[Pro] Small suggestion for future Freeway version

The one big thing that keeps Freeway usable for pros like me is the ability to extend and even override item styles. The trouble is, keeping track of which items have been altered through extension.

As a site grows more complex, how can I keep track of which items may need revisiting because I’ve added/altered/or overridden them? I think the answer may be as simple as an icon or an outline hint - much how FWP already operates when it comes to showing an item that has had an action applied to it. Just enough visual cue in the workspace to know “that item has been extended”.

While I would prefer giant leaps in FWP advancement which reduce extension to a more obvious form of property management, I think a smaller enhancement like this would help create a better user interface for current methods.

Let the discussion begin!


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

On 2 Jan 2014, 3:07 am, The Big Erns wrote:

The one big thing that keeps Freeway usable for pros like me is the ability to extend and even override item styles. The trouble is, keeping track of which items have been altered through extension.

So true, like herding cats sometimes :slight_smile:

As a site grows more complex, how can I keep track of which items may need revisiting because I’ve added/altered/or overridden them? I think the answer may be as simple as an icon or an outline hint - much how FWP already operates when it comes to showing an item that has had an action applied to it. Just enough visual cue in the workspace to know “that item has been extended”.

Indeed a color would be more enough for to start.

While I would prefer giant leaps in FWP advancement which reduce extension to a more obvious form of property management, I think a smaller enhancement like this would help create a better user interface for current methods.

Let the discussion begin!

There isn’t much to discuss cause you already hit the bull’s eye. All the rest would be (either this list) or a list called “The big steps into the future”.

Just a small sidestep (of my thoughts):

I stumbled upon a screencast about brackets code-editor. There is as well a cool color concept described, which could be even adopted (or thinkable) in Freeway. If you got time, have a look at:

http://www.leebrimelow.com/responsive-design-with-adobe-brackets/

Cheers

Thomas


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

Thanks, Thomas - that was a very interesting video :wink:

My reason for discussion I think was to find how others felt about this
suggestion. If more people felt labeling extended items in the workspace ui
was valuable, then maybe the developers would consider the wisdom of a
small but significant interim improvement.

Here’s an image that may help explain my case - fwy-smalladd

Freeway Pro View menu allows the user to toggle different labels off and
on. Additionally, the ui makes use of colors and icons to indicate items
that are layered, items that have actions applied to them, items which are
images, etc. FWP utilizes this approach in the visual workspace and in the
item listing of the Site/Page pane at the left. All I am proposing is an
additional label in the workspace (Extended?) and a solid color applied to
the icon in the item list. This seems like a minimal amount of work on the
developers part that would yield great benefit to intermediate and advanced
users like us who depend on the extended item feature and spend time
hunting down the items we have enhanced.

So anyone who has extended an item then had to hunt to find it again, or
had downloaded a template made by someone else and wished for an easier way
to spot these type of customizations, please weigh in and let me know what
you think. Softpress may be listening. (!)


Ernie Simpson


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

There was a time (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away) when I too wanted a similar feature. In truth this was one of the two biggest frustrations that ultimately drove me away. I think it’s an excellent idea.

Ernie, ideally how would you like to see this work? You said this is a basic solution, what do you consider a robust fix?

Todd


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

So if i could choose, I’d prefer the DIV within the construction view, so something like:

Unobtrusive and even quick clickable (for opening the context-menu). Colors discussable :slight_smile:

Cheers

Thomas


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

Ernie, ideally how would you like to see this work? You said this is a
basic solution, what do you consider a robust fix?

That’s an interesting question. I just had another user pm me to ask why I
spend so much time extending things… here’s part of my reply:

I’ve been extending stuff for so long that I could probably go on the way
I am now… but I am asking myself “why” a lot more than I used to.

For the most part, I’m Extending items because:

 1. FWP doesn’t support certain properties, but should.
 2. FWP doesn't support certain units, but should.

Oddly enough, these are the same reasons for most of the style Extensions
I make as well.

So the first BIG change I would make is to expand the support for unit
types. I’d make px the default, but when a user types em or rem, let the
user have their way with it. Users don’t need protection from themselves -
that is not the developer’s problem. Devs need to understand that users
grow, users adapt, so the ui must present options for growing adapting
users. Options, not barriers.

The next BIG change should be the Inspector - that just needs to evolve.
Ergonomically, the horizontal nature of it is tiresome - parts that I use
frequently are always on different panes, requiring me to click
back-and-forth to exhaustion. An interface that could be user-arranged or
perhaps pop-out Adobe-like would be nice… in fact, I think the Freeway Pro
UI team would benefit from spending more time with the Illustrator/inDesign
interface (I’m thinking of the traditional right-hand stack of controls). I
was truly impressed with the Inspector update in v6 of Freeway Pro, which
added some different options for dimension and position - but is only a
first step to transforming the usefulness of the current Inspector. I don’t
have a ready-list of controls to add, but I think saying the ui needs to
reflect that FWP is a web-design app is a start.

Where SP is going with FWP has always been a secret, for whatever reason.
If they are not making any giant steps soon, then I’d hope my suggestions
for improvement under the current limits of development would be considered.


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

That’s great Thomas - more than satisfactory to me (in the absence of major
UI improvements).

Thomas Kimmich wrote:

So if i could choose, I’d prefer the DIV within the construction view, so
something like:

Artwork-20140102-200222.png

Unobtrusive and even quick clickable (for opening the context-menu).
Colors discussable :slight_smile:

Cheers

Thomas


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

[Laughs] I find that an interesting question.

Unless you’re building the most basic of sites I would ask, “How could you not need to extend styles?” But that’s me.

Todd

That’s an interesting question. I just had another user pm me to ask why I
spend so much time extending things


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

I think that the reason why you need to “get out and push” so often is because CSS and HTML have evolved quite a lot recently, and Freeway hasn’t had time to adopt all the newer goodies.

Also because there is a driving force to have the interface remain visually uncomplicated so as to make it accessible to the new designer.

I would posit that nobody these days comes to Freeway entirely unsure of what HTML or CSS is – it’s in everything these days. I was teaching at the university level about ten years ago, and the designers then were required to take a basic HTML course in their second year. I have no idea what they do now, but I can’t imagine they stopped offering the course, or didn’t make it deeper over the years.

If Freeway is to be a Pro tool, for professional designers, we do need to take the training wheels off, and we do need to make sure that the labels on the controls match up with what you might find while “googling” for a way to do [whatever] with CSS. It does nobody any favors to have to mentally translate “leading” into “line-height” or back again.

If Freeway Express is to be the tool for mom-n-pop shop owners to make a Web site for their business in their spare time, then by all means, let us have fewer, more-simply-labeled options. Please. And then point out that Pro is for pros, who are expected to have a clue or two.

Walter

On Jan 2, 2014, at 2:15 PM, Todd wrote:

[Laughs] I find that an interesting question.

Unless you’re building the most basic of sites I would ask, “How could you not need to extend styles?” But that’s me.

Todd
http://xiiro.com

That’s an interesting question. I just had another user pm me to ask why I
spend so much time extending things


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

Yes, yes, absolutely yes!

Regarding leading/line-height I have never … n-e-v-e-r understood the reasoning for that naming convention. Yes, I get the DTP reference, but why? (rhetorical)

Todd

If Freeway is to be a Pro tool, for professional designers, we do need to take the training wheels off, and we do need to make sure that the labels on the controls match up with what you might find while “googling” for a way to do [whatever] with CSS. It does nobody any favors to have to mentally translate “leading” into “line-height” or back again.

If Freeway Express is to be the tool for mom-n-pop shop owners to make a Web site for their business in their spare time, then by all means, let us have fewer, more-simply-labeled options. Please. And then point out that Pro is for pros, who are expected to have a clue or two.


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

Wow, there are a lot of really good thoughts throughout this thread.

First, I agree with Ernie that there needs to be some easy way to identify items that have been extended. I find myself using the extended dialog more and more often, either to class an item up for ‘responsivising’ or because I want to use a newer CSS property or unit.

The biggest thing that keeps pushing me away from Freeway is the fact that there is no good way to use many of the new CSS3 properties. I was very excited to see box-shadow finally make it in when 6 was released, but what about the others? I can see why Softpress would be hesitant to include some of these newer properties, as the browser support is only partial, and people who aren’t in the ‘know’ would find it confusing to have something work in Safari, but not in IE9.

One possible solution to this would be to alert the user of any browser incompatibilities in an unobtrusive manner, based on the browser support setting in the document setup. If any of you have used Hype, you know what I’m talking about. If I used the new hyphenation CSS property, and have the browser compatibility for the site set to IE8, there should be an alert which notifies me that the property won’t work in IE10 and down. Then, it’s up to me to find a fallback or just consider it graceful degradation.

In the long haul, I would basically like to see Freeway become more “Pro” and more “web”. I feel like Freeway is hindered by its DTP background and the principal of insulating the user from HTML and CSS. I also think that Freeway’s existing target audience (graphic designers who might want to create a website here-and-there) is quickly diminishing.

In the not-quite-so-long term, I feel a recreation of the inspector is due. The changes in 6 were great, but I think it needs far more love than it has been given. I don’t know what it would look like, but it would need to place a greater emphasis on using declared styles and far easier extension.

We’ll see. It’s an exciting time for the web.


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

To quote Todd: Yes, yes, absolutely yes! Walter, you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head.

If Freeway is to be a Pro tool, for professional designers, we do need to take the training wheels off, and we do need to make sure that the labels on the controls match up with what you might find while “googling” for a way to do [whatever] with CSS. It does nobody any favors to have to mentally translate “leading” into “line-height” or back again.

If Freeway Express is to be the tool for mom-n-pop shop owners to make a Web site for their business in their spare time, then by all means, let us have fewer, more-simply-labeled options. Please. And then point out that Pro is for pros, who are expected to have a clue or two.


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

WebCode http://www.webcodeapp.com (an outrageously cool app) does something very similar that’s both unobtrusive and incredibly useful. A FW version would be great.

Todd

One possible solution to this would be to alert the user of any browser incompatibilities in an unobtrusive manner, based on the browser support setting in the document setup.


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

… which will mean the golden future?

Don’t think so. HTML won’t require a “universal” half-year study anymore so the key-visual design could be a relict - probably.

I’d prefer to go on with this discussion (with all the great inputs in here btw) on a more familiar off-competitors and ignorants way.

Or fire at will?

Cheers

Thomas


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

I think when it comes to a more adaptive FWP the problem - from my perspective - has been and continues to be a certain degree of reluctance by SP to add features they deem the majority of their users don’t care about or need. It seems a sort of misguided belief that by doing so they would be neglecting the needs of their target customer, the same customer that has helped build the company. Of course, as you’ve pointed out people grow and evolve and that includes many long time FW users. Still, if you’re SP why risk the bread-n-butter for the minority user? (I’m not defending it, btw) And yes, in terms of technical skill with FWP you and those like you are the minority.

But you know, that’s just how it looks from my window on the world, I could very well be wrong. I think you have great suggestions and I hope they do find their way into the app sooner rather than later. Besides, I’m not sure how much “later” is left for FW given the changing landscape.

Todd

So the first BIG change I would make is to expand the support for unit
types. I’d make px the default, but when a user types em or rem, let the
user have their way with it. Users don’t need protection from themselves -
that is not the developer’s problem. Devs need to understand that users
grow, users adapt, so the ui must present options for growing adapting
users. Options, not barriers.


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

On 3 Jan 2014, 10:32 pm, Todd wrote:

… if you’re SP why risk the bread-n-butter for the minority user? (I’m not defending it, btw) And yes, in terms of technical skill with FWP you and those like you are the minority.

Indeed, but what about some unobtrusive (or even hidden) “pro-helpers” that doesn’t affect the workflow of the majority?
Til years, I fight for losing guys like you that could be helpful for an entire community, but only if you are in.

… and I hope they do find their way into the app sooner rather than later. Besides, I’m not sure how much “later” is left for FW given the changing landscape.

Simply like to double this. There are “great” suggestions but who knows the core of our app?

Cheers

Thomas


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options

Yes, that’s another good suggestion, Thomas.

Ernie has mentioned more than once about his frustration with how tight-lipped SP is regarding FW’s direction, or perhaps the perceived lack of focus. I do see his point, there is a sense of floundering.

Ernie’s suggestions along with yours Thomas, as well as those of other long-time FW users are, I think, born of practical real-world needs. The difference being, the devs of Macaw - unlike SP - not only hear what modern designers and developers are asking for they appear to recognize our needs and are actively embracing a change to the status quo in their product. To me a forward-thinking company that actually seems willing to address my needs is more likely to - as Ernie put it - “adapt” or evolve with me, and that is much more appealing and is more likely to get my $.

You guys have great ideas for making FW more usable, no question about it. I wish you the best in making those suggestions a reality.

Todd

Indeed, but what about some unobtrusive (or even hidden) “pro-helpers” that doesn’t affect the workflow of the majority?
Til years, I fight for losing guys like you that could be helpful for an entire community, but only if you are in.


freewaytalk mailing list
email@hidden
Update your subscriptions at:
http://freewaytalk.net/person/options