Macaw - no more!

I had such high hopes for it way back when…

D

http://macaw.co/invision/


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Ive got Macaw and the latest version is pretty cool BUT its now where near as complete as it needed to be e.g. adding table content!! to name but one clear omission, and thats after a fundraising success of $300,000 during the 2013 Kickstarter campaign and that doesn’t include how much Macaw has been raising through sales… It just goes to show how difficult it is to make a program that actually delivers what it initialy promised. I gave up on it quite early on because the major flaws outweighed the visual benefits.

max


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Yes I feel a bit cheated/let down after being a Kickstarter backer - and only getting offered 6 months free of a pay monthly service I dont want!

D


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Yep me to… I don’t want the invision 6 month free service either. What I thought I was paying for was an application that had at least the possibility of delivering what was shown… but in reality a huge amount was smoke and mirrors… It was launched with so many problems that it didn’t deliver at all.

I had no intention of jumping ship but I thought it would make a good platform to test with, but in reality it didn’t do that particularly well either at the start and now its tied up with another system which I dont want to use…

Although they have promised it will carry on… I suspect macaw in its present form is macdead!!!

Well I suppose around 3 years for an application lifespan that didn’t do what I thought it could before selling out is quite good in this day and age.

max


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What all apps have in common is the visual appeal, the ui, the ease of use … up until the point the flaws appear and you’ve reached the limits of the app. I’ve been a huge fan of Freeway for quite some time, even still the app does miss out on so many levels when you want to take it a bit further. But for some reason … it still cuts the bill. Yes, you do need to dig deeper, learn to use the app differently than you might have been using it all this time (drag & drop v.s. inline box-model). Yes you will have to activate that Extended button again, even though that particular thing should have been accessible more user-friendly by now, but still Freeway is a beast to be reckoned with. It’s only that it’s an old one, that does have to learn new tricks and get rid of old stuff …

But hey … for as long as I can build stuff like this, I’ll put my money on this one.


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I had no intention of jumping ship but I thought it would make a good platform to test with

My thoughts exactly!

D


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But hey … for as long as I can build stuff like this, I’ll put my money on this one.

Nice - naturally, but not much to do with Freeway? The missing helping classes is telling me “MarkUp”.

People always gripe Freeways limitations, but in all honesty, none was ever able to really name them (except Ernie, the only one I’ve ever trusted).

I always admitted (and still do), that our app needs an entire polishing regarding structure, usability and design. But all this never obstructed me to concentrate on the most important things:

Content and result.

An new shiny polished easy to use application doesn’t make you a better designer. Such as a Ferrari doesn’t make you necessarily a better driver. I understand in all points disappointment or even being betrayed. But under the hood and in all honesty spoken:

Those guys made hereby a good amount of money. They turned a basic vision into prosperity. It’s something I’ll never have. Cause I’m exactly the same as the uppermost mass of people:

Uninspired!

So book it under the folder of “life experience” (and believe me, mine were sometimes more expensive than this).

And who knows? Once a day SP surprises us with something genius?

Meanwhile we could start to discuss how to improve our app (and I’d have plenty of visions on how)!

Cheers

Thomas


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On 3 Feb 2016, 9:04 am, Thomas Kimmich wrote:

But hey … for as long as I can build stuff like this, I’ll put my money on this one.

Nice - naturally, but not much to do with Freeway? The missing helping classes is telling me “MarkUp”.

The only markup was to insert the item (no longer needed now I’ve modified Walter’s HTML5 action). Everything else was done using actions (Source Code Snooper, Anonymous, Use External Stylesheets, Remove Paragraph Tags, Crowbar, TagWrap) and using the Extended option on items to apply classes.

And there you have it. All this can be done in Freeway, but it’s all done via (free available) actions and hours of trial-and-error. This is a good practice and the way a pro should learn, but for a newbie or a moderate user so many stuff used nowadays on the web (like parallax effect) still can’t be done in Freeway properly. Yes okay, I’ve done it a few months ago, but even then it took a lot of effort (scroll down for the latest updates). An action should make you able to do this stuff instantly!

My point is that Freeway’s lack of out-of-the-box-support on a lot of widely used and offered web-technology just pushes people away to apps Macaw and what not. Even though Freeway is so much better, it just doesn’t keep up with people’s needs. All disappointed Macaw (and other apps) users could be potential Freeway users, if only Freeway was a lot more user-friendly.

Richard


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Having had a brief look into your parallax recently and have to admit yes - no markup there - apologize.

But in all honesty, I neither understand the construction nor the process and functionality behind so I sorted it under “Currently too dumb for this, think about it later”-folder (a pretty huge beast btw).

  1. How do one control design and resources in your process?
  2. How do you get rid of the helping classes Freeway generates by default?
  3. How to get rid of all FW style-sheet references?
  4. For what purpose?

Let me pick up one of the main messages of Macaw:

“You can use Macaw with limited knowledge of HTML and CSS. However, you’ll be able to do so much more if you understand how these languages work.”

Exactly the same message is the one I’d like to hear from the towers as well. It’s simply the truth. All said.

The current FWT-audience persists of two handful people worth to support having one thing in common:
They simply don’t need support. All of them are boiling their own soup. This is damn fair, cause there are several ways skinning the cat. You adjusted Walters action, Ernie and DD as well. Me too. So five versions of one Action? Nice.

But how to support an audience that refuses the min on every understanding? Refuses the very basic needance of “construction”? Persisting on iFraming and IE6 compatibility?

So indeed I agree here as well:

Beneath the fact we require a polished FW user friendly UX thing, we need an entirely better attitude as well (a new audience - if you want so).

Let me cite theBig one, cause it excellently fits:

“Hey, let’s face facts— how responsible are we being when we ask Freeway to generate code for us when we’re not qualified to judge the results? If we’ve learned anything about the web by now, it’s that it is not only a visual medium. So, yeah… the code is important.”

Only this will make us more interesting for a wider range of front-end developers (wherever they come from).

Cheers

Thomas

BTW: I have a parallax as well. It’s one img-Tag, one class and a line of init_code.


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Good points, Thomas.

we need an entirely better attitude as well (a new audience - if you want so).

I wonder though, for decades SP have intentionally marketed to an audience which, for the most part (as you pointed out), seem not only content but downright resistant to change. Ok, fair enough.

While I agree a new attitude (thank you Patti LaBelle) would be welcome, or is perhaps desperately needed, the question I ask myself is, “How does SP unravel years of the ‘no code required’ mindset they have fostered and built a business on for all these years?”

They have firmly established themselves as a company that builds software for a decidedly non-technical and mostly hobbyist audience so it’s really no surprise their user-base reflects it. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that if that’s the goal, but then how do you attract a more progressive tech-savvy user after decades of successfully appealing to a market with no interest in such things?

I seriously doubt the shift in attitude and people you, and others, would like to see will ever happen.

I appreciate your desire to participate in lively and engaging technical discussions with people who can challenge and inspire, but SP and FW, with very few exceptions, will probably never attract that type of user on a large(r) scale. The FW product and community (with a handful of exceptions) is for a myriad of reasons far too closed-off to the world of Web development to attract the kind of people you want to engage with on FWT.

When we can no longer get what we need to continue growing we expand our view, or stagnate.

Todd


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Then there are a lot of people like me, who’s main income isn’t web sites.

I’m an illustrator by trade and have branched out into doing small sites for various people, but I only get about 2 or 3 per year, sometimes none, so when I come to put into practise what I learned last time (or time before, or time before that), it’s all disappeared from memory, so for me it’s sometimes like starting from Day 1. I then find out what I need from this most excellent forum by searching, only to realise that with some recent updates that the way to do it has changed.

I now have my head around responsive web design (with many thanks to Caleb and BackDraft), but when it comes to bits of code here and there - not a clue! And with my web work being so few and far between, I honestly don’t have the time to learn it alongside my other work.

If I was webbing full time, then yes, I’d give it a crack, although I’m getting a bit old for learning this new-fangled stuff!

I’m sure I’m not the only one in this position. There must be more part-time web makers than me who just don’t have the time. Speaking personally it’s not that I don’t want to learn - it’s the time and space between each site that’s the problem for me.

Go on - shoot me down now. I can take it :slight_smile:

Trev

On 5 Feb 2016, at 18:48, Todd email@hidden wrote:

Good points, Thomas.

we need an entirely better attitude as well (a new audience - if you want so).

I wonder though, for decades SP have intentionally marketed to an audience which, for the most part (as you pointed out), seem not only content but downright resistant to change. Ok, fair enough.

While I agree a new attitude (thank you Patti LaBelle) would be welcome, or is perhaps desperately needed, the question I ask myself is, “How does SP unravel years of the ‘no code required’ mindset they have fostered and built a business on for all these years?”

They have firmly established themselves as a company that builds software for a decidedly non-technical and mostly hobbyist audience so it’s really no surprise their user-base reflects it. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that if that’s the goal, but then how do you attract a more progressive tech-savvy user after decades of successfully appealing to a market with no interest in such things?

I seriously doubt the shift in attitude and people you, and others, would like to see will ever happen.

I appreciate your desire to participate in lively and engaging technical discussions with people who can challenge and inspire, but SP and FW, with very few exceptions, will probably never attract that type of user on a large(r) scale. The FW product and community (with a handful of exceptions) is for a myriad of reasons far too closed-off to the world of Web development to attract the kind of people you want to engage with on FWT.

When we can no longer get what we need to continue growing we expand our view, or stagnate.


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You’re not alone Trev, and that’s exactly my point.

My guess is the vast majority of the FW user-base are part-time users (hobbyists) who derive their primary income by other means. And most of those few who do build websites full-time are historically stubbornly against learning the technical bits which leaves the 1% of FW users who are code-savvy and, not surprisingly, the ones who answer 99% of the “How do I remove the underline from links?” questions.

I’m not the least bit surprised Thomas feels frustrated with the general attitude of the user-base. As a community the FWT attitude hasn’t evolved much over the years while clearly a handful of users have far outgrown the training wheels approach to building websites. But then how can the community grow when the primary audience SP markets to has typically shown very little incentive to push forward, technically?

I believe the type of technical discourse Thomas (and others) enjoy and want for FWT can not (for the most part) consistently be found here. Generally speaking most of the "real action” is being discussed elsewhere, usually by those who need (or want) to be technically engaged. Clearly that’s not the average FW user.

In my ~14 years on FWT the FW crowd has always had a stubborn, foot-dragging streak when it comes to tech stuff and it only seems to have gotten worse, sadly. It’s very difficult to overcome such deeply rooted long-standing inertia no matter how motivated the minority of tech-savvy users.

You don’t go to an apple orchard to pick oranges.

Todd

I’m sure I’m not the only one in this position.


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I meant “interest”, not incentive.

shown very little incentive to push forward


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I’m doing 2-5 projects each year, have a regular job (where design is just a small part), have one client (with several clients), am not a designer, never had any tech courses regarding web and doing my “Kimmich DigitalMedia” as a one-nose adventure behind my time!!!

So no need to argue into this direction!

All I know is, that I took “web-development” very, very serious from the very first start. Cause t’s about my clients and their visitors (billions in best case). And it’s about my name connected with the results. And wherever I sign up with “TK” it should sound like “OK”, the best I can.

If one basically starts by nil with all projects, why doing it? Quick money? Easy money? Friendly Turn?

As long as we discuss “applications”, we’ll never reach the gist of front-end development which is in my understanding:

Interaction, Communication, Authoring packed in a basic framework and flavored by some color

which can be reached with several applications. But all this have one thing in common:

Results!!!

And the results of this board are often enough close to betray, a waste of time and money for both, clients as well as “designer”.

Todd delivered a very good example:

“Removing underline from Links”

All applications have a way doing so. The better question is: Why removing it (or keeping) it. And we’ll find a nice set of arguments why keeping it or why to delete them. This is worth minding and this is a helpful discussion.

But the all-time answer on this board is: “Because client wants so”!!!

Cheers

Thomas


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But the all-time answer on this board is: “Because client wants so”!!!

I agree, it’s frustrating. But it always seems to come back to the same thing: you have to consider the audience.

I think we can agree the average FW user is a hobbyist (not a bad thing), so is it really a surprise they don’t view things with the same professional eye as you, Ernie, Walter and others here? Is it surprising they place a higher value on pointing-and-clicking than putting in the same Herculean effort Ernie does to get FW to output clean and efficient markup?

The very fact that you (and others here) even take the time to consider the pros and cons of something like underlining links is proof positive that you are in the minority on FWT. The insightful qualities that make people like you, Ernie, Walter and others such tremendous resources to FWT are the same things that make you the oddballs (in the best possible way). You are the ones swimming against the (FW) current. You guys are invested in your work in a way the average user simply is not, nor will ever be because they don’t need (or want) to be.

I applaud that you want to raise the bar of understanding on FWT and get the average user to think more about what and why they should or shouldn’t do something rather than fallback on “because the client wants it”. I get it. But I believe you also need to understand who the audience is.

If FW’s majority user-base were composed of experienced professional-level designers and devs I have absolutely no doubt you would be enjoying far more of the insightful, thought-provoking discussions you want, but that’s not the case. Instead you choose to participate in a community that is far removed from the development world, and is by all accounts quite content with that arrangement.

I’m as frustrated as you are with the general lack of evolution on FWT, but I came to realize (for myself) that it’s not fair to point fingers at the community. This is the audience SP has successfully marketed their product to, and FW and its users have long since set the tone (attitude) for their community, not my community. The fact that some of us have, for whatever reason, become more deeply invested in the Web development process than the vast majority of this community is in the end our problem (or salvation).

Around here people like you are the odd ones. So perhaps instead of trying to shift the FW mountain (mindset) to suit our perspective (an exercise in futility) it’s as simple as finding other like-minded outlets that share your professional sensibilities.

I know you are a supportive and enthusiastic FW user like so many others here, but in terms of "FW attitude” you (and a few others like Ernie etc.) couldn’t be more different from the rest of the community, and that’s a good thing in my book, but it will also be a constant source of frustration.

Todd


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On 7 Feb 2016, 6:58 pm, Todd wrote:

But the all-time answer on this board is: “Because client wants so”!!!

I agree, it’s frustrating. But it always seems to come back to the same thing: you have to consider the audience.

I do and ever did. The problem on those “hobbyists” are statements like:

Citation:

“… ok! i am all with you … but the problem! only a handful software developer accepted to work with freeway generated html and css code. No a handful is exaggerated … i do not know anybody …”

or

Citation:

“… ok! yes freeway is a great tool … for lonesome designer … the problems start with bring in cms and crm and external code or working in a team”

Blaming products, users and developers? Wolf in sheep clothing? Or simply stupid? Who knows!

Macaw is insofar a loss cause even Jeffrey Zeldman started to feature it such as:

####STOP WRITING CODE, START DRAWING IT

And I thought at that time:

Yppiehhh - thanks Jeffrey for this! I’m doing it as well - for a longer time now, unseen though!!! I’m using an application which is preserved for amateurs - damn!

Cheers

Thomas

Mr. Zeldman’s post if it is of interest: http://www.zeldman.com/2014/04/24/big-web-show-№-117-the-real-macaw-stop-writing-code-start-drawing-it/

and the cites’ original thread https://freewaytalk.softpress.com/thread/view/166376#m_166385


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The following is my reply to a different thread, never before published, written long ago and hidden away from view. I dig it out today because I think it’s still relevant. Apologies for asking you to supply the context for it.

There has always been a lot of debate in the Freeway community about whether Freeway is a tool for learning to build websites or a tool to keep from learning to build websites. I think the “hobbyist” argument is crap, because every hobbyist I’ve ever known— from stamp collectors to bird-watchers to metal dectectorists— they all without question simply know their shit. The so-called Freeway “hobbyist” argument is premised on knowing very little and not really learning much. That describes no hobby I’ve ever heard of. I’m the sodding hobbyist here.

Now, it’s true that I use Freeway professionally… to augment my income by building websites. Still, I only build 3 to 4 new websites a year this way, so it’s not like all this is supporting my private island filled with monkey-butlers.

Hobbyists may start out knowing little to nothing, but they normally just don’t stay that way. Talk to a collector, an enthusiast… a Do-It-Yourselfer. These people are informed and full of their subject. If you expect Freeway to be a crutch-- to support your resistance to learning how web pages work-- then you’re always going to be disappointed.

Why? Because just about every Freewayer-- including myself-- has at some point uttered those fateful words… “How do I do that with Freeway?


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This reminds me of how things work in the world of (American) Civil War reenacting, which is what I do why I’m not tied to my computer.

There have long been two classifications of reenactors: Those who care about authenticity, and those who don’t. The former, of which I am a part, spend many hours researching every detail of the Three M’s (Man, Method, Material) and constantly evolve their impression to fit the specific scenario on hand. If they are recreating a unit on campaign, they eat marching rations and camp with nothing more than the equipment on their back. If it is a garrison setting, they live high on the hog and dress up. They hand-sew their uniforms and wear the proper undergarments. Basically, they never quit researching and improving.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have the “mainstreamers”. These are reenactors who are more often than not there to shoot guns and have fun. They bring big ol’ tents to campaign-style events, filled with cots, coolers, and modern sleeping bags. They eat modern food, and their uniforms are made in India for next-to-nothing. By all measures, they are doing things “wrong”. However, they are still passionate about what they do — you have to be to wear heavy wool uniforms in the middle of summer while running all over a battlefield. Most of them love teaching the public about the history of the war.

Ultimately, all reenactors should be striving to improve their impression. However, there is a “weight apathy” that holds most mainstreamers in their place. Nobody wants to be the odd fish gnawing hardtack and salt pork when everyone else is slurping on ribs. I’ve been there many times, and it can be a bit demoralizing, to say the least. However, once one person decides to step up and set a good tone, it’s amazing how quickly a group can be transformed.

The most difficult thing to impart on a long-time mainstreamer is why they should care. To a large extent, it’s a chicken-and-egg problem. Unless you’ve done the research and know the right way of doing things, you won’t care about doing them the right way. Unless you’ve read the stories of the original soldiers, and befriended their stories, you won’t see why it’s important. To care, you must research, and to research, you must care.

I’ve found that the best way to encourage this care is to force the apathetic out of their comfort zone, and get them to experience what life was like for the original soldiers. I just took a group of 10 reenactors out on a 12-mile march in full campaign order (~60 lbs of gear), many of whom had never walked more than a few hundred yards in their kit. During the course of that day, I saw many lightbulbs appear over their heads, and suddenly, they began to care about the history and the stories of the original soldiers.

To bring that back to what we were talking about: I’ve often wondered how it would change the landscape of the web if everybody tried using the internet “blind” for a day, using just screen readers to navigate. How about using a cheap old display with contrast problems and horrible color reproduction? Ever throttled your internet speed at your office to match the speed of a poor 3G connection?

I’ve done those. It’s enlightening, and really causes one to think differently about our duty as people who build the web. Now, if we could only get others to try it.


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