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SeanBurgess

Visual Web Development Tool

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What I’d love to see Affinity wrap their excellent UI/UX minds around is a nice visual page building/dev tool to fill the vacuum left by Adobe discontinuing Muse.

I used Dreamweaver for years, (even back when it was still owned by Macromedia and was called Drumbeat) and then Muse. However, Adobe has, predictably, discontinued the software and all of the tools people are pointing to as alternatives are web-based and subscription model platforms. No thanks on both counts.

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Yep, webflow (quite succesful) and others are subscription based. But you have also off-line , one time purchase options with other companies, and pretty cheap for what they do. I've worked professionally with html, css and general web design for many years, and these are good tools (even if I prefer to just code)  :

Pinegrow PRO  (134 $. To me, the 59$ standard version wouldn't make sense at all...Unless you're only making 1 page landing pages... you're gonna quite wish a more complete solution,  the pro version, no matter what.)

https://pinegrow.com/

Another great one, Responsive Site Designer, (189 $ ) from CoffeeCup :

https://www.coffeecup.com/designer/

Even so, Muse, Dreamweaver, a vectors based graphic design software like AD , Inkscape or AI, and an UI/UX tool are all different kinds of things, with different purposes.

It is very rare to find a very specialized UI/UX that also makes all the code, which is what Muse did , but with an extreme lack of control over the code generated. Dreamweaver was, is (still active, Muse is the one that got closed) better in that respect, as you can even edit fully in code in its code window, and actually the code output is not as terrible as other wysiwyg from the past(being the worse scenario Frontpage from MS). An almost perfect UI/UX tool from these days is Sketch, and is an industry standard (well, kind of Invision is, also). Mac only, tho. But wont generate all code and all site. Is not expected to do that. And indeed, now that all is dynamic code generated in the server (JS, PHP, Java, Python, the frameworks, etc), and all that comes with that, wouldn't make sense.

Pinegrow and RSD are way more of a global solution, which imo, is best for freelancing for small business owners as clients (or the actual ppl having a small business), small clients, etc. Large companies might need a more higher end approach, teams even for UI/UX, etc. I believe 90% of ppl requesting this around here would be good to go with one of those tools I linked above, as non UX people would just code (front-ends, full stack people, etc) . These tools I linked help you generate the code as you graphically - more or less- build the stuff. And help you understand the code structure if you look at the exported code, or see how it is generated directly from the UI.

From what we have read numerous times from company members, there's no intention to build such a huge tool any time soon... You'd better go for one of these, and complete your tools for graphic works with A. Photo and A. Designer, and probably once it gets out, APub for publishing.


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM.  Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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Hey! Thanks very much for the in-depth and thoughtful response. Short of the answer is that I like the look of Pinegrow. I'm going to take a closer look at that one.

I still have Dreamweaver. I've been using it since way back when it was a Macromedia product and was called Drumbeat. I'm just very anxious to get off the subscription model. It really irritates me, especially when Adobe has made a habit of deprecating the tools I've found most useful. Muse is just the latest in a long string.

I know it would be a big job, but I would still love to see Affinity apply their software design philosophy to a web tool. I'm already committed to Photo and Designer. Would just love to see everything all wrapped up in one consistent environment.

Thank you again for the advice. I've been playing with Bootstrap Studio for a few weeks, but am going to try out Pinegrow. I remember testing it it a while back, but it looks like it's come a long way. I especially like that it offers the option of creating Master pages, which would be a natural transition from the work I've done with Dreamweaver and Muse.

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Hello, Sean :)   Sorry, I had lost track of this thread....

RSD (Responsive Site designer) is closer to Muse, in the sense of no coding at all needed. You can do so as well in Pinegrow, but kind of you "see" more code with Pinegrow. Which can be good... sooner or later you will or might find out that coding gives you more control (I only mean a basic grasp of HTML and CSS) even if still doing it all with a visual tool for speed's sake.

For a code-less experience, maybe that RSD from Coffecup.  But I kind of believe Pinegrow is extremely i nteresting as a solid and evolving solution, going very much with the technologies (but both do, I believe both support Bootstrap... I think one gives support 3, the other 4... for small business and so, is yet better to support the older one. 

My only feel is that with Pinegrow you "might" end up understanding at least the code structure, even without being your self able to actually create the code (if you don't get yourself to steadily learn how to code in that tag based "language" or the CSS specification). Which I agree is not super easy to learn... Takes some time, but is not impossible. A smooth way to learn, maybe not the best, but a kind of less hard one, is by using these tools that seems both do export a somewhat coherent code (far are the days of Frontpage or the like)  which you can read later , try to understand what does what , looking a bit into the w3c schools or other free library those tags and properties, and with the safety that these people behind these commercial apps are always trying to keep updated with latest technologies.  

From that paragraph comes my best advice for this, in this, and the close future (as I have never a single idea about what will happen in 3 months on web coding, changes way too fast) :

The trick with wysiwyg is this: Never use one that generates bad code for SEO, and even more important, for sustainability, easiness for other coders to edit or improve it, or for the future you that knows a bit how to code (I am assuming you don't, as you are after visual tools, but maybe you could be doing this way only to speed up (I'm faster by code, at least for very specific needs)) this at start does not seem important... But in reality is not just important, is crucial. The little code I've seen exported in my trial (again, don't have personal interest in purchasing this type of tool)  did look at least decent. A bit redundant, but not terrible, what used to happen with other brands. I think I so exports from RSD too, and did look right, but in this point I am not 100% sure, as were some tests I did from some chat we had around here some months ago. 

The other amazingly important, surely even more (as you might never code, nor send the site for improvements to a web coder (I have been asked for that task way often, tho)  which are the situations when you need that the visual tool is exporting clean, correct, and simple code)  is that the tools is up-to-date. This is outstandingly crucial. While the tool receives updates, even if those are only just adapting to what the browsers go supporting or making deprecated, or to this or that new framework, etc, etc, etc, you need that like heck. As you are not coding, you are fully trusting in them to fight against all that and ensure that the exported code is compliant with everything, truly responsive with new resolutions, etc, etc. Indeed, is a major advantage, not just speed, for an advanced developer to use this, as it rpovides all those fixes, css resets and whatnot, and responsiveness, all what adds an extreme work load for coders. In real life scenarios, a web developing companies has its ways built-in, or just frameworks (again, this is yet another concept of a third party caring to maintain stuff, or like when game developers use a game engine, and mainly focus on the specific game logic code mostly.) But is also true (imo, a reason why Wordpress has gone so far) that freelancers, and their small business owners clients, don't have the kind of time to do so much maintenance coding, and so use whatever thrid party that helps them to shorten times)  . If a tool, framework, library is no longer maintained, might be fine for games in some rare situations....for the web... no way... too many factors, everything constantly changing.

So, I can say it is 2 key things, summarizing: That is very intensively maintained (ie, at least every 2 months, supposing as a given that is one of the good ones, doing good stuff) , and that the auto generated code is at least good enough (I yet to see perfect code exported by any of these...).

I instead am not so eager about Affinity making an entire suite for everything on earth. Given the size of these applications, I don't see doable even for Adobe to generate in  a reasonable time (for me) a web editor of these capabilities. Or an animation tool. Or video editing/composing tool. All these and many more have been suggested around here. I believe is best to focus on what they are doing amazingly well, consolidate that ( Photo, Designer, and perhaps, tho imo is much a longer way, Apub). These are the core of any 2D work, and 2D moves a giant market compared with the other mentioned tools.Specially as is the case that there are tons of comparable apps, but not so many in the case of a versatile and complete vectors editor, and a raster one comparable with PS. What they have are two jewels, it'd be a pity not to polish those till every bit, as if they get it, they are a real alternative. Even Apub, which I guess will close the circle in 2D (image edit, design, etc)  will take a long time (if it gets it) to be able to be a 1:1 alternative with InDesign or Quark, let alone a full and complete wysiwyg software always up to date and maintained with not just every new web technology and web coding, but also new phone responsive design, etc, etc. Or a video editor with today's huge competition, very mature software from many brands....

The field is IMO much more clear in the race with PS and AI, mostly as there the main real competition are mostly just those two, and a large percentage of ppl is really against the subscription (mostly) and even cloud concept. I mean, is not only that the apps are really in an advanced status already (AP and AD) is that is an ideal moment to get strong and make it solid now. May not be far the day that another competitor might try to make a good PS replacement or an AI one... so, for that moment, IMO, much better if Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are so strong and of the likes of the pros (this only happens when fully polished) that no matter what comes new: its quality, price and gained terrain would beat whatever new that would appear... But is one of the main reasons why I do firmly believe is time to strengthen  AD and AP (and they have different teams at it, so is no obstacle that the company is also working in APub ). Diverting more efforts into a web editor, an animation editor, a video editor, and very much specially with wyiwyg (because: too many competitors, extreme price in human hours of later on maintenance, a lot of serious web coding people and companies not believing a single bit in anything different than plain coding with today stuff being all dynamic from server) web editor, all these resources, money and coders hours... not the best right now. Maybe if everything grows and evolves, market position, etc, I believe the company will naturally want to expand to new areas, that would come naturally....

The iPad versions IMO have been a success: They reach soon and impact hard, I'm seeing extremely good feedback in several points that quite matter, on the recently released Designer for iPad. Plus seems some features in Designer for iPad will go to the desktop, so I'm not sure, it kind of seems to me is all a bit of the same thing and all evolution counts. Making such impact in the tablets is not a small thing, while IMO is not the field of professionals yet, is an extremely good way to gain people in general, even if I think the pros are massively (and probably will always be) in the desktop.


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM.  Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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