Macaw is officially out. What are your thoughts so far?

over 7 years ago from , Lead Designer @ studiobravo.com.au

For the Kickstarter backers of Macaw, they officially sent out the activation codes today. Has anyone had some decent hands-on time with it yet?

I'm finding it really quite stable and intuitive to use. Great interface, and not overloaded with things that a not very code-savvy person won't understand.


  • Brett JonesBrett Jones, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Shows a lot of promise so far. Looking forward to putting it through its paces more thoroughly this weekend.

    Some thoughts...

    • It feels a tad sluggish at the moment but it's pretty stable for a preview release.

    • Macaw occupies an interesting position between writing code in a text editor and a visual design tool like Sketch, Photoshop, or Illustrator. The latter tools offer far more powerful features for visual design, so I'm not sure Macaw will entirely replace visual tools for me too.

    • I'd love to see more advanced typography added (specifically CSS text columns for one; I don't have any particularly efficient ways to mockup text columns in Photoshop and Sketch); I could see Macaw becoming a great alternative app to something like Typecast and a good way to experiment with typesetting for the browser.

    • Because Macaw is working with HTML elements, the tools palette looks deceptively limited at first blush. I'm not used to thinking in terms of drawing out rectangular divs for visual elements, so it's just something I'll have to wrap my head around.

    • I'm not yet sure yet how Macaw will fit into my Workflow. Whether I'll use it simply for small static sites or if it can be incorporated into larger projects... Working Files created in Macaw have a .mcw file extension so I'm not sure how nice it'll play with other tools... It obviously publishes standard file formats but I'd be interested in a workflow incorporating shifting from sketch to sublime to macaw interchangeably.

    Might sound a little negative - certainly don't mean to! It's a very promising start and I'll be eagerly following its progress and figuring out how to best fit it into my toolset.

    6 points
  • Matthew OrtegaMatthew Ortega, over 7 years ago

    There are so many apps being developed along this line,but I am waiting for the cream to settle to the top. Although I've been excited about Macaw for a while.

    2 points
  • Cihad TurhanCihad Turhan, over 7 years ago

    Damn it, I'm the middle of a serious project and I gave my mac to a friend. Today I got serial number but I don't have neither time nor mac :(

    1 point
  • Stéphane Montlouis-CalixteStéphane Montlouis-Calixte, over 7 years ago

    Haven't tested yet. Webflow anyone ? I've tested it and it's quite cool, but I don't know what is the difference :/

    1 point
  • Dave Levine, over 7 years ago

    I have not played around with Macaw yet but I did hear some interesting feedback on the product on this podcast. I am for the most part a Sketch user but I will still give it a try. http://www.freshtilledsoil.com/the-dirt-macaw-beta/

    1 point
  • Dylan OpetDylan Opet, over 7 years ago

    Wasn't ready at the time to back it, let me know how it feels compared to using something like Sketch. Other than the preview videos, is the code really semantic and something that you couldn't write just as good?

    1 point
  • c kizerc kizer, over 6 years ago

    I can't do any app like layouts in Macaw. How can I do a left right column that stretches? It doesn't seem to allow you to have things go to the edge of the browser viewport.

    Maybe I'm missing something?

    0 points
  • Jonny BeltonJonny Belton, over 7 years ago

    I've only played with it a little bit, but it has potential. One of the things that immediately disappointed me was the lack of a more complex grid, at the moment (as far as I know) all grids need to have even colums

    0 points
  • Dan BerkoDan Berko, over 7 years ago

    Really interested in hearing some reviews on this.

    0 points
  • Chris De La FuenteChris De La Fuente, over 7 years ago

    I wish there were some comparisons with it compared to Webflow because I just spent the last 2 days learning how to use Webflow and I find it fantastic.

    I am a designer who has really tried to learn how to code but never stuck through it enough to get over the hump, but honestly Webflow makes me feel super powerful. All I ever wanted to do was build pretty simple-ish static sites and I think it does a great job.

    0 points
  • Jonatha Panni, over 7 years ago

    Some bakers with a license code to share?

    0 points
  • Alejandro VizioAlejandro Vizio, over 7 years ago

    Is there a way to get it if you're not a backer in kickstarter?

    0 points
  • Patrick LoonstraPatrick Loonstra, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Hope there will be a demo version also to try is before deciding to buy it. Is there a price already?

    And how does Macaw compare itself to Google's Web Designer? (www.google.com/webdesigner)

    0 points
    • Brett JonesBrett Jones, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

      Google Web Designer is a bit of a misnomer: it's not very practical to use for anything outside of HTML 5 banner ads - like Tumult Hype 2 and Adobe Edge Animate, the focus is on timeline based animation.

      Macaw is functionally more similar to Adobe Edge Reflow, but albeit with an emphasis on more intelligent markup and style inheritance.

      2 points
    • Tom WoodTom Wood, over 7 years ago

      GWD is so niche - if you want to make ad units (which I do) then it's not bad. Far from great though either, if it wasn't free I wouldn't touch it.

      1 point
  • Stephen GraceStephen Grace, over 7 years ago

    How does it compare to something like Sketch?

    And have you tested the outputted code in different browsers? How does it stack up?

    Very excited to try it when it eventually hits public release.

    0 points
    • Jason M, over 7 years ago

      Actually haven't tried out Sketch so far, so I can't make the comparison unfortunately. Macaw only came out today, so I've yet to try creating a complete site and testing it in different browsers as yet!

      0 points
    • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 7 years ago

      How does it compare to something like Sketch?

      It’s not really the same thing. There’s a tiny bit of crossover, but they’re different apps with different abilities and use cases.

      2 points