Building websites is different things to different people, and there are different priorities and angles to evaluate web building software, web frameworks and the actual websites produced with them. Everybody brings their own experience, bias and more or less hidden agenda to the conversation.
So here’s my point of view.
First, while frameworks such as Foundation and Bootstrap make it incredibly fast to built a “real” responsive website, what you are trading for the speed is a bit of a canned look.
There are many articles about this:
The gist of it is a web framework is only slightly less template-y looking than a template, unless you delve into heave code customization (yes even in foundation and bootstrap generators).
So coding. If you’re into coding, more power to you. Some things you can’t do without coding (like a webapp, or a very custom design, tinkering with cutting edge css, etc). If you code you’ll probably view everything through the “can I use this to code” lens. If you’re on the edge about learning some, it clearly is your prerogative to decide for or against coding. Just be aware that the minimum level isn’t just HTML/CSS, in 2016 you need to compress images in multiple sizes and formats, implement several techniques for font, script and css loading to pass the speed tests with flying colors and be compatible with a dozen browsers, it really is a full time job, “fixing” your site by asking your friends or stack overflow is looking for trouble. And like with everything that’s DIY, if you built it and it breaks, you get to debug it and fix it, even years down the road.
So considering there are visual editors, why is there a common consensus that you should go with code-based solutions? Plenty of reasons. Perhaps they have a a knack for code or perhaps they have a problem that can only be solved by coding. Often times though I get the impression that by insisting that something is “pure and real” and something else is not, that there’s something ineffable about on solution over the other that only people in the ivory tower can approve, the only solution is a time consuming or expensive consulting service. So buy a $100 app or a $1000/year “real” website from a professional? Hmmm.
Sparkle’s tradeoff is that, in order to preserve a fully visual interface with no jargon, you get a somewhat “less pure” responsive layout (which as Mark mentions actually works just fine), but you have full creative control over each layout and can make your site actually stand apart by not making it look canned.
Take a look at these responsive websites built with Sparkle, do they work/feel ok? Do they look alike in any way shape or form?
In every case here no “web professional” was involved in the creation of the site, each of them is built by someone who has a different, actual job.
Finally, the code vs. no code discussion is a bit like politics or religion, I’m not going to change anybody’s mind. And that’s why this discussion is just running in circles here.
Nothing hidden about my agenda by the way, in the context of static websites, such as a small business or personal website, I truly believe Sparkle is by far the best solution for anybody that’s code shy (translated: has other work to do), and I want you to buy Sparkle or at least try out Sparkle if that definition fits you. So let’s do this, get Sparkle 15% off here: Pricing — Sparkle (if you come from Freeway and have purchased Sparkle already in the last week or two I’ll refund the 15%). Deal?
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