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AMA: Semplice Team on Semplice 4

2 years ago from

Hey DN friends.

I'm Tobias, one of the founders of Semplice.

We just recently launched the new Semplice 4 . It's a completely re-designed and re-developed version of Semplice, a portfolio tool and website builder for Wordpress. (you could really use it for anything, but we focus on portfolios)

With the support of DN we are thankful to create this little AMA here to discuss the most burning questions you may have. We've been pretty heads down since our launch getting it all done and this is the first time we do some kind of AMA for it (:

If you're completely new to Semplice, you may have a look here. If you want to check out the new S4, you can do that here. And if you like to get even more into it, we have a lot of videos here.

I'm curious about your questions and THANK YOU for the DN team for giving us the opportunity to chat with you about it.

Cheers, Tobias & the Semplice team

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49 comments

  • Marco ScannadinariMarco Scannadinari, 2 years ago

    Should I be pronouncing Semplice the Italian way (Sempli-che)?

    9 points
  • Jonathan KelleyJonathan Kelley, 2 years ago

    Have you guys not thought about moving it to be based on CraftCMS or Ghost? I feel like Wordpress is in the graveyard.

    7 points
    • Joacim NilssonJoacim Nilsson, 2 years ago

      "I feel like Wordpress is in the graveyard."

      Feel? What is that feeling based on?

      WORDPRESS RUNS 28% OF THE ENTIRE INTERNET.

      Wordpress.com https://wordpress.com/activity/

      Wordress.org (self hosted) https://www.codeinwp.com/blog/wordpress-statistics/

      4 points
      • Jonathan KelleyJonathan Kelley, 2 years ago

        I mean it's an old technology that people have expanded and expanded on until it's just a mess.

        9 points
        • Clay MacTavishClay MacTavish, 2 years ago

          WordPress is mature not old. There are a lot of reason to use WordPress. Is it beautiful, cutting edge software? No. Is it stable, with a robust community? Yes.

          Should you use it to build that restful API, sexy startup product that serves millions of users supported by a giant tech team? I'll let you decide that.

          4 points
      • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, 2 years ago

        well, just because something is widely adapted doesn't mean that it is good, or modern or actually solves peoples problems. It just means that is is widely adapted... And in the case of wordpress, that reason surely is not because it the best solution for users, it was the best solution for serving the client that does not have that much of a budget. This kind of client is now the client of jimdo, wix, squarespace or - in that case - semplice.

        But saying "wordpress is the graveyard" is a bit of an exaggeration of course. But wordpress is hardly the best alternative out there at this point.

        7 points
      • Frédéric AudetFrédéric Audet, 2 years ago

        How is "wordpress runs 28% of the internet" an argument? Magento seem to be the most used e-commerce solution, but it's still crap.

        Jonathan's comment is totally valid - to my opinion, CraftCMS is better than WordPress in many ways. More secure, faster, not filled with features you don't use and easier to build on, or customize.

        3 points
        • Clay MacTavishClay MacTavish, 2 years ago

          It's not free.

          0 points
        • Joacim NilssonJoacim Nilsson, 2 years ago

          If you ask Tobias why they've built Semplice 4 on top of Wordpress. 28% off the sites run it. Let say 1% (idk if that's correct) of those are portfolio sites. Would not that be a huge market for them?

          Wordpress is a technology like any other technology. Does it solve your problem? USE IT. If not .. try something else.

          I can build very fast and magical sites with Wordpress. It depends on the developer too;)

          0 points
      • A Paul, 2 years ago

        Yeah but Wordpress sucks. I used to use it for all client websites and my own personal site, but in the past year, I've completely moved away from it. It's so frustrating to maintain.

        1 point
    • , 2 years ago

      Hey Jonathan

      We do have thought about this sometimes, but we're still big fans of WordPress. If you look at the new Semplice, you won't be seeing WordPress anymore when you actively work on it. You will also notice the Semplice backend feels 5x faster than the WordPress backend itself. (we work with the API)

      The main reason we still use it is because we do like WordPress in theory. We like the community and we appreciate the saturation. While using Semplice, you can still use all the other features of WordPress (such as blogging, a range of plugins, user management and free security updates). Besides this, many of our users use hosting services that offer one-click WordPress installs, which makes it easier for them.

      Obviously this is more a question about religion at this point so I won't argue which CMS is better or not, it's a discussion not even worth starting. Right now we choose WordPress, but that can change in the future if we feel like it's a good idea.

      Cheers, Tobias

      0 points
      • Jonathan KelleyJonathan Kelley, 2 years ago

        Hey Tobias,

        Apologies the point went way off. Completely agree with your points - following on from you won't feel like wordpress anymore. Are we far away from seeing Semplice following Webflow?

        1 point
        • Tobias van Schneider, 2 years ago

          Hey Jonathan - I'd say we're more focused on the professional maker, designer & developers who like to self host and use a tool that was actually made by designers and the designer/developers mindset. We're not trying to market to amateurs. Hope this clarifies a few things.

          0 points
          • Craig Keeling, 2 years ago

            I'm having a hard time understanding your "market to amateurs" comment. Have you ever used Webflow? It's a pro level tool that allows professional designers to create what's in their head without having to code it from scratch or hand it over to developers who may not have the same level of detail.

            It's cool to see new products, but to say that about an excellent design tool is really unwarranted.

            3 points
            • Tobias van Schneider, 2 years ago

              Hi Craig. You are right. I mixed up the tools and thought about another one thats more geared towards amateur users (there are so many), my mistake here. I don't know Webflow.

              1 point
    • Clay MacTavishClay MacTavish, 2 years ago

      lol. WordPress is a great product. The problem is there are too many "developers" out there who make short-sighted decisions. To say WordPress is in the graveyard is quixotic and foolish.

      What makes you say it is in the graveyard?

      0 points
    • John O'NolanJohn O'Nolan, 2 years ago

      Ghost would be a terrible choice for something like this, because it's inherently focused on publishing and much harder to modify to do things which are not-publishing (like creating a beautiful portfolio site). WordPress is a pretty great choice here for a ubiquitous underlying base platform, and working via API is a huge step up in being able to create a slick custom experience.

      Craft is not overly suited to Semplice (Mainly due to licensing considerations) - but is a stunningly architected platform, and one which we're taking a lot of inspiration from. (I actually think there's a lot WP could learn from Craft, too)

      Overall though, short of building out a completely custom back end, WP is a really great choice for a product like this :)

      9 points
  • Pablo StanleyPablo Stanley, 2 years ago

    Hey, Tobias! I just want to say I love Semplice 4—it makes me feel like I have superpowers when I use it! I've worked with it for two projects already. It's so easy that I even feel like I'm cheating, lol.

    Keep up the good work!

    5 points
  • Dean Birkett, 2 years ago

    I'm keen to create an Accessible portfolio website, but after checking out a number of CMS I have reached the conclusion that Accessibility isn't a core consideration, and I'm left with coding everything myself. How does Semplice 4 help with creating accessible websites?

    3 points
    • , 2 years ago

      Hey Dean, nice to hear from you and I understand where you are coming from. What specifically are you looking for?

      1 point
      • Dean Birkett, 2 years ago

        Hey Tobias! For instance, Medium does not allow you to add ALT text to images, Squarespace is equally inaccessible. I want control of focus states, I want to use the site with a keyboard, and I want to ensure that it works well (and not just looks pretty).

        1 point
        • Tobias van Schneider, 2 years ago

          Hey Dean

          ALT text is absolutely no problem, WordPress takes care of that and it works with Semplice. Focus States depends, I don't think we considered this yet but you could easily add some custom CSS within Semplice to get all of these things done. In the end, Semplice is just a framework really and a tool that you can tweak further to your liking.

          0 points
          • Dylan SmithDylan Smith, 2 years ago

            Inaccessible by default. Nice.

            3 points
            • Tobias van Schneider, 2 years ago

              Semplice is first and foremost for visual portfolios. We try to make it as accessible as possible. Everything beyond that, we give you the power to go further if you need to. I wouldn't say it's inaccessible by default, but judging by your tone you already seem to have made up your mind (:

              3 points
              • Dean Birkett, 2 years ago

                Thanks Tobias. It's a shame that it isn't accessible. I've just taken a look at some of the 'best sites', such as http://mindtdesignstudio.de/ - which unfortunately is completely inaccessible for keyboard users (but I could have selected anyone with the hamburger icon).

                It's a shame that in 2017 we're still allowing for inaccessible sites to hit the web. I hope it's something that you tackle in future roadmaps.

                We shouldn't really be reminding designers of the oft-quoted, “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” — Tim Berners-Lee

                1 point
  • Thomas Petrach, 2 years ago

    Hi Tobias, I really love the new interface of Semplice 4. Its clean, simple and easy to use. You fix major issues like the mobile view and the grid settings which gave me more possibilities and reduce some css hacks. I test Semplice 4 for my side project http://augmented-conversations.com/ and I get this website done in only one day...

    There only some details – but I believe you will fix it...

    • The minimum grid width is 1170px but sometimes. Maybe it can be more flexible...
    • Content, Column and Section Images can be a litte bit confusing during the start
    • responsive images will be great... using different bg-images for different breakpoints...

    ok that's all details stuff – right

    1 point
    • Tobias van Schneider, 2 years ago

      Hey Thomas

      Thanks so much for your feedback! Your website is looking nice! Let me address some of your questions here:

      1. Yeah, we had to find a minimum grid with do make sure we can keep your stuff responsive, so far we haven't had anyone who wanted to go below, but it's something on our backlog.

      2. Yes, we need to do some better work communicating this. Usually after watching a video you get it. (or if you're used to developing, because its basically how a page is built up)

      3. Thats very high on our todo list! You got it (: Especially for fullscreen covers.

      0 points
  • Tim SilvaTim Silva, 2 years ago

    Congrats on the massive release! The custom grid system is really impressive from a technical perspective. Also, I really dig all of the hover effects on the large thumbnails. I remember when the first version or two came out, really blown away by how much this has matured.

    Forgive me if I missed it, but are all of the example sites from the showcase page based on S4, or are some of these older?

    1 point
    • , 2 years ago

      Hey Tim, thank you so much (:

      Currently the showcase is mostly pages made with Semplice 3, which makes sense since we just launched about a month ago. But I mean technically, Semplice 4 can do everything that Semplice 3 could do, just way way more. So looking at the showcase for inspiration is still valid because you could create all of these pages with the new S4. Only difference now is that you can add more page transitions, add motion effects to your content, create more navigations, customize your grid, customize the design of your mobile breakpoints and a ton more (:

      Hope that answer helped you a bit!

      1 point
  • Adam Kozel, 2 years ago

    One of stuff that holds me back from buying Semplice is not knowing how much it is customisable so I dont know if I can create exactly what I want to in it, is there some way to get that info? I've already watched all videos from semplice web.

    1 point
    • Tobias van Schneider, 2 years ago

      Hey Adam, thats a good question!

      Is there something specific you are looking for, some specific customization? But let me try to sum up a few things that maybe help:

      1. Semplice does NOT have templates. So basically, every page you create you create from scratch and based on your sketches or designs. This was what we built it for.

      2. Whenever there is something super specific that Semplice does not support, you can embed a code module anywhere on the page to embed custom code. (for example for embedding interactive prototypes or whatever it is)

      3. On every page, you can individually add custom CSS right in Semplice. You can also add custom CSS globally, and specifically for each mobile breakpoint.

      4. Every element you drag onto the page via our content editor, you can define your own CSS class name, and then overwrite it via custom CSS. It's something a lot of developers who use Semplice enjoy a lot.

      5. And if all of the above still isn't cutting it, you basically own the files, they're on your server, so you can even touch the code itself if thats what you want. But from my experience and everything I've seen so far, most people using Semplice doing heavy custom things do it purely via custom CSS and custom JS. But that really only applies to people who want some very very specific interactive feature. But please feel free to email us to help@semplice.com if you have some ideas, sketches or designs you want to execute and we tell you how easy it will be to do it with Semplice.

      0 points
      • Adam Kozel, 2 years ago

        My questions are always good (just kidding)! Thanks for answer Tobias, I will email you if I get to trouble with building some designs into web.

        1 point
  • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, 2 years ago

    Could you give an elevator pitch for people on why they should upgrade? besides "it was completely new redesigned and developed", because that is not really a selling point. It is a paid update after all.

    0 points
    • , 2 years ago

      Hey Thomas

      Pretty simple: If you're super happy with Semplice 3, stick with it. I still have many sites running on it and no plans to change that. We're not trying to sell you on it at all. If you're planning on a fresh redesign or planning on working on a completely new website, I would definitely get it.

      Why? It's much faster to create with, you may see this on the videos we created. You can customize mobile breakpoints individually, customize your grid, typography presets, choose your page to be a single page app, add motion effects, page transitions and more that you do not have in S3.

      1 point
      • Nidi —, 2 years ago

        I'm happy with Semplice 3... but the motion effects and page transitions are definitely a selling point for me

        0 points
  • Vojin Deronjic, 2 years ago

    Hi, Tobias,

    Do you offer a demo or something? I want to show my boss why Semplice is better than wasting money on templates

    0 points
  • Kasper Gram, 2 years ago

    Congrats, guys. Looking good.

    Is the new tool AMP compatible? -https://www.ampproject.org/

    0 points