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Jamarr

Web developing tool in the works?

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As a graphic designer, I've always resented having to learn and stay on top of the changing standards of HTML, CSS, and scripting languages to do page layout and simple interactive behaviors. I just thank God that I never had to learn postscript to design a brandmark or to layout a page.

So, speaking of poorly met needs and pain points that present business opportunities, it would be a godsend if Serif could develop a website design tool for print publication and graphic designers that would leverage all of their design skills and knowledge, and their familiarity with tools like Designer, Photo, Publisher, and make it possible for them to build modern, attractive stand-alone websites. And then have the code generated by the app to be clean enough, and standard enough to be handed off to a web development team to tie in their scripts for applications, and database connectivity.

Does that make sense?

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Apparently, Adobe took a stab at this with their application named Muse. It appeared to adapt the UI elements UX conventions familiar to all graphic designers who used Adobe's other creative apps (e.g., Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign), and eliminated the need to worry about code. Are the Serif staff familiar with Muse?

For some reason, Adobe is now discontinuing Muse. Perhaps they plan to roll the best of Muse's capabilities into Dreamweaver.

At any rate, Muse is a perfect example of the kind of graphic-designer-friendly website design tool that I'd love to see join the Affinity Suite someday soon, giving print publication and graphic designers the ability to leverage their knowledge of graphic design, typography and the Affinity Suite to produce modern, responsive websites, without having to worry about code.

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On 6/13/2019 at 12:17 PM, Mark Oehlschlager said:

Apparently, Adobe took a stab at this with their application named Muse. It appeared to adapt the UI elements UX conventions familiar to all graphic designers who used Adobe's other creative apps (e.g., Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign), and eliminated the need to worry about code. Are the Serif staff familiar with Muse?

For some reason, Adobe is now discontinuing Muse. Perhaps they plan to roll the best of Muse's capabilities into Dreamweaver.

At any rate, Muse is a perfect example of the kind of graphic-designer-friendly website design tool that I'd love to see join the Affinity Suite someday soon, giving print publication and graphic designers the ability to leverage their knowledge of graphic design, typography and the Affinity Suite to produce modern, responsive websites, without having to worry about code.

The reason why Adobe dropped Muse is quite simple: Muse's design view was decoupled from the actual html/css/js output. When the development team had to implement support for responsive page designs, it became quite clear how difficult such an approach is to maintain as developers while keeping up with the quickly evolving and changing web tech landscape.

Simply stated, Muse became a bear of an application to maintain and develop.

This is one of the main reasons why applications like WebPlus, Muse, and many others over the past decade have tried and utterly failed. Muse and its older brethren also tend to save to their custom proprietary file formats, rather than directly working with html, css, and js files (which is just plain silly, because those are open, human readable standards!). This made is pretty much impossible to work with a developer or in a team. A static Muse site's code is a horror, and utterly incompatible and unworkable for a developer to integrate with server-side code or convert to a CMS like WordPress theme (for example).

And it isn't even possible to open existing sites in Muse (again because of that decoupling mentioned earlier)!

Designers without an inkling about web coding couldn't care less about the code Muse, Xara, or WebPlus generates. They just want snazzy eye candy effects, and that was another reason why Muse tanked. Browsers are an ever-changing live target, and scripts/effects that may have worked two years ago, may cause issues in a newer browser.  And let's not talk about the ridiculous size (file size) of some of those Muse sites.

In short, Muse was (is) a disastrous approach for proper web development. Great for the odd static eye-catching website or portfolio/online business card and for quick prototyping. For anything else just a Very Bad Idea. And an elephant of an application to maintain for its developers. Always running after the facts.

To my knowledge, the only surviving still developed purely visual off-line web page editors are Xara and Sparkle. And both rely on a proprietary file format. Which makes no sense to me: after all, the web is an open standard. Work with those standards, rather than against it. The only reason for a proprietary file format is to lock the customer into their own software ecosystem.

Sparkle is a good example how NOT to create output code: they proudly proclaim their home page is created with its home-grown software. Well, the code is atrocious. Designer may not care, but if you plan to work together with a developer, the code is unusable.

In contrast, an editor such as Pinegrow actually works WITH the html/css/js files, and will open any standard web page. The drawback is that basic knowledge of html and css is required to make the most out of it.

Can't have your cake and eat it too.

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18 hours ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

... both rely on a proprietary file format. Which makes no sense to me: after all, the web is an open standard. Work with those standards, rather than against it. ...

Could not have said it better. 

 


MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) Mac OS 10.12.6 || Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 10.14.6

Affinity Designer 1.8.3 | Affinity Photo 1.8.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.8.3 | Affinity Designer Beta 1.8.4.2 | Affinity Photo Beta 1.8.4.183 | Affinity Publisher Beta 1.8.4.663

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I don't know. Seems like the code governing page structure and presentation should be something that an Affinity Suite app should be able to handle. A <div> tag is a <div> tag. Translating size, positioning, stacking order, scaling, color, transparency, paragraph and character styles into clean, standard HTML5 and CSS3 should be manageable these days. Even building a UI that allows the designer to determine layout adjustments for mobile device breakpoints should be manageable.

Designing and building modern, static, responsive websites should not require much knowledge or mastery of HTML and CSS. 

Leave the burden of coding to those developers who build the back end of web apps, e-commerce and the like.

 

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As I said in another post. I would be interested in participating in crowdfunding maybe? 

Glad to hear Serif's take on the matter if there is interest from their side to consider this option.

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@Nasos

Welcome to the Serif Affinity forums :) 

2 hours ago, Nasos said:

I would be interested in participating in crowdfunding maybe? 

Glad to hear Serif's take on the matter if there is interest from their side to consider this option.

We do not encourage this sort of thing, no. This statement is still true but to be clear no work has been undertaken on any web software.


Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

Latest releases on each platform 

 

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I would be so in favour of any web developer tool in the suite of the 3 Affinity programs. I’m moving away from PC and moving to Mac. The Affinity programs are awesome, but I’m still looking for a good Mac web development tool. I’m not in favour of the Adobe model. Xara is a one stop shop with flaws, certainly not offering the tools that Affinity does, other than their web design software.

Im a little lost actually. Everyone is moving to web. Certainly not as many fliers, and brochures, and more web based content, thus I continue to search for a good Mac web based program. Any ideas appreciated. 
~ Bill Wood

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1 hour ago, Bwood said:

Any ideas appreciated. 

Hi @Bwood,

don't hope for Serif to - at some time in the future - come up with a web developer tool. There are so many and viable tools already there. Why stick to Serif with this?

Go and look around and investigate.

I want to point you to two applications that have been mentioned in this forum several times:

I hope this helps for you as a starting point 🙂

d.


Affinity Designer 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.665)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.665)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.663)
Affinity Designer for iPad 1.8.2   |   Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.2

Windows 10 (1809) 64-bit - Core i7 - 16GB - Intel HD Graphics 4600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
iPad pro 9.7" + Apple Pencil

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@Bwood

Affinity seem to have their hands full just quashing bugs in their current suite of three apps. I don't think they have the bandwidth to add a new application to their workload. Unfortunately.

Dominik mentioned Pinegrow and CoffeeCup. I have found that Sparkle is a terrific app for designers who want to build responsive websites without having to touch a line of code. If all that you need is to produce attractive websites or landing pages for yourself and clients, and are not required to colloborate with a web development shop, I think you would be thrilled with Sparkle. Here's a link to descriptive documentation.

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Posted (edited)

Many thanks Mark and Dominik. Coffee Cup looks good, but Sparkle even better. I have a multitude of slide shows I’ve got to consider as well. I’ve constructed a site for an animal shelter with many changes during a week. I’m trialing coffee cup and Sparkle to see if they offer those options.

thanks again,

Bill

Edited by Bwood

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Thanks Mark. I think that Sparkle has a lot to offer. I’m going to go with Sparkle and Affinity Designer for my elements. Moving from an all in one PC program I’ve got to train myself to design elements in one program and move that element to the web editor. Essentially I was doing that in Adobe then moved to Xara for a number of charity sites I work on. Sparkle has already some rudimentary design elements and I think in the future will develop more. Thanks again Mark, you’ve been very helpful.

-Bill

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As a long time Adobe user going as far back as CS5 up-to now with the current Adobe CC; I've learned almost all their suite of programs. But looking around for Adobe Alternatives cause I got a sticker shock when I recently renewed, what I see here is yes Affinity has a limited set of apps that appear to be focused on graphic design first. For me, the primary Apps I use is the video-editor Premiere, The graphic editor Photoshop, and third would probably be the audio editor- Audition. What would seem to immediately complement Affinity here is a Video Editor. My father is a web programmer and I have a limited profeciency in regards to building pages, sites, and scripting; so I definitely have an appreciation for being able to have a Dreamweaver type tool to make the job of web design easier.

      But I would expect Affinity to prioritize creating a video app to add to their collection. That or potentially to accompany Photo(I recommend changing that name by the way. A name with the word photo is going to be hard to get people to think Affinity rather than Adobe's Photoshop. Maybe something like "Pixel Design" or "Pixelator" get people to think Affinity rather than Adobe) a vector tool for those that need to create or redesign graphics and pictures that can be scaled up larger for print.

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46 minutes ago, Mark Oehlschlager said:

but I've read very glowing reviews of the editing software, DaVinci Resolve, as a terrific alternative to Adobe Premier, After Effects and Audition.

I want to second this. I've looked and learned DaVinci Resolve and can confrim that this is a really powerful alternative. It has its learning curve, though.

d.


Affinity Designer 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.665)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.665)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.663)
Affinity Designer for iPad 1.8.2   |   Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.2

Windows 10 (1809) 64-bit - Core i7 - 16GB - Intel HD Graphics 4600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
iPad pro 9.7" + Apple Pencil

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8 hours ago, dominik said:

I want to second this. I've looked and learned DaVinci Resolve and can confrim that this is a really powerful alternative. It has its learning curve, though.

d.

Yea I looked into that one late last year I think; isnt it like a powerful all in one application ?

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3 hours ago, Smileyyy said:

isnt it like a powerful all in one application ?

Yes, it does a lot. Video editing, colour grading, animation and visual effects. And it has an extensive audio mixing console.

There is a free version that already offers a lot. The cheapest paid version is about € 300,00. The software does need a powerful computer, though. They do have a lot of free tutorials on their site.

d.


Affinity Designer 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.665)   |   Affinity Photo 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.665)   |   Affinity Publisher 1.8.2.620 (beta 1.8.4.663)
Affinity Designer for iPad 1.8.2   |   Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.2

Windows 10 (1809) 64-bit - Core i7 - 16GB - Intel HD Graphics 4600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
iPad pro 9.7" + Apple Pencil

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Suggestion for website designers/developers...

I loved Serif's legacy website development application Web Plus, and owned the last two versions. The interface and capability was great.

If Serif decided to make a code generator website development application, I will definitely be onboard! Serif is awesome!

Also, I am not affiliated with the development tool mentioned (except as a user), and own Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher for Windows.

When Serif orphaned Web Plus, I went hunting for an alternative, with several requirements:

  • Computer application, not a service
  • Code generator application, though makes it possible to incorporate 3rd party code easily and with minimal or no limits
  • Strong and active user base
  • Active and well supported development
  • Able to handle just about any requirement: ecommerce, back end database, login, effects, animation, SVG vector graphics, pre-made components, responsive and adaptive/fixed layout capability, you know... everything!

I spent about a month researching, reviewing and trying just about every code generating website development application and am happy to share, I found a solution that meets my requirements, and more! I have been using Web Builder since v11, currently on v15.

WYSIWYG Web Builder is very powerful and capable. They also maintain compatible Mac and Linux versions:

I sincerely hope this information is well received and benefits the Serif community.

 

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Has anyone any experience with EverWeb? It was another that I found. Seems they have a problem with responsive sites.

-Bill 

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