Scrutinizing SPARKLE (Freeway alternative)

@JDW
point 9: You just click in th eupper menu ‘More’ and you’ll find
‘Navigation and forms’. There’s an option to make a button and style it as
you want with ‘Style’.
point 10: There must be ofcourse something to align with. If you draw a
rectangle (full width) and select your button too and click ‘centre’ it
works fine. The button is centered then.

Andries

2016-07-25 7:24 GMT+02:00 Carl Anselm email@hidden:

Hi James!
Thanks for the preview.
Although not very well researched.
For example, the thing with the preview:
You do not need to press 100x eyeball, sparkle has a live preview.
For the alignment of elements there are intelligent guides!
Best
Carl


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@ JDW
point 14. Importing an image is easy. You can indeed drag & drop or just
click on the image button in the upper menu. A rectangle shows on your page
and on the right you can easy import an image by the ‘ADD IMAGE’ button,
style it, animate it…
Just like Freeway does, only less import formats.

You can also see if the resolution is good enough for retina and highres
displays.

Perhaps you should read the documentation first so you will get less
frustrated? :wink:
Or is it because you use the free and limited version?

Sparkle is just on version 2. Freeway is 7. You can’t compare them as
equals, they do fullfill different needs. And there are a lot of noncoders
who appreciate a more lightweight peace of software like Sparkle as an
alternative. I think 80% of the issues in FreewayTalk discussed received
the answer to add more or less code. Nothing wrong with it, but that wasn’t
one of Freeways big selling points.

Andries

2016-07-25 15:04 GMT+02:00 email@hidden:

@JDW
point 9: You just click in th eupper menu ‘More’ and you’ll find
‘Navigation and forms’. There’s an option to make a button and style it as
you want with ‘Style’.
point 10: There must be ofcourse something to align with. If you draw a
rectangle (full width) and select your button too and click ‘centre’ it
works fine. The button is centered then.

Andries

2016-07-25 7:24 GMT+02:00 Carl Anselm email@hidden:

Hi James!
Thanks for the preview.
Although not very well researched.
For example, the thing with the preview:
You do not need to press 100x eyeball, sparkle has a live preview.
For the alignment of elements there are intelligent guides!
Best
Carl


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Hi James, I’m a cofounder/codeveloper of Sparkle. Thanks for looking at Sparkle and for the honest review.

I empathize with you in the frustration you’re finding in using Sparkle. Sorry about that, we do regard these issues as UI bugs and definitely want to improve and polish Sparkle more.

That said, the web has changed a lot in the last 10-15 years, techniques change, skills become obsolete. Best practices for creating a high performance and backwards compatible site make the “fast path” very narrow, and having a visual editor for site and element properties makes it much easier to express intent, helping Sparkle produce the most efficient code.

Also we have the goal to deliver a truly visual website builder, which explains HTML embedding being relatively underdeveloped. That also means that what Sparkle doesn’t currently support has to wait for a later version.

The preview is live in Sparkle, so you don’t actually need to open/close it all the time, it updates in real time as you edit the Sparkle document. We definitely should support the workflow you are used to, and add a shortcut.

Sparkle’s favicon editor actually creates 15 different images for different platforms and devices, I guess putting it in an HTML block is something you need to unlearn?

I’m surprised the “Add” button in the image inspector wasn’t easy to find, perhaps we need to rethink the UI in that area. Speaking of images, Sparkle by default generates 1x/2x for each device, and in 2.1 most likely will also generate webp’s in addition to jpegs, so a typical multi layout document would produce 20 images, wrapped in a element, based on the single one you import. It would be possible to make it overridable and allow entering individual images, but kind of cumbersome.

Text as squiggles are a sort of default wireframe/draft look, though the lorem ipsum is a single button click in the text inspector.

A full review takes time, so perhaps looking at what can be done with Sparkle can help, for example on http://sparklecafe.com or the responsive sites featured on our home page, http://lioneldarian.com and http://davidpuckett.com — build entirely visually.

While Sparkle isn’t for everybody, it is great for visual thinkers and people who don’t want to tinker with code. We’re a tiny company and harsh reviews definitely harm us, and frankly there are so many alternatives that it boggles my mind that anyone would take a firm “no” stance, more like “not for me”?

Anyway, we’re super passionate about our product and very responsive, test me :slight_smile:

Duncan


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Anyway, we’re super passionate about our product and very responsive, test me smiley

I can attest to that. I’ve communicated with Duncan and found him very accommodating.


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Caleb, I think your post is the most enlightening of all. Not sure if I want “fake Responsive.” And since Sparkle presently doesn’t offer “genuine Responsive,” that would rule out Sparkle for a lot of people.


marka, thanks for your comments. Haven’t had time to get out your YouTube link but when I do I will comment again on that.


Carl A, you say my 21 points are “not well researched” but then only cite one issue. 1 bad boy out of 21 indicates pretty good research to me! :slight_smile:


Andries, I fail to see your point about my own Point #9. I know how to create a button, as I already said. I know it is styled in the Style tab, as I had already said. But the point of Point#9 is that there is no TITLE TEXT (not that my poor eyes can see) within the “Style” tab. Perhaps you don’t understand what TITLE TEXT is. TITLE TEXT is text that appears when you hover over something. It’s like a tooltip. I can create that in Freeway, and I explained how previously. I simply don’t see a way to accomplish that in Sparkle. Now, if you can do that, please guide me. Sometimes I need handholding.

Regarding your critique of my Point #10, I would argue that those icons should be contextual in nature, and to understand that, open up Adobe Illustrator. Don’t have it? Well, then just trust me. In Illustrator, I don’t see the Align icons until I draw something. I can then draw JUST ONE OBJECT, and the Align icons appear. Why? Because Illustrator is in many ways a brilliantly crafted app. You can ALIGN TO THE PAGE! Ha ha! So you see, you don’t really need more than one object selected to make Align icons appear. Sparkle falls flat on that point, in my opinion, by showing those icons all the time when most of the time they are dead and cannot do anything. That’s not intuitive design.

Regarding your critique of my Point #14, your critique is well taken. I have noted that I am able to get an import dialog via the Style tab, when clicking the Add button. There is no menu command for that, however, nor is there any keyboard shortcut. So I would still say there is something lacking. Even so, thank you for point out the fact that the Add button yields the sought after image import dialog.

As to your critique of my not having read the documentation first, I reject all such criticism. I discovered Freeway 2 in 1999 and fell in love immediately. Why? Because I didn’t have to pick up a manual to learn it. I only start consulting the manuals later when I really got into the thick of things with very intricate designs and when I was trying to get the most of the program. In my Sparkle preview, I am just glancing at the basics of what anyone would want to do. Think of MacPaint on a Macintosh 128k back in 1984. Yes, when I was 13, I had one of those. I never consulted a manual. It just worked. Sure, Sparkle is more complex than MacPaint. But arguably, Freeway 2 was more complex than Sparkle! I am big on “intuitive UI’s.” Some people hate me for that, must like they hated and misunderstood Steve Jobs when he harped on a point. But the fact is, a super simple UI for dummies is the right approach to help common, every day people like me. The geniuses out there always win. They always “just get it.” They love reading manuals too. But not everyone is a genius. That’s what has always made the Macintosh itself so great. It’s for regular people. That’s what magnetically attracts me to apps which I can use right away without having to consult documentation for the most basic tasks.

With that said, I am still giving Sparkle a fair shake. I will read the documentation. A gentleman kindly wrote me an email off list to show me where it is too:

http://sparkle.cx/docs/index.html

But sadly, there is no keyword search feature! Would have been better if they offered us a PDF, because at least then we could search the documentation.

It doesn’t matter if Sparkle is version 1, version 2 or version 26 in that we Freeway users are beginning to explore ALL ALTERNATIVES TO FREEWAY right now. If an app doesn’t look ready now, and if it looks like it probably won’t be ready a year hence, then we probably aren’t going to be very smart if we go with that alternative. Indeed, it wouldn’t be a good “alternative” at all to Freeway. Hence, we are now evaluating Sparkle on its merits for what it does now, right or wrong. If it gets better over the next year great, but we must be realistic about our expectations. I am not bashing Sparkle or its user base by saying this. It is merely a factual observation based in sound reason.

Thank you for your thoughts, Andries. They really got my mind churning today!


Duncan, I am humbled and grateful that you made the time to reply such detailed thoughts here in this thread. I feel your input will be very helpful in assisting our Freeway community about which direction they should turn in their quest for a Freeway replacement.

Once again, I may sound “highly critical” to some people, but I have no animosity toward Sparkle or you or any of the fine engineers who put it together. I merely gave it a quick “once over” and took notes as I used the Trial. I fully expected people to reply back in this thread and educate me on points where I was mistaken, and argue with me about the merits of Sparkle. That’s why I actually appreciate comments like those of Andries, because he is defending Sparkle on its merits. That makes me think more deeply about Sparkle. And thinking deeply about our Freeway replacement is critically important.

The only question I really have for you at this point is about what Caleb Grove said earlier in this thread. Caleb is rather well known in the Freeway community for his efforts in making Responsive Design easier in Freeway. You can see his sites here:

http://calebgrove.com/articles/introducing-backdraft

http://calebgrove.com/articles/responsive-images

As you can see from his earlier post in this thread, he is arguing that Sparkle presently does not create truly Responsive web sites in that Percent-widths are not used in Sparkle. As such, Mr. Grove feels that Sparkle won’t ever be a Freeway replacement for some people. But I myself never was able to get my head around how to create a truly Responsive (%-widths and all) site in Freeway, even with Mr. Groves excellent Backdraft, so I am scrutinizing potential Freeway replacement apps with that need in mind. Meaning, whatever web design app I ultimately choose to replace Freeway, I want the power to create a fully responsive site (using %-widths) that will be sufficient for me now, and sufficient for the foreseeable future. And I would like of course to be able to accomplish that in a very intuitive, user-friendly UI. I see a lot of user friendliness in Sparkle, which is why I choose it first to do an overview.

So, Duncan, if you have time, I would certainly appreciate hearing your thoughts on the issue of Responsive Design and %-widths in the context of what Mr. Grove wrote. I think your reply would be helpful not only for myself but for other Freeway users here who are like-minded with me.

Best wishes,

James Wages


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James,

To further explain what I was saying, here is a responsive Sparkle test: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/55769872/sparkle-test/index.html

Try resizing your browser and you will see how it works. There is no flex in the layout — just multiple fixed-width breakpoints.


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Caleb,

Again, thanks for your help with my freeway site.

One more question! Or, one more question? It’s a philosophical one, I’m afraid.

Is the problem with fixed break points that the pages will be perfect in some devices (where the break points line up) but slightly too small in others?

In my iPad (I have a flip phone so that’s out!) I can resize text, or photos, or other stuff to fit the window with a tap of the screen. Isn’t the combination of fixed break points with the abilty to resize windows enough to overcome the limitations of not doing a percentage based layout?

In freeway, I just assumed that was the case, though recognized that a “fully responsive” site was going to be better I didn’t think it was necessarily much, much better.

It might be my age, or that I prefer books (and I’m sincere in thinking that might be part of my esthetic bias) but I’ve never liked sites where everything was 100% of the width of the screen. I just don’t like the look, but if I have two columns that means that there has to be a point where the items are repositioned at some break point.

There is no doubt you prefer, and make sites which are fully responsive. But what do you think I am really sacrificing by sticking with the freeway/Sparkle approach?

I’d love to hear!

Thanks again, Caleb. And everyone else.

Mark


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Hi James, I appreciate that you’re trying to figure out Sparkle in more detail.

Let me try to dissect the responsive issue. The very wide definition is the page will have a layout that’s optimized for the device. Now there are different ways to do that, for example the server can detect the visiting device (apple.com used to do this, maybe still does), or the page can use some JavaScript to determine the browser width and either redirect to the appropriate page (some website builders do this) or manipulate the page with JavaScript (many web apps do this).

Finally there’s media queries, which are the acceptable solution to switch layouts according to the narrow RWD definition. Sparkle indeed uses media queries.

Next there’s how each layout is built. Each layout can be either fixed width or fluid, and one way to do fluid is % based. The narrow RWD definition is the layouts should be fluid. Sparkle switches fixed layouts, so it doesn’t (currently) adhere to the narrowest RWD definition.

Why did we choose this route? The problem with fluid layouts is it’s really hard to get right.

If you go with a completely manual fluid layout, text is reflowed and for example orphan words are a common occurrence (for example http://macaw.co shows it with just the right browser width). In general they are hideously complex to get just right. Even professionally built sites have edge cases of overlapping content and broken layout. Nothing wrong about going with this approach, if skill/time/budget allows.

The other option is to use a framework that takes care of the fluid layout, like say bootstrap, and a three column block collapses down to two and one. That’s fine but has the downside of having a bit of a canned look with predefined rules on how it should change across devices, and it’s not really custom design as much as throwing text and images into a pre-defined layout. Some people are into this and it’s fine.

In Sparke we have currently opted for fixed layouts because coming from a print background it’s immediately understandable, the layout switch is predictable and for all practical purposes when you have all layouts enabled the site doesn’t have much non-designable space anywhere. Additionally some elements are full page width, stretching from edge to edge.

I think it would be unfair to characterize Sparkle’s support of responsive as “fake”, but hey everybody is entitled to an opinion, just don’t overlook the facts.

We are currently working on improving how Sparkle assists in creating layouts beyond the one you initially design, and adding more elements that support full page width.

Regarding responsive images, as mentioned previously, Sparkle is using the most advanced technique of any website builder, creating different size and pixel density images for all devices, wrapped in a picture element. This means Safari 9.3+ and Chrome 51+ will load the correct asset only, right away, without wasting a byte on unneeded or incorrectly sized images. Sparkle also directly supports SVGs, which are scalable across devices.

All this is way more technical than the average Sparkle user would be interested in, they do need to trust us to make the best decision.

Point taken on alignment icons, they are unclear. Not that Adobe UIs are stellar, but we can improve.

I don’t understand the TITLE TEXT thing. Is it a commonly used web pattern? Doesn’t look like it.

The problem with intuitive UIs is, as they say, the only intuitive UI is the nipple, everything else is learned. Personally I found the Freeway UI inscrutable. Can you make the leap between different apps? Maybe it requires some patience.

Thanks,
Duncan

Il giorno 26 lug 2016, alle ore 02:58, JDW email@hidden ha scritto:

Caleb, I think your post is the most enlightening of all. Not sure if I want “fake Responsive.” And since Sparkle presently doesn’t offer “genuine Responsive,” that would rule out Sparkle for a lot of people.


marka, thanks for your comments. Haven’t had time to get out your YouTube link but when I do I will comment again on that.


Carl A, you say my 21 points are “not well researched” but then only cite one issue. 1 bad boy out of 21 indicates pretty good research to me! :slight_smile:


Andries, I fail to see your point about my own Point #9. I know how to create a button, as I already said. I know it is styled in the Style tab, as I had already said. But the point of Point#9 is that there is no TITLE TEXT (not that my poor eyes can see) within the “Style” tab. Perhaps you don’t understand what TITLE TEXT is. TITLE TEXT is text that appears when you hover over something. It’s like a tooltip. I can create that in Freeway, and I explained how previously. I simply don’t see a way to accomplish that in Sparkle. Now, if you can do that, please guide me. Sometimes I need handholding.

Regarding your critique of my Point #10, I would argue that those icons should be contextual in nature, and to understand that, open up Adobe Illustrator. Don’t have it? Well, then just trust me. In Illustrator, I don’t see the Align icons until I draw something. I can then draw JUST ONE OBJECT, and the Align icons appear. Why? Because Illustrator is in many ways a brilliantly crafted app. You can ALIGN TO THE PAGE! Ha ha! So you see, you don’t really need more than one object selected to make Align icons appear. Sparkle falls flat on that point, in my opinion, by showing those icons all the time when most of the time they are dead and cannot do anything. That’s not intuitive design.

Regarding your critique of my Point #14, your critique is well taken. I have noted that I am able to get an import dialog via the Style tab, when clicking the Add button. There is no menu command for that, however, nor is there any keyboard shortcut. So I would still say there is something lacking. Even so, thank you for point out the fact that the Add button yields the sought after image import dialog.

As to your critique of my not having read the documentation first, I reject all such criticism. I discovered Freeway 2 in 1999 and fell in love immediately. Why? Because I didn’t have to pick up a manual to learn it. I only start consulting the manuals later when I really got into the thick of things with very intricate designs and when I was trying to get the most of the program. In my Sparkle preview, I am just glancing at the basics of what anyone would want to do. Think of MacPaint on a Macintosh 128k back in 1984. Yes, when I was 13, I had one of those. I never consulted a manual. It just worked. Sure, Sparkle is more complex than MacPaint. But arguably, Freeway 2 was more complex than Sparkle! I am big on “intuitive UI’s.” Some people hate me for that, must like they hated and misunderstood Steve Jobs when he harped on a point. But the fact is, a super simple UI for dummies is the right approach to help common, every day people like me. The geniuses out there always win. They always “just get it.” They love reading manuals too. But not everyone is a genius. That’s what has always made the Macintosh itself so great. It’s for regular people. That’s what magnetically attracts me to apps which I can use right away without having to consult documentation for the most basic tasks.

With that said, I am still giving Sparkle a fair shake. I will read the documentation. A gentleman kindly wrote me an email off list to show me where it is too:

Sparkle Docs

But sadly, there is no keyword search feature! Would have been better if they offered us a PDF, because at least then we could search the documentation.

It doesn’t matter if Sparkle is version 1, version 2 or version 26 in that we Freeway users are beginning to explore ALL ALTERNATIVES TO FREEWAY right now. If an app doesn’t look ready now, and if it looks like it probably won’t be ready a year hence, then we probably aren’t going to be very smart if we go with that alternative. Indeed, it wouldn’t be a good “alternative” at all to Freeway. Hence, we are now evaluating Sparkle on its merits for what it does now, right or wrong. If it gets better over the next year great, but we must be realistic about our expectations. I am not bashing Sparkle or its user base by saying this. It is merely a factual observation based in sound reason.

Thank you for your thoughts, Andries. They really got my mind churning today!


Duncan, I am humbled and grateful that you made the time to reply such detailed thoughts here in this thread. I feel your input will be very helpful in assisting our Freeway community about which direction they should turn in their quest for a Freeway replacement.

Once again, I may sound “highly critical” to some people, but I have no animosity toward Sparkle or you or any of the fine engineers who put it together. I merely gave it a quick “once over” and took notes as I used the Trial. I fully expected people to reply back in this thread and educate me on points where I was mistaken, and argue with me about the merits of Sparkle. That’s why I actually appreciate comments like those of Andries, because he is defending Sparkle on its merits. That makes me think more deeply about Sparkle. And thinking deeply about our Freeway replacement is critically important.

The only question I really have for you at this point is about what Caleb Grove said earlier in this thread. Caleb is rather well known in the Freeway community for his efforts in making Responsive Design easier in Freeway. You can see his sites here:

http://calebgrove.com/articles/introducing-backdraft

http://calebgrove.com/articles/responsive-images

As you can see from his earlier post in this thread, he is arguing that Sparkle presently does not create truly Responsive web sites in that Percent-widths are not used in Sparkle. As such, Mr. Grove feels that Sparkle won’t ever be a Freeway replacement for some people. But I myself never was able to get my head around how to create a truly Responsive (%-widths and all) site in Freeway, even with Mr. Groves excellent Backdraft, so I am scrutinizing potential Freeway replacement apps with that need in mind. Meaning, whatever web design app I ultimately choose to replace Freeway, I want the power to create a fully responsive site (using %-widths) that will be sufficient for me now, and sufficient for the foreseeable future. And I would like of course to be able to accomplish that in a very intuitive, user-friendly UI. I see a lot of user friendliness in Sparkle, which is why I choose it first to do an overview.

So, Duncan, if you have time, I would certainly appreciate hearing your thoughts on the issue of Responsive Design and %-widths in the context of what Mr. Grove wrote. I think your reply would be helpful not only for myself but for other Freeway users here who are like-minded with me.

Best wishes,

James Wages


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I’ve looked at Sparkle in the past - I actually have a copy of version 2. However, it seems to be lacking for my needs. I can’t place PHP in the layout easily. The option doesn’t really do what I need.

I also find that if I use JavaScript to create content (simulating content of unknown size to be pulled from a database) that it won’t push elements down the page, they just overlap.

Both issues that Freeway had (actually, still have), but both overcome by Actions.

So while Sparkle is still on my HD, it’s not going to be taking over from Freeway any time soon.


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Paul, we actually added that option for the next version of Sparkle. The tricky part is iframes with a 100% height (not officially standardized, but used) will collapse unless the containing element has a fixed height. We have added a checkbox to the embed element to allow for the content to expand vertically, it was needed to embed the shopping cart of ecwid.com for a client.

Duncan


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@JDW
Your answer:
“Regarding your critique of my Point #10, I would argue that those icons
should be contextual in nature, and to understand that, open up Adobe
Illustrator. Don’t have it? Well, then just trust me. In Illustrator, I
don’t see the Align icons until I draw something. I can then draw JUST ONE
OBJECT, and the Align icons appear. Why? Because Illustrator is in many
ways a brilliantly crafted app. You can ALIGN TO THE PAGE! Ha ha! So you
see, you don’t really need more than one object selected to make Align
icons appear. Sparkle falls flat on that point, in my opinion, by showing
those icons all the time when most of the time they are dead and cannot do
anything. That’s not intuitive design”

I use Illustrator for decades. I’ve tried to align ONE single object on a
blank artboard and tried to align it… but nope. Nothing happens.
I see there’s an option for ‘centre tot artboard’, but again nothing
happens. Only with more objects. Guide me if you will James.

Normally if I want to centre a single object on the page I choose
and . Presto.

In Sparkle, any new object is placed in the centre of the page/workspace.
And then, at every movement, a green guideline shows up along the gridlines
and spaces or along other objects. More objects will align as should. I
wouldn’t know what I should be missing, sorry.

Andries

2016-07-26 17:44 GMT+02:00 Paul email@hidden:

I’ve looked at Sparkle in the past - I actually have a copy of version 2.
However, it seems to be lacking for my needs. I can’t place PHP in the
layout easily. The option doesn’t really do what I need.

I also find that if I use JavaScript to create content (simulating content
of unknown size to be pulled from a database) that it won’t push elements
down the page, they just overlap.

Both issues that Freeway had (actually, still have), but both overcome by
Actions.

So while Sparkle is still on my HD, it’s not going to be taking over from
Freeway any time soon.


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@JDW

Andries, I fail to see your point (… ) But the point of Point#9 is
that there is no TITLE TEXT (not that my poor eyes can see) within the
“Style” tab. Perhaps you don’t understand what TITLE TEXT is. TITLE TEXT
is text that appears when you hover over something. It’s like a tooltip.
I can create that in Freeway, and I explained how previously. I simply
don’t see a way to accomplish that in Sparkle. Now, if you can do that,
please guide me. Sometimes I need handholding.

Hi James. I know what TITLE TEXT is. But I also know what ALT(ERNATIVE)
TEXT is. At least in FW, in the Inspector. That text is after input a kind
of tooltip when making a graphic object (like a button) and hoovering above
it.
The only thing I think it’s usefull for, is visually impaired people, so
their computer can speak out that text, like ‘Photo Ibiza’, when hoovering
over a photo of Ibiza.
But I normally switch it off, because I don’t want to show ‘Item 1’,
‘item2’ when visitors hoovering above simple boxes which I didn’t give a
name.

Sparkle doesn’t show Alt text besides the button Title. You’re right.
Perhaps you use it with an other purpose?

Andries

2016-07-26 20:32 GMT+02:00 email@hidden:

@JDW
Your answer:
“Regarding your critique of my Point #10, I would argue that those icons
should be contextual in nature, and to understand that, open up Adobe
Illustrator. Don’t have it? Well, then just trust me. In Illustrator, I
don’t see the Align icons until I draw something. I can then draw JUST ONE
OBJECT, and the Align icons appear. Why? Because Illustrator is in many
ways a brilliantly crafted app. You can ALIGN TO THE PAGE! Ha ha! So you
see, you don’t really need more than one object selected to make Align
icons appear. Sparkle falls flat on that point, in my opinion, by showing
those icons all the time when most of the time they are dead and cannot do
anything. That’s not intuitive design”

I use Illustrator for decades. I’ve tried to align ONE single object on a
blank artboard and tried to align it… but nope. Nothing happens.
I see there’s an option for ‘centre tot artboard’, but again nothing
happens. Only with more objects. Guide me if you will James.

Normally if I want to centre a single object on the page I choose
and . Presto.

In Sparkle, any new object is placed in the centre of the page/workspace.
And then, at every movement, a green guideline shows up along the gridlines
and spaces or along other objects. More objects will align as should. I
wouldn’t know what I should be missing, sorry.

Andries

2016-07-26 17:44 GMT+02:00 Paul email@hidden:

I’ve looked at Sparkle in the past - I actually have a copy of version
2. However, it seems to be lacking for my needs. I can’t place PHP in the
layout easily. The option doesn’t really do what I need.

I also find that if I use JavaScript to create content (simulating
content of unknown size to be pulled from a database) that it won’t push
elements down the page, they just overlap.

Both issues that Freeway had (actually, still have), but both overcome by
Actions.

So while Sparkle is still on my HD, it’s not going to be taking over from
Freeway any time soon.


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@JDW
I agree with you about manuals. I always read them when I first intuitive
inspected the program. Like all Apple users I do think haha.
And then, when it becomes ‘thick’, I began reading, only about the issue I
encounter,

15 years ago I discovered Freeway. Next to Golive and Dreamweaver it was a
releave and a small step to fall in love with after using Xpress or
Indesign. DTP for the web was born, hip hip hurray!
But count those many issues in Freewaytalk the last two years, without
actual manuals, tutorials or great help from nice people like Walter, Max,
Dave, Thomas, Tim etc., Freeway isn’t Freeway anymore. New starters get
completely lost with the lack of good tuts. And they choosed FW because of
the ‘none coding’ statement.

So I appreciate Sparkle, Blocs, Everweb and more for their approach to make
our weblive simpler, with more time to design instead of solving weird
issues.
Freeway did that for us in the past. It’s really sad that they get lost in
the future.

Andries

2016-07-26 20:49 GMT+02:00 email@hidden:

@JDW

Andries, I fail to see your point (… ) But the point of Point#9 is
that there is no TITLE TEXT (not that my poor eyes can see) within the
“Style” tab. Perhaps you don’t understand what TITLE TEXT is. TITLE TEXT
is text that appears when you hover over something. It’s like a tooltip.
I can create that in Freeway, and I explained how previously. I simply
don’t see a way to accomplish that in Sparkle. Now, if you can do that,
please guide me. Sometimes I need handholding.

Hi James. I know what TITLE TEXT is. But I also know what ALT(ERNATIVE)
TEXT is. At least in FW, in the Inspector. That text is after input a kind
of tooltip when making a graphic object (like a button) and hoovering above
it.
The only thing I think it’s usefull for, is visually impaired people, so
their computer can speak out that text, like ‘Photo Ibiza’, when hoovering
over a photo of Ibiza.
But I normally switch it off, because I don’t want to show ‘Item 1’,
‘item2’ when visitors hoovering above simple boxes which I didn’t give a
name.

Sparkle doesn’t show Alt text besides the button Title. You’re right.
Perhaps you use it with an other purpose?

Andries

2016-07-26 20:32 GMT+02:00 email@hidden:

@JDW
Your answer:
“Regarding your critique of my Point #10, I would argue that those icons
should be contextual in nature, and to understand that, open up Adobe
Illustrator. Don’t have it? Well, then just trust me. In Illustrator, I
don’t see the Align icons until I draw something. I can then draw JUST ONE
OBJECT, and the Align icons appear. Why? Because Illustrator is in many
ways a brilliantly crafted app. You can ALIGN TO THE PAGE! Ha ha! So you
see, you don’t really need more than one object selected to make Align
icons appear. Sparkle falls flat on that point, in my opinion, by showing
those icons all the time when most of the time they are dead and cannot do
anything. That’s not intuitive design”

I use Illustrator for decades. I’ve tried to align ONE single object on a
blank artboard and tried to align it… but nope. Nothing happens.
I see there’s an option for ‘centre tot artboard’, but again nothing
happens. Only with more objects. Guide me if you will James.

Normally if I want to centre a single object on the page I choose
and . Presto.

In Sparkle, any new object is placed in the centre of the page/workspace.
And then, at every movement, a green guideline shows up along the gridlines
and spaces or along other objects. More objects will align as should. I
wouldn’t know what I should be missing, sorry.

Andries

2016-07-26 17:44 GMT+02:00 Paul email@hidden:

I’ve looked at Sparkle in the past - I actually have a copy of version
2. However, it seems to be lacking for my needs. I can’t place PHP in the
layout easily. The option doesn’t really do what I need.

I also find that if I use JavaScript to create content (simulating
content of unknown size to be pulled from a database) that it won’t push
elements down the page, they just overlap.

Both issues that Freeway had (actually, still have), but both overcome
by Actions.

So while Sparkle is still on my HD, it’s not going to be taking over
from Freeway any time soon.


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Duncan, my humble thanks for your kindness is explaining in great detail the matter of Responsive layouts and all the caveats. But in terms of Freeway being “almost impossible to understand,” it actually is drop dead intuitive to me when it comes to legacy table-based layouts. Freeway is the old DTP model of design. My first home computer was a Mac 128k back in 1984 at the age of 13, so I grew up understanding what DTP was all about, and so when I saw Freeway for the first time back in 1999, I learned how to use it right away, without consulting the manual. But for Responsive sites, Freeway is difficult for me (not for everyone, just for me). And now that Freeway won’t be developed anymore, wisdom dictates every Freeway user find something else. For now, my focus is on Sparkle.

Caleb, you are a well known Freeway master of Responsive layouts. Any further thoughts on this?


Andries, I would be happy to educate you on Illustrator, but that does go beyond the scope of this thread. :slight_smile: But since I don’t mind bending the rules, here it goes:

  1. Launch Illustrator CC.
  2. New document.
  3. Sketch a box on the page.
  4. Window > Align (or use whatever method you like)
  5. Within the Align palette, point your eyes to the bottom right where it says “Align To:” and click that pop-down menu.
  6. Select “Align to Artboard” so a checkmark appears by it.
  7. Now with your box selected, click “Horizontal Align Center” — BAM! Your box is now centered with respect to the page, and you only have a single object selected!

So to ensure this gets back on topic, I would like to see this in Sparkle. Align icons should be contextual and allow aligning of not only multiple selected objects, but also allow aligning with respect to the page.

And there you have it.


Andries & Duncan, regarding TITLE text, my point is that it would be nice if the app empowered me to add TITLE text wherever I want it. TITLE text is like a tooltip. There are simply times when you want to add it. It’s by no means a showstopper. It was just an observation with respect to Freeway. Freeway let’s me add TITLE text. Sparkle doesn’t in many cases.


Andries (and everyone else reading),

“Freeway isn’t Freeway anymore” insofar as we all want Responsive websites now and to accomplish that in Freeway is not intuitive like legacy table-based layouts are. Believe me, I’ve consulted documentation, folks at SoftPress, I’ve reviewed Caleb’s excellent BackDraft and Thomas K’s GridMeister videos, and I’ve listened to Mr. E. Simpson too. I’ve even had a lot of talk with folks off list. But I never created a full featured Responsive (with %-widths and all) website in Freeway. I just didn’t have the time required to do that in Freeway.

With Sparkle, you don’t have %-widths style Responsive, for reasons Duncan has already specified. But we all must admit that if Sparkle can accomplish what the designer intends to do, it will accomplish that more intuitively than Freeway — and keep in mind I speak of RESPONSIVE design here. It’s just that I am viewing Sparkle through a veteran Freeway user’s eyes. My 21-point list is by no means comprehensive. I challenge all you Freeway users, (you too, Paul Dunning), to go through your must-have Freeway features and write them down, then open the Sparkle 2 trial app and see which of those exist and which don’t, then note which would be showstoppers, then post back here.

If we have a good idea of what Sparkle can do for us know, and if we know where the next version is headed, we can better decide if Sparkle is the app to choose or not. It really is that simple.

Best,

James Wages


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You were right James. Standard is the setting Align on Selection, if I
switch to Align to Artboard and then choose an alignment in the top row it
does its job.
In practice I never used it because my Artboard is mostly rather big to
work on it (as a big desk) so I would loose my box in the space :wink:

2016-07-27 2:17 GMT+02:00 JDW email@hidden:

Duncan, my humble thanks for your kindness is explaining in great detail
the matter of Responsive layouts and all the caveats. But in terms of
Freeway being “almost impossible to understand,” it actually is drop dead
intuitive to me when it comes to legacy table-based layouts. Freeway is
the old DTP model of design. My first home computer was a Mac 128k back in
1984 at the age of 13, so I grew up understanding what DTP was all about,
and so when I saw Freeway for the first time back in 1999, I learned how to
use it right away, without consulting the manual. But for Responsive
sites, Freeway is difficult for me (not for everyone, just for me). And
now that Freeway won’t be developed anymore, wisdom dictates every Freeway
user find something else. For now, my focus is on Sparkle.

Caleb, you are a well known Freeway master of Responsive layouts. Any
further thoughts on this?


Andries, I would be happy to educate you on Illustrator, but that does go
beyond the scope of this thread. :slight_smile: But since I don’t mind bending the
rules, here it goes:

  1. Launch Illustrator CC.
  2. New document.
  3. Sketch a box on the page.
  4. Window > Align (or use whatever method you like)
  5. Within the Align palette, point your eyes to the bottom right where it
    says “Align To:” and click that pop-down menu.
  6. Select “Align to Artboard” so a checkmark appears by it.
  7. Now with your box selected, click “Horizontal Align Center” — BAM!
    Your box is now centered with respect to the page, and you only have a
    single object selected!

So to ensure this gets back on topic, I would like to see this in
Sparkle. Align icons should be contextual and allow aligning of not only
multiple selected objects, but also allow aligning with respect to the page.

And there you have it.


Andries & Duncan, regarding TITLE text, my point is that it would be nice
if the app empowered me to add TITLE text wherever I want it. TITLE text
is like a tooltip. There are simply times when you want to add it. It’s
by no means a showstopper. It was just an observation with respect to
Freeway. Freeway let’s me add TITLE text. Sparkle doesn’t in many cases.


Andries (and everyone else reading),

“Freeway isn’t Freeway anymore” insofar as we all want Responsive websites
now and to accomplish that in Freeway is not intuitive like legacy
table-based layouts are. Believe me, I’ve consulted documentation, folks
at SoftPress, I’ve reviewed Caleb’s excellent BackDraft and Thomas K’s
GridMeister videos, and I’ve listened to Mr. E. Simpson too. I’ve even had
a lot of talk with folks off list. But I never created a full featured
Responsive (with %-widths and all) website in Freeway. I just didn’t have
the time required to do that in Freeway.

With Sparkle, you don’t have %-widths style Responsive, for reasons Duncan
has already specified. But we all must admit that if Sparkle can
accomplish what the designer intends to do, it will accomplish that more
intuitively than Freeway — and keep in mind I speak of RESPONSIVE design
here. It’s just that I am viewing Sparkle through a veteran Freeway user’s
eyes. My 21-point list is by no means comprehensive. I challenge all you
Freeway users, (you too, Paul Dunning), to go through your must-have
Freeway features and write them down, then open the Sparkle 2 trial app and
see which of those exist and which don’t, then note which would be
showstoppers, then post back here.

If we have a good idea of what Sparkle can do for us know, and if we know
where the next version is headed, we can better decide if Sparkle is the
app to choose or not. It really is that simple.

Best,

James Wages


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Duncan, if you don’t mind, I have another question. How does Sparkle handle multilingual sites that have a mixture of English and 2-byte text like Japanese?

For English, web fonts are great. For Japanese, it’s more complex because unless you are using KATAKANA or HIRAGANA alone (each about 50 characters), you simply aren’t going to find a KANJI (chinese character) web font because it would have to hold thousands of characters and be a huge download. So what I do in Freeway is create font styles for Japanese that ensure the basic text is a gothic font (similar to helvetica) and is a font common to Windows or the Mac (MS PGothic for older Windows and Meiryo font for newer Windows, along with the Mac versions like Hiragino).

I also have a link on every page in my site to allow the user seamless switching between English and Japanese. You can see that on one of my sites here:

Click the ENGLISH button at right of the menubar and then you can click JAPANESE to get back. And as you dig down into the site you still have the same buttons. And unlike other sites that merely take you to the top page when you click the language button, my site offers you the language swap of the very page you are on at the time.

So obviously, I would want do achieve the same on any new websites I build with a Freeway alternative like Sparkle.

Thank you,

James Wages


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Hey James,

being eu-based means we are super sensible to localization needs. Sparkle itself is translated to 7 languages and we plan on translating the site and manual as well as resources allow.

Sparkle has no problem with multi language sites but doesn’t yet have any special support for them, though we do have several customers using sparkle that way. Sparkle could facilitate it in several ways, we are saving design ideas for a time when we can add a bunch of things all at once and make a big push. We definitely can discuss the current options offline if you want.

Regarding CJK languages there are a couple issues and in general the problems aren’t very well understood outside of user groups who actively use them.

The first and most obvious is how text is encoded in pages. Sparkle can encode both UTF-8 text and pure ascii, the latter is for servers that force a charset in the headers, which break UTF-8. By using Sparkle’s built in publishing this will soon be auto detected and work with no user intervention.

The second is fonts. As you note webfonts are pretty rare because of the sheer number of glyphs. It seems to all boils down to using the proper CSS font stack, which you can do in the Sparkle system font pane. There are a few built in stacks including for common Japanese fonts, but you can change them and add fonts.

As long as you don’t mix Chinese, Japanese and Korean the current Sparkle setup works fine. If you do need to mix them then it’s no longer sufficient because the same character code point maps to different glyphs or similar glyphs but drawn with different strokes. To fix that the “lang” attribute need to be set on the page or on individual paragraphs. Sparkle doesn’t yet support it but we are fully aware and hope to get around to it soon.

Does this answer your question?

Duncan


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Duncan,

Yes, you answered my question quite well.

Thank you!

James Wages


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Barry, here’s yet another single period “.” post by you (Hoffkids). It has the appearance of SPAM, so please explain.

James


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