Are Actions a thing of the past

Hi

One of my favourite about Freeway over the years has been exploring the Actions to find new and exciting features to add to my websites.

However since Freeway 7 has arrived there seems to be a stop to new actions being added and most of the best actions don’t work anymore.

Are actions a thing of the past?

If not how about restructuring the Actions Forge into Freeway versions so if you are using FW7 you can go to a sub-section that shows only actions that will work (same for 6 and 5 for those hanging on to them)


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Damn fair question, isn’t it?

Me is the one who indeed doesn’t care at “fancy funky” actions anymore. This is more reasoned by the “mess” an action does with structure and code. It places stuff wildly in the resources folder (js, css and images) which is basically not up to my convenience. Furthermore, it places lines of code in the head or body part (naturally) where I want to stay as clean as possible.

Another (even more) significant point is, that “function” related actions are mostly written on a library, that one could call (if he wants to do so) antique static (to avoid outdated or even obsolete). Namely Prototype and Scriptaculous. The new and fancy stuff is mostly based on jQuery (library). Mixing both is highly risky cause they both do not really like each other.

It’s not to be expected, that actions as we are used to use will be re-written to jQuery cause the mess would be incredible - and this audience is not able to handle the whether/or question. Another significant point is, that new and fancy actions usually requires inflow-construction. Another point this audience will fail. And as the final question:

“Who decides, which function (of those zillions) to choose?”

Restructuring the forge is not a question of version number (they still work in higher versions as they did in lower ones), it’s a question of attitude and understanding.

So here I’d indeed say - yes. Actions like those are a relict of the past.

But it should be noted as well, that I’m not working action-free. I do use actions but more the one that are really fun and helpful. Mainly DOM manipulating things like “ID removing” “class adding” “turning into HTML5 item” “commenting”, a list that can be extended. Those are my “fancy” actions and I never get tired to thank the genius guys out there having them created once a day.

So here, actions are still the life and timesaver, cause those actions are influencing the “publishing” process.

I’m currently working on “introducing” a bunch of different stuff in a Freeway document which I expect my future starting point for projects. I sometimes can think of actions, but honestly i’m much quicker these days without.

And another point is:

Even if I ask action developers for assistance (or a quote) I left usually either partial answered or even entirely ignored at all. I do have ideas - but perhaps I’m the unwanted one.

So all I can recommend is:

Get used to structure (HTML), prettifying (CSS) and functionality (JavaScript) adding them by hand - especially when you want to work profit oriented. It’s simply your job. A designer isn’t needed anymore.

Cheers

Thomas


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The Forge has a feature which developers can use to indicate the version(s) of Freeway they have used to test their Actions. I don’t expose an interface for you to search by that version metadata, but I could, and pretty easily. The thing is, it takes effort to write and test an Action, and then many/most authors give that away for free, and then support it, too.

Actions I wrote nearly ten years ago are still used in Freeway 7, but there is no way I have tested them and am sure they will work there. And I don’t have the time to do that, either.

Another wrinkle here is that the last time that the Actions API documentation was updated was the early 2000s. There have been “tech notes” and KB articles since then, to be sure, but the core documentation still has screenshots from Mac OS 9.

In a perfect world, Freeway would be a plug-in “scaffold” and Action authors would be able to write their Actions using any executable file format (Ruby, Python, lua, whatever, not just JavaScript), and have access to the main menu and other interface elements. Imagine an Action that could add a tab to the Inspector! This is how Adobe re-imagined the desktop publishing application world with InDesign. By itself, the ID app can launch and show a menu and save files. Everything else is implemented with plug-ins.

Freeway’s Actions have a very limited view of the document, and then, only during the publish cycle. That’s the source of much frustration with developers, and it’s also why Actions cannot be made to work with responsive layouts. There’s no way, for example, to have an Action have different settings at different viewports – there’s no way to get at that information.

Walter

On Nov 30, 2015, at 4:43 AM, Kevin McElligott email@hidden wrote:

Hi

One of my favourite about Freeway over the years has been exploring the Actions to find new and exciting features to add to my websites.

However since Freeway 7 has arrived there seems to be a stop to new actions being added and most of the best actions don’t work anymore.

Are actions a thing of the past?

If not how about restructuring the Actions Forge into Freeway versions so if you are using FW7 you can go to a sub-section that shows only actions that will work (same for 6 and 5 for those hanging on to them)


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Freeway’s Actions have a very limited view of the document, and then, only during the publish cycle. That’s the source of much frustration with developers, and it’s also why Actions cannot be made to work with responsive layouts. There’s no way, for example, to have an Action have different settings at different viewports – there’s no way to get at that information.

Let’s run a hard example where I (theoretically) can think “action” on an example:

The most missing feature right now is:

###Carousel (or slider if you want so)

####Prefix

An action can’t have the claim to “correct” constructions. If one is not able to correctly set-up the constructional claim, the following happens:

alt text

This ensures that it is not a problem of an action at all and furthermore giving the responsive stuff in the hands of a user.

So the construction could look as so (or similar):

alt text

####Assumed we would use OWL carousel

Its manual set-up is pretty easy:

Properly link to all required files first:

<!-- Important Owl stylesheet -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="Resources/owl.carousel.css">

<!-- Default Theme -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="Resources/owl.theme.css">

<!--  jQuery 1.7+  -->
<script src="jquery-1.9.1.min.js"></script>

<!-- Include js plugin -->
<script src="Resources/owl.carousel.js"></script>

This is applied to the default page head/body, not a bigger affair for an action, is it?

Now the init:

/***************** Owl-Slider 2.0.0-beta.2.4 http://smashingboxes.github.io/OwlCarousel2/ ******************/

$(document).ready(function () {

"use strict";

$("#owl-wrapper").owlCarousel({

    nav: true, // Show next and prev buttons
    animateOut: 'fadeOut',
    singleItem: true,
    autoplay: true,
    autoplaySpeed: 1500,
    autoplayTimeout: 5000,
    rewindNav: false,
    loop: true,
    responsiveClass:true,
    responsive:{
    0:{
        items:1,
        margin: 0,
        nav:false
    },
    1200:{
        items:1,
        margin: 40,
        nav:false
    }
}

    // "singleItem:true" is a shortcut for:
    // items : 1, 
    // itemsDesktop : false,
    // itemsDesktopSmall : false,
    // itemsTablet: false,
    // itemsMobile : false

});

});

It isn’t really important for a successful start which settings can be applied or not. Important would be something like getting the wrapper name by ID.
The above example is my current init set-up. The “responsive” part is part of the js. Here for example I can define if I want to show more than one pane on specific screen sizes.

So all things happen on the default TAB and nothing is really part of the media queries.

A running example for using it as a “slider”:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8231701/cdn-digitalmedia-themes/theGridMaterialz/thegrid-carousel.html

A running example for using it as a carousel we’re used to know:

http://hb-marketingberatung.de (click References)

I might think short-handed and naive, cause I’m not able to create an action once in a lifetime. But I’m pretty sure, that there is nothing extremely fancy about this.

###And last but not least:

None have to work for free writing those actions. Think of a lil helpful bundle of let’s say: Carousel - Simple Lightbox (Gallery) - and, hm don’t know, kind of Accordion. I’m sure people would love to actively support actions dev with some money.

But once again:

Not being able to create inflow-layouts (I call it theGrid), the best action will fail.

Cheers

Thomas


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Hi Thomas/Walt

Many thanks for your replies. I managed to follow most of it (not being technically savvy).

So are we generally saying that the pretty actions (i.e. Carousel) are dead for responsive layouts?

If so what is the way forward for non-coders (sorry Thomes I know you will hate that comment).

I have been using WOWslider positioned in FW7 with Crowbar which works but is not wisywig.

Are there any other such effects that anyone could recommend to add a little something extra to the designs?

Thomas I have been following your Gridmeister series and have been eagerly awaiting the next instalments.

Thanks
Kevin


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For me, there are three basic categories of Freeway actions:

  1. Actions that do things that I can’t do on my own.
  2. Actions that do things I am too lazy to do on my own.
  3. Actions that do things that Freeway can’t do or do well.
  4. Actions that undo things that I wish Freeway wouldn’t do.

For me, the natural evolution has been from the first two to the last two. Don’t get me wrong-- I think that actions are cool and I am ever grateful for the efforts of those who make them. It’s just that in many ways they are like training wheels and at some point you realize that you can go faster and farther without them.


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Hi Kevin,

Thomas I have been following your Gridmeister series and have been eagerly awaiting the next installments.

this is nothing personal, but in all honesty:

You already saw everything required for to integrate - let’s say the above mentioned OWL-carousel - successfully on your own. So I assume you “watch” but you do not “practice”. I don’t understand my videos as entertainment from the universal studios but more something from discovery channel.

All you need to do is to rewire your brain and start to work actively on and with the things. At the point you stumble, try to get back to the videos, figuring out there what you miss. This actively increases your experience - everything else is wasted money and time.

You mentioned as well somewhere, that the videos are nice but you feel somehow left outside alone (so they are not helpful which makes me sad. But this has as well something to do with attitude. You can’t expect the matching learning video, cause you never know what I prefer to use. While OWL is the one I prefer, there are tons of others outside and chances are very big, that you’d perhaps prefer other things.

All things are basics - open for every direction.

I will do more stuff - promised. But haven’t had the time to round-up the JS series.

Cheers

Thomas


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Hi Thomas
I take your points although I feel there may be a little misunderstanding. I don’t so much much feel left out in the cold, more that I follow your tutorials but don’t always understand why certain things are being done. For example you use boxes inside of boxes inside of boxes inside of boxes - does there really need to be so many boxes? Some are 100% fixed, some are set to available - I kinda need to know why - what is the criteria to decide which is which.
It would be very useful if you could produce an index on your website of what is covered in each video as I have tried to go back and find things when i get stuck but it takes forever to find the right video and where in the video that element is covered.
Please don’t get me wrong I think you have done a wonderful job and I am richer in knowledge for have followed your videos.
Having said that some of us want to design not develop and that is why we adopted Freeway in the first place - but unfortunately the world has changed so we have to as well I suppose.
Keep up the good work Thomas it is appreciated.
Thanks
Kevin


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Hi Kevin,

let me try to answer you directly:

####does there really need to be so many boxes?

Not necessarily! Thousand ways to skin the cat.

TheGrid follows two things: The constraints in Freeways’ workspace and the “must have” boxes for web design. But it works.

Had a recent talk to another subscriber. It was a nice talk. He simply adopted this method and called it “Sam Go”. He even created a nice PDF A3 poster pinning this in view of his desk. He understood, that this is just an approach of understanding different roles a “wrapping” item can have:

  1. Section! It is the one allowing you to have 100% stretch across the page (99.9% of web designers are keen on this)

  2. Area! We’re switching the “page-width” off. So we need this page-width back. Wether in percent or in max-width doesn’t matter. Needed? I think so - yes.

  3. Module! Module is tricky, indeed. The way it’s built, it ensures equal distances between left and right - and in between the cols. This examples shows what I mean: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8231701/cdn-digitalmedia-themes/theGridMaterialz/boxeswithshadow.html
    It is designers’ choice and decision.

  4. Grid Nothing fancy. 2 or 3 or 4 columns? That’s theGrid. Nothing else

  5. Object is content mostly - or content wrapper.

I’m pretty convinced of shorter ways to construct your page. This is MY approach - not THE approach at all. And it’s kind of mimic Bootstrap framework.

But with my method you’re sure having a three Grid keeping 33.33% and not running numbers like 31.078% and you even do not need any action for “correcting” weird widths into very “weird” things in the output. And it ensures to have most (if not all)

Once understood - and I’m telling this as well - you’re free to start your own Grid. I am under the impression, that I explained the whys in each single step. More than once. What is so hard to simply doing it that way, trying a couple of things out? Sorting out the bad things and keeping the good ones?

And there we are:

You try to design in Freeway. This is WRONG!!! The design happens elsewhere and is ready to go before you open Freeway the first time. If you don’t understand this, you’ve got no business in there. Freeway is just the construction-tool - not the designing tool (anymore).

Cheers

Thomas


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Thanks Thomas
I appreciate your help and patience.

Kevin


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On 7 Dec 2015, 1:13 pm, Thomas Kimmich wrote:

You try to design in Freeway. This is WRONG!!! The design happens elsewhere and is ready to go before you open Freeway the first time.

Curious what you use to design Thomas?


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In the past and as an interim solution:

Illustrator/Photoshop

But I recently purchased Sketch 3 https://www.sketchapp.com - my best purchase ever (beneath the two Affinity products Photo and Designer)

Sketch is sooooooooooo cool! Literally.

Creating sliders/galleries and export the images is an affair of minutes (which was often a pain in the past).

Sketch and Freeway are THE perfect match, revolutionizing my workflow forever (and even match my screencasts philosophy “theGrid” and “Materialize” up to 100%).

Everything in Sketch reminds me on the FreewayPro version in my dreams (do you hear me TOWERS?).

But never forget:

A very important Designers’ Tool is TextEdit (or Word) for content (Text rules) and naturally a piece of paper and a pencil for some pre sketching.

Cheers

Thomas


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Here’s an article about the design process using Sketch 3 which might be useful if you want to give it a try (there’s a free 30 day trial)


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I agree. Been using it for a few years. Wonderful app.

Todd
Office (Chicago): 312.212.3955
Community: https://creativ.space

But I recently purchased Sketch 3 https://www.sketchapp.com - my best purchase ever (beneath the two Affinity products Photo and Designer)

Sketch is sooooooooooo cool! Literally.


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