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The day has finally come. Framer Classic should no longer be used for client work.

2 months ago from , Interaction Designer

I'm wondering how many Framer users are like me and refused to transition to X... for all of you, I have some bad news.

I'm on a deadline to deliver an iPad prototype. There were enough complexities and strange interaction chains in the design that it made sense to use Framer Classic. I finished up my design on time, only to discover that iPads scale layers inappropriately when using the Preview app. Text and shape layers are all failing to maintain resolution.

My theory is there's a compatibility issue with iPadOS-- I say theory, because the Framer team informed me that they're no longer going to support Classic or update the app to maintain compatibility. So now I'm about to pull an all-nighter and rebuild my prototype in Protopie or Principle, which is too bad because neither tool can achieve the things my Framer prototype did.

I knew this day might come, and unfortunately it finally has. I'm about to abandon Framer. I cannot justify using Classic when they're not going to support it (tonight is going to suck), and I have no reason to use Framer X, as it is simply the wrong tool for the job 95% of the time. I really wish they hadn't lost sight of why the original product was so good.

I know of some people who have learned to use X, but I know of no one who is building super cool, complex prototypes like we all used to with Framer Classic. As in, I haven't seen a single prototype that really blew me away. Can anyone speak to this?

16 comments

  • Taylor PalmerTaylor Palmer, 2 months ago

    Agree 100%.

    Classic was about building messy, crazy prototypes that were impossible in other tools. X seems to be more about the dream of having a perfect React-based design system, which appeals to an entirely different audience IMO.

    I have no motivation to learn react so I just build most things in Codepen these days.

    9 points
    • Dexter W, 2 months ago

      React feels too slow for design work, despite it introducing some elegant paradigms to front end development. I remember a survey that the Framer team sent out years ago asking if people want to stay with coffee script or move to ES6 and beyond. Everyone voted for code closer to modern JS. That's what we got, only without the production code.

      3 points
      • , 2 months ago

        I remember this survey too. I think it was a classic mistake of asking the consumer what they wanted. Nobody expected that transitioning to React would come at such a cost in flexibility and speed.

        2 points
    • Scott Johnson, 2 months ago

      Yep, I dumped Framer entirely because of their decision to stop supporting classic. Was really disappointed they went that route.

      0 points
  • Chinmay Kulkarni, 2 months ago

    Protopie definitely isn't as in-depth as Framer but I honestly believe it's the next best thing for making really quick high fidelity mockups.

    5 points
    • Justin Fraga, 2 months ago

      I am 1 day into learning Protopie and I think I agree with you. Some of the best functionalities don't seem to be always available (for example, I can't seem to use functions when mapping), but overall the use of variables, functions, custom bezier curves, a solid preview app, and access to system level interactions (KEYBOARD ENTRY!) makes Protopie seem like it's standing taller than the other options out there right now. It's no Framer, but it also isn't going to give me a headache when I need to design a prototype with state dependencies.

      1 point
  • Weston VierreggerWeston Vierregger, 2 months ago

    Yeah, I loved Framer before because I felt like it was more focused. Use a little CoffeeScript, make my design move, that's what I liked. I could build big pages full of interactions and motion that worked great.

    Now I feel like Framer X is a slightly worse design tool than my other design tools, and more annoying to prototype in. I kinda get the mission, but I gave up on Framer X.

    One tool you might like to check out is Drama. I recently started a new project and I'm using it as an opportunity to learn a little more. Drama, right off the bat, actually reminds me a little more of the old wünderapp Pixate.

    3 points
    • , 2 months ago

      Just checked it out. It seems like a great, simple, snappy little tool.

      TBH the reason I loved Framer was because I knew there'd be almost no chance that my design ran into a functional limit... the only limitation was my own ability to write functions and set variables in an efficient manner. I could crank out simple things quickly and very complex things when necessary. These days there's an abundance of the quick strike, easy tools (seems like Drama is in this realm), but I see nothing that lets me build out something robust the way Framer once did.

      2 points
  • Stefano TirloniStefano Tirloni, 2 months ago

    Still using classic, I need a tool to quick animate and test my ideas. I don’t need to build from my design system components! Also who knows, maybe in 3 years nobody will still using react because of the new whatever js new framework...

    1 point
    • Matthew OrtegaMatthew Ortega, 2 months ago

      I would try SwiftUI. It is free and I think does what Framer use to do, allow you to explore animation quickly and easily without the overhead. It won't be inspectable for web, but sometimes you just need to see if something works first.

      5 points
      • , 2 months ago

        Great advice. Web is my least common platform, which is one of the reasons why there are no advantages for me to learn React in Framer. Might as well go learn to tinker in Swift!

        0 points
        • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, 2 months ago

          Another option may be Processing, depending on what you’re after. I find it pretty handy for prototyping things that are not suitable for other prototyping tools.

          1 point
  • Ee Venn Soh, 2 months ago

    Copied my response over from Facebook to here too.

    When I knew Framer X was going to ES6 I was excited about it because I truly believe in web standards and with ES7,8,9... there is just so much more goodness that is coming. So yes, ditching Coffeescript is a no brainer since it's purely syntactic sugar (brevity, readability). And migrating between both is also very seamless. What made investing time and effort in Framer is that you know you're always able to carry forward your coding knowledge to something else.

    But little did I expect we'll also be switching to React. And on top of that, TypeScript. I was always hesitant about all these additional frameworks/libraries/languages that add on top of vanilla Javascript. And boy, it was definitely a steep learning curve for me when I first used it.

    Thankfully, React decided to save the day by ditching the use of class components, those hard to understand lifecycle methods and start introducing functional components and hooks. During the same time, Framer X has also made a ton of improvements to the APIs, documentation along with a super awesome community/support around upskilling people in the tool. So yes, things are so much better now.

    Framer Classic is easy to understand for many people including myself because very often, I just want to select this element and do this and that. Repetitive code? Yes. Messy? Yes. Does it matter? It might for some but might not for some.

    As designers, we don't get the luxury of coding daily and to build on the coding muscle is a challenge. But I'm hopeful and do know the Framer team is doing superb work here to help handhold as much throughout the whole user journey to make using the tool as easy as possible.

    If there's anything you'd like to see in the tool, I'll also suggest submitting a feature request so it's on their radar, https://framer.canny.io/feature-requests

    0 points