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