide an index.d.ts and an index.js, to get both meta-data and the implementation of each pattern.

Below lib/patterns, you may structure your styleguide as you like (e.g. using atoms/molecules/modules, or any other type of structure).

Patternplate fulfills these requirements.

For more information about Alva's current requirements regarding styleguide patterns, and the abilities to provide meta-data, see Pattern requirements and configuration.

Inside the styleguide, Alva creates a new folder name alva, putting projects and pages into subfolders.

Instruct the designer team on how to add, commit, and push these files. The styleguide repository is your common base of interchange. You should both work on the same feature branches and integrate frequently. For example, let the designer add a place-holder element into a page, and then you replace it by an actual new pattern. This is a minimal and quick design-development roundtrip.

You can find an example patterglate styleguide with Alva designs at

As a contributor to Alva

Please read our contributing guidelines. There you will find also the setup for contributors.

Pattern requirements and configuration

Alva tries hard to understand the structure of your styleguide, including the pattern folders, patterns, and properties.

However, currently, only TypeScript React pattern components are supported.

The pattern parser expects directories in the following structure:

  • A directory named lib at styleguide top-level, and inside, a directory patterns.
  • Inside that, optionally, a directory per pattern folder (maybe even nested)
  • Finally inside that, a directory per pattern

Each pattern directory must have an index.js and an index.d.ts file, containing the implementation, and the typings.

The pattern implementations must be default exports.

Each pattern typing must have a props interface with the same name as the pattern, plus Props.

Each property must be of one of the following types:

  • string
  • string[]
  • number
  • number[]
  • boolean
  • enum (with a TypeScript enum type declared in the same file)

All other properties are ignored for now.

Properties may be optional ("?"), and Alva considers that. Additionally, you may add JSDoc annotations to signal meta-data:

  • @name to override the human-friendly name
  • @default to provide an initial value for Alva
  • @hidden to hide the property from Alva


 * @name Button text
 * @default Click me!
buttonText: string;
 * @hidden
className?: string;

You can also specify the @name annotation on enum members, and you can add it to the props interface to rename the entire pattern.

Source-code structure and architecture

Alva is a React application using MobX as state management and Electron to provide a stand-alone application.

Additionally, it ships with a living styleguide project, which consists of Patternplate React components.

All the sources of Alva are located in src, divided into the following folders:

  • components: All React components for the project, page, page-element, and property panes, as well as the design preview in the middle of the page. Components may be smart (they may contain their own state), but only as long as the state is nothing global, related to multiple components, or fundamental enough. In this case, the state is maintained by the store (see below).
  • electron: The bootstrap code to start the Electron App, including the container HTML, and the main menu.
  • lsg: The styled components Alva uses, as a living styleguide. Do not mixup this styleguide with the designkit (which also is a styleguide). The LSG contains the styled, logic-less components which are used by the Alva UI. The designkit contains the patterns the designer uses to create a basic design (wireframes).
  • resources: Resources are files related to the build, like the icons.
  • store: The store is the data-center and business logic of Alva. The model. The store is a collection of MobX observables and does not contain any UI elements like React components. Instead, all components bind their props to this store by decorating with @observer.

Next features

See issues or our backlog.

Feel free to dive in! Open an issue, submit a Pull Request or let’s discuss what should be next. ❤️

Alva follows the Contributor Covenant Code of Conduct.

Proudly powered by SinnerSchrader.

Copyright 2017-2018. Released under the MIT license.

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