Freeway Alternative – Pinegrow Web Designer

Along with Responsive Site Designer (RSD) and the similar Responsive Foundation Framer Beta (RFFB), Pinegrow Web Designer (PWD) is so far looking like the most appropriate Freeway replacement that meets my needs.

There seems to be a trade off between speed of execution and flexibility. There are plenty of good applications out there that will get you a site up and running very quickly, and indeed several now have their own topics on here. The three alternatives mentioned above fall into the very flexible category, giving you more work to do to get a finished result, but with a far better chance of getting precisely what you require.

PWD does require some adjustment to thinking. I’m now thinking in terms of getting my CSS classes and their naming sorted out very early on, but where PWD scores over Dreamweaver for example, is that you can get the structure of a page done without delving into CSS if you prefer to leave it until later. Dreamweaver makes doing this awkward. I just find Dreamweaver horribly clunky.

I can see the benefits of getting my CSS worked out earlier rather than later though, as it helps me focus on the areas of design that need that focus. Like I say, it is possible to create the framework of an entire page without doing any CSS, and some will prefer this. You can’t avoid it altogether however, and it will eventually need doing. The process is straightforward.

There is a learning curve, but from a pure web design point of view it makes sense. You are just looking from a different angle.

One big advantage is the ability to import the contents of an entire Freeway html output folder, as Thomas Kimmich has shown in one of his videos. I can verify that it imported correctly anything I threw at it. Sites employing a CMS such as WebYep look as odd as they do in Freeway, but you can get the php code snippets to either display or not. Given that PWD integrates really well with the Atom code editor, it’s now possible to see the WebYep code snippets in context, and re-use them as a site is built.

It could be that using a combination of something like Sparkle to quickly get a framework developed with some styling to adapt later, and then importing the html into PWD for a ‘power make-over’ could be the quickest method to get the job done.

I’ll add that I am usually code averse, but that PWD has made a few things ‘click’. You can avoid code pretty much, but it gives you glimpses as to what it’s doing and why it’s there. Knowledge is good.

I’ll give a more thorough appraisal if I decide to test-build a replica of an existing Freeway site. I should have time, so I’ll bring the results when I have them. I’ll also try to give an appraisal of RSD and RFFB when time allows.

Given that I’m also learning to use a bow and sight-read with a five string double bass at the moment, how hard can all this be?

Ian

http://pinegrow.com


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@Ian
I bought PWD a few years ago. It has many usefull options but, as an answer
of some questions of me, the maker of Pinegrow told me that PWD wasn’t
intended to build complete websites with it. More to make mockups/templates
and continue the site in a program like Dreamweaver (code and WYSIWYG
environment).

I haven’t used it since then, it could have been changed but I thougt I let
you know this.

Andries

2016-07-28 10:48 GMT+02:00 Ian Halstead email@hidden:

Along with Responsive Site Designer (RSD) and the similar Responsive
Foundation Framer Beta (RFFB), Pinegrow Web Designer (PWD) is so far
looking like the most appropriate Freeway replacement that meets my needs.

There seems to be a trade off between speed of execution and flexibility.
There are plenty of good applications out there that will get you a site up
and running very quickly, and indeed several now have their own topics on
here. The three alternatives mentioned above fall into the very flexible
category, giving you more work to do to get a finished result, but with a
far better chance of getting precisely what you require.

PWD does require some adjustment to thinking. I’m now thinking in terms of
getting my CSS classes and their naming sorted out very early on, but where
PWD scores over Dreamweaver for example, is that you can get the structure
of a page done without delving into CSS if you prefer to leave it until
later. Dreamweaver makes doing this awkward. I just find Dreamweaver
horribly clunky.

I can see the benefits of getting my CSS worked out earlier rather than
later though, as it helps me focus on the areas of design that need that
focus. Like I say, it is possible to create the framework of an entire page
without doing any CSS, and some will prefer this. You can’t avoid it
altogether however, and it will eventually need doing. The process is
straightforward.

There is a learning curve, but from a pure web design point of view it
makes sense. You are just looking from a different angle.

One big advantage is the ability to import the contents of an entire
Freeway html output folder, as Thomas Kimmich has shown in one of his
videos. I can verify that it imported correctly anything I threw at it.
Sites employing a CMS such as WebYep look as odd as they do in Freeway, but
you can get the php code snippets to either display or not. Given that PWD
integrates really well with the Atom code editor, it’s now possible to see
the WebYep code snippets in context, and re-use them as a site is built.

It could be that using a combination of something like Sparkle to quickly
get a framework developed with some styling to adapt later, and then
importing the html into PWD for a ‘power make-over’ could be the quickest
method to get the job done.

I’ll add that I am usually code averse, but that PWD has made a few things
‘click’. You can avoid code pretty much, but it gives you glimpses as to
what it’s doing and why it’s there. Knowledge is good.

I’ll give a more thorough appraisal if I decide to test-build a replica of
an existing Freeway site. I should have time, so I’ll bring the results
when I have them. I’ll also try to give an appraisal of RSD and RFFB when
time allows.

Given that I’m also learning to use a bow and sight-read with a five
string double bass at the moment, how hard can all this be?

Ian

http://pinegrow.com


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Thanks Andries – I think that was the case – indeed one of the present functions is to create WordPress themes amongst other things. It is capable of doing whole sites consisting of many pages as far as I can see, and does so by using a choice of Bootstrap, Foundation or other frameworks… or just plain html from scratch if so inclined.

I’m more than happy to be told I’m wrong though, as I wouldn’t want to invest too much time going down a cul-de-sac.


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I often had that feeling, after investing time and money to come to the
conclusion that in the run it isn’t my cup of tea. Grrrr…

Luckely there a lot more options :wink:

2016-07-28 12:03 GMT+02:00 Ian Halstead email@hidden:

Thanks Andries – I think that was the case – indeed one of the present
functions is to create WordPress themes amongst other things. It is capable
of doing whole sites consisting of many pages as far as I can see, and does
so by using a choice of Bootstrap, Foundation or other frameworks… or
just plain html from scratch if so inclined.

I’m more than happy to be told I’m wrong though, as I wouldn’t want to
invest too much time going down a cul-de-sac.


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On 28 Jul 2016, 9:13 am, Andries Kuipers wrote:

@Ian
I bought PWD a few years ago. It has many usefull options but, as an answer
of some questions of me, the maker of Pinegrow told me that PWD wasn’t
intended to build complete websites with it. More to make mockups/templates
and continue the site in a program like Dreamweaver (code and WYSIWYG
environment).

@Andries:

When one is able to create ONE page, he is able to create TWO (or even more). And when an author is even able to create links, chances are good to call this a SITE - or project, cause he can connect them. So all they wanted to say is:

“No - we don’t have an automatic link control such as you have it with the master-page concept!!”.

Those guys are coming from an entirely different approach:

Making a visual controlled code editor and not a drop&drag application!

####Please consider this in your future answers!!!

PINEGROW loves code - that’s the good news. Freeway-user doesn’t - that’s the fact.

So it’s hard to declare PINEGROW as an alternative.

It is … under the premise of

… thinking one step ahead!

Cheers

Thomas


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After much exploration and comparing with the Coffeecup Responsive Foundation Framer, I’ll be looking more closely at the latter. I can get things done far more quickly, but it still has a good degree of flexibility. It’s very similar to the Responsive Site Designer offering from the same company, but there are differences.

Pinegrow Web Designer is beyond where I really want to go in the flexibility versus speed equation.

http://www.coffeecup.com/forums/foundation-framer/the-difference-between-responsive-site-designer-and-ff/


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@Thomas

I didn’t tell Ian that PGW couldn’t make sites, but the program is not
intending to.
The statement came from Matjaz (Pinegrowbuilder) itself:

“PGW is more a design tool to duplicate, replicate and generate mirror
sitepages, mockups and templates but not intended to build a website from
scratch and finish and publish it within Pinegrow. Sorry.”

Need to say more?

Andries

2016-07-28 16:11 GMT+02:00 Thomas Kimmich email@hidden:

On 28 Jul 2016, 9:13 am, Andries Kuipers wrote:

@Ian
I bought PWD a few years ago. It has many usefull options but, as an
answer
of some questions of me, the maker of Pinegrow told me that PWD wasn’t
intended to build complete websites with it. More to make
mockups/templates
and continue the site in a program like Dreamweaver (code and WYSIWYG
environment).

@Andries:

When one is able to create ONE page, he is able to create TWO (or even
more). And when an author is even able to create links, chances are good to
call this a SITE - or project, cause he can connect them. So all they
wanted to say is:

“No - we don’t have an automatic link control such as you have it with the
master-page concept!!”.

Those guys are coming from an entirely different approach:

Making a visual controlled code editor and not a drop&drag application!

####Please consider this in your future answers!!!

PINEGROW loves code - that’s the good news. Freeway-user doesn’t - that’s
the fact.

So it’s hard to declare PINEGROW as an alternative.

It is … under the premise of

… thinking one step ahead!

Cheers

Thomas


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Ah - forgot to mention, that a modern workflow for professional web designers certainly persist on a couple of tools.

Mine is (since a year or so):

FreewayPro <-> Brackets <-> CodeKit (placing files on Dropbox for developing).

All I have to do is substituting Freeway with Pinegrow (which hurts on day X) and Brackets by Atom . A missing FTP isn’t a big deal, cause FTP-clients like Transmit are able to synchronize local and remote servers (hopefully).

So in fact, PG can be an alternative to Freeway - it’s just a matter of standpoint and attitude. And I work on it - every day 'til day X.

The good news is, that even the decision pro PG can be corrected at the day something different/better/faster/ will arise. It’s a team player. An can do much more a developer will tell you.

All the already mentioned “alternative tools” are simple standalone applications and stepping to them is substituting one problem with the exactly the same problem again: Dependence.

Cheers

Thomas


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Expecting this as my future soliloquizing (yes - I googled this) list, allow me to add that the coffeecup stuff is based on foundation framework (and blocsapp on bootstrap framework). Which one is the better? What if you take a cup of coffee but people saying tea is better? Just an additional thought.

But whatever you guys are doing:

As long as you’re happy - I’m too and am wishing you the best.

A given fact is, that Freeway can’t be substituted anyway.

Cheers

Thomas


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Thomas,

I think your points are valid, especially because I watched your video on PineGrow. It seems that if Freeway ever stops working on a new MacOS, and if we really must have that MacOS, then PineGrow would import our Freeway sites (the files generated by Freeway), and allow us to make modest modifications to them with relative ease. But major modifications to them in PineGrow may be difficult for some users, which is why those of us in that “Visual Designer” camp should keep our eyes open to other alternatives.

I still think PG is amazing for what it does. It is the missing “HTML import” feature we Freeway users always wanted in Freeway and even asked SoftPress for many times since the 1990’s!

–James Wages


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Hi all. One major drawback in PineGrow is that it doesn’t have the ability to incorporate CMS…a standard thing most clients want and expect. You have to bring it into WordPress. See their reply below:

"Pinegrow does not provide any CMS but with the Pinegrow WP or Pinegrow PRO+WP versions of the application you can create themes for the WordPress CMS.

However, be advised that It’s not a straightforward process and some knowledge about WordPress dev basics is very welcome to achieve such a goal.

You can have a look at our video tutorials here: Pinegrow WP - YouTube"


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Pinegrow may not have an integrated CMS, but as long as you can insert code, either directly by way of Pinegrow’s code editor, or by some other means, then I see no reason why a CMS (any CMS) couldn’t be installed using Pinegrow’s tools. It’s just code after all, and Pinegrow gives you access to all of it.

Todd
Office (Chicago): 312.212.3955
https://qreativ.space

Hi all. One major drawback in PineGrow is that it doesn’t have the ability to incorporate CMS…a standard thing most clients want and expect. You have to bring it into WordPress.


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I was wondering about that. I asked if a CMS can be incorporated into it in my original email to them, but their answer didn’t directly address it. I sent them a follow-up email, but haven’t heard back yet.

Thanks,
Randi


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You’re wondering? Me too! Very often, to be pedant.

Could you please try to explain this board (specifically me) what in your understanding a CMS is, literally! Perhaps it’s just a matter of “misunderstandings”? Cause this board is obviously full of them!

Cheers

Thomas


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Thomas,

I have never used a Content Management System (CMS) and I see no need for one either. Some Freeway actions I use pull content from outside my server (some of Walter’s actions), and I use Google’s “Custom Search,” but other than that, everything else is on my server.

I also don’t understand the appeal of WordPress either. If I want to add content to my site, I just use Freeway. That would hold true of any blog. Why use WordPress, especially when I see in my server Error Logs daily that hackers from China, the USA, Russia, France, the UK, and the Ukraine are daily searching for Wordpress files on my server they can hack. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Pinegrow looks interesting from a “I can change my site with lots of code” standpoint. But as I recall, back in the day many years ago, Dreamweaver had a good import capability and was well respected among web coders. What then differentiates Pinegrow from Dreamweaver?

–James Wages


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Thomas, what I mean by CMS, in this particular instance, is for my clients to be able to edit/update copy and photos in specific areas of their sites. I don’t want them to be able to get into the site so deeply that they screw it up, but most clients want to, at least, have copy and photo editing access.

I found a response this morning from Pinegrow to my 2nd email. Looks like they do have something that might fit the bill.

"…with the 2.92, we have introduced a specific “contributor mode” (available from the Settings) which will be definitely useful if you want to manage a “static” CMS.

It is not ready for the primetime yet and some documentation will be written about it in the coming weeks."


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is for my clients to be able to edit/update copy and photos in specific areas of their sites

Then Todd’s answer applies

'as long as you can insert code, either directly by way of Pinegrow’s code editor, or by some other means, then I see no reason why a CMS (any CMS) couldn’t be installed using Pinegrow’s tools. ’

Pick one that suits your/client’s needs and start the process.

D


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Just a thought – you could use http://inlay.io (my creation) for this. While there is an Action for Freeway, there is no reason you could not use this with another application’s HTML – all it needs is HTML (and the ability to run PHP on your server, which is near-ubiquitous). In Pinegrow, click on the item you want to become editable, then press Command-H to edit it as HTML. Here’s an example of what you might see:

<h2>Book Title Goes Here</h2>

Change the code to read like this:

<h2 data-inlay="title:string">Book Title Goes Here</h2>

That’s the entire change needed to turn this page into a template in Inlay’s eyes. Some detail about what we’ve just done here:

  1. The word title is the name of the variable we will be replacing. It must be unique on the page, or else it will be the same every place you use that name.
  2. String means that there will be no additional code within the value you enter through the Inlay control panel. It is perfect for things like headlines, because you (the designer) can make it impossible for your client to do anything except change the words. All styling comes from outside of the editable portion of the page. There are other types of editable region available as well. http://docs.inlay.io/creating-templates.html has the details.

You can continue doing this trick to other elements on the page, as many as you want, as long as you don’t duplicate the names as mentioned before. You can use the resulting template as a one-off page, or as the starting point for many duplicates (imagine a catalog of products, with a separate page for each one, all based on a single template).

The editor of the page signs in through the Inlay.io web site, navigates to the page they want to edit using a very Freeway-like interface, and then depending on the format of the elements you chose, sees either a very minimal set of text fields, a side-by-side live editing Markdown editor, or a more evolved WYSIWYG editor. On a fresh page instance, the dummy copy you added to the template is pre-entered in the editing interface, so they can replace it with the desired actual copy. Changes made in the editor are immediately live to the world.

Walter

On Aug 2, 2016, at 7:59 AM, qhrider email@hidden wrote:

Thomas, what I mean by CMS, in this particular instance, is for my clients to be able to edit/update copy and photos in specific areas of their sites. I don’t want them to be able to get into the site so deeply that they screw it up, but most clients want to, at least, have copy and photo editing access.

I found a response this morning from Pinegrow to my 2nd email. Looks like they do have something that might fit the bill.

"…with the 2.92, we have introduced a specific “contributor mode” (available from the Settings) which will be definitely useful if you want to manage a “static” CMS.

It is not ready for the primetime yet and some documentation will be written about it in the coming weeks."


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On 2 Aug 2016, at 00:58, JDW wrote:

I also don’t understand the appeal of WordPress either. If I want to add content to my site, I just use Freeway. That would hold true of any blog. Why use WordPress, especially when I see in my server Error Logs daily that hackers from China, the USA, Russia, France, the UK, and the Ukraine are daily searching for Wordpress files on my server they can hack. It doesn’t make sense to me.

WordPress (and similar) really comes into its own when you have a large number of information contributors and you either don’t want the task of entering it all, or it’s not financially viable for you to be paid to enter every extra bit of data. It’s also well known so there a lot of people who can take it over when you are unable to manage it (we’re not all under retirement age). It doesn’t make much sense (to me) for a company sales site. It also doesn’t make much sense (to me) for a site where a unique graphic design is important.

David


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On 1 Aug 2016, at 22:56, Thomas Kimmich wrote:

You’re wondering? Me too! Very often, to be pedant.

Could you please try to explain this board (specifically me) what in your understanding a CMS is, literally! Perhaps it’s just a matter of “misunderstandings”? Cause this board is obviously full of them!

Cheers

Thomas

A CMS is anything that stores and manages some data that you are using as content. It can be a ‘database’ that has a database management system (DBMS) like mySQL etc., or it can be file based with some php pulling the data out. It can be the filesystem (which itself is a sort of database) displaying, say, all html/image/… that are in a particular folder in consecutive html boxes, updated via ftp or …

I have a couple of sites where someone else maintains data on a spreadsheet, exports it as csv and uploads it. My php parses the csv and puts stuff where it has to go. The downside of this is making it secure, but that’s not difficult.

David


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