Where the design community meets.
9 years ago from Manik Rathee, Eng Manager @ Google
Say you're a designer with no coding background wanting to make simple one page sites for clients. Is the code output really so bad that this isn't a valid use? I have to agree with others saying that a visual design solution to front end coding is an inevitable future. A common theme of posts and articles has been "Why am I drawing pictures of websites and then starting over in code." Some people are moving to design in the browser, some are introducing more and more tools to their repertoire to compensate and creating more and more convoluted workflows for themselves (maybe that's not a fair statement) - but an obvious answer is a photoshop-like software that's built purely for web design and at the very least creates the groundwork for the code. Maybe MACAW isn't that answer, but it's the closest thing out there currently - and I think that's something worth investing in.
Ok, I can see that use case having a lot of value. And you're right, for simpler client sites, the code is probably sufficient. That could be a huge market and one I thought they would pursue early on. They could empower business owners to design their own sites with no knowledge of code and no need to hire a designer.
But to take that route, it seems like they should automate launching too. Just choose a domain name, click "upload" and your site is live.
Getting into things like custom class names, Sass support etc. makes me think they're trying to replace manual coding even for hardcore developers.
That would be great, if it were possible. But if a site is built on Bootstrap, Foundation or any other front-end framework, Macaw's code is worth nothing.
The problem with self-service client sites (aka business owners doing it themselves) is that those markets are thoroughly covered by online tools - see squarespace, wix, weebly, etc.
For a small shop going after the pro market should be much more manageable - you can put together proper web comps and then use the code or not depending on your needs...
Regarding framework integration - I think part of the philosophy of this type of tools (at least for me personally) is that they should replace the need to use something like bootstrap or off-the-shelf frameworks. You could argue this both ways, but it would be great to be able to generate SASS or other precompiler-type output from a visual design tool... (hint-hint)
I do think this is limited in being a desktop app. Much more interesting to leverage the types of things the web can give...
Check out some of the videos, particularly the one titled "Interace Design With Macaw": http://macaw.co/videos/
So it seems they're wedged somewhere in between design and development. I still can't see any use case for it.
I'm hoping it's a better way for me to give designs to front-end devs.
The automated code isn't an argument for me. The web-centric layout engine is.
Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch or Fireworks documents are all absolutely positioned (everything with X and Y coordinates relative to the canvas). What I'm looking for is a way to communicate what the layout is, and how it behaves. In browsers.
I understand Macaw's code output might be marginally better than competitors, but for us it'll be thrown away one way or another. If its generated pages can provide a real-life reference to use during front-end development, though, I'm all in.
Where the design community meets.
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I'd love to hear from anyone who sees a use for Macaw's code output.
Why do you think it will be useful? Are you hoping to design and launch your site without advanced coding knowledge? Or are you hoping it will improve the relationship between you (designer) and your front-end devs?
Are there any front-end devs who see value in Macaw's automated code generation?
Hope I come across right. I can't see any value in it whatsoever. I'd like to understand the hype a bit better.