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Automatic website coding offered to designers

Discussion in 'Skill Swap' started by Stanz, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. Stanz

    Stanz New Member

    We have created a web app for designers that allows you to automatically “build” your website as you design it. Ie you use a graphical user interface to create the layout and the pages, and then what you see is actually how the website looks, so it is very intuitive. It is live online as you work since it all runs in the browser.


    This system is free to use to create unlimited websites, but it requires a subscription to use a custom domain name for a website. This can be billed direct to a client.


    So in terms of a skill swap, what we are offering is free coding in return for using our system. Instead of hiring a developer to build the website you have designed, you can deliver the completed website yourself, and bill the client what you like for this. You can either pay the subscription for the website yourself and pass this on to the client, or they can pay the subscription directly to us. If you pay it yourself you get multi-site discounts which brings the cost right down to that of a mid-range hosting package (hosting is included).


    If anyone is interested or has any thoughts on this I would love to hear from you. I can offer personal Skype screen casts on how to use the system. You can also find out more and see some example sites at www.sketchanet.com

    Thanks
     
  2. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    I must say this looks impressive for someone like me that can't code. I would definitely be up for giving this a go for my own personal website first of all. If that all goes smoothly, I would surely then consider using this service and offer a full web design service to my clients. I need to have a look into to properly for the costs etc but so far this would be right up my street.

    I'd be interested in hearing what the web designers on here think of it, as they'd be more knowledgeable on the subject than me.
     
  3. Stanz

    Stanz New Member

    Hi CLHB,

    I'm glad this sounds like it might be of interest - would be happy to give you a personal demo of the system. If you are keen PM me or contact me through sketchanet.com

    Thanks, Drystan
     
  4. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    What's the final outputted code like? I don't want to seem negative, but I'm guessing it's nowhere near as clean or correct as it should be/would be if it were written by a developer who knows what they're doing. That's what I would be hiring the developer for.
     
    Stationery Direct likes this.
  5. ARRIVALS

    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member

    Is this not just say the same thing that Wordpress, Themeforest etc.. do? Briefly reading your homepage, it simply asks users to "choose one of our simple and great looking templates and drop in your own logo and content." Do correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  6. ARRIVALS

    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member

    EDIT: Nevermind. Just watched your video. Seems like a good idea. I'd have the same queries as Paul though.
     
  7. Stanz

    Stanz New Member

    Thanks Paul, This is a fair question. Our approach to the outputted code is to keep everything conforming to the expected separation of style and structure by putting all styling in CSS stylesheets. When a site is rendered, or rather when we build the cache that renders the site, we take all of the stored styling settings from the database for everything to do with that site and build a stylesheet. The same applies to text styles - you can create any number of styles to apply to your text and these are CSS classes in the stylesheet. You can see all this for yourselves this by inspecting the generated markup and attached styles. (This is dead easy in Chrome. Right click -> inspect element. But if you don't code I appreciate this might not mean much. You can however get a developer to look and ask them what they think)

    If you were to inspect the generated markup for a site, you might flag a few things which i would like to address:

    1) There is a lot of markup. For each structural div within a site, we generate some additional styling divs, so this seems to bulk out the code a lot. The reason for doing this is so that we can support things like rgba on background colours which are not supported on IE8 and below. Within Sketchanet you can set border transparency separately from background transparency, separately from text and content transparency. If all browsers supported rgba we wouldn't need to create all the extra markup to achieve this. Yes with some careful use of Modernizr we could account for browser capability and trim the markup where possible, and we intend to do so.

    2) There are situations where styles are set inline. We have various JavaScripts running to plug things where we cannot achieve what is necessary using CSS alone, taking into account what our system needs to do. To CSS purists I accept that this might be a black mark.

    3) In the absence of JavaScript much of the system will not function correctly. But this applies to most modern websites.

    4) We have recently locked down the ability for users to create inline styling of text using the text editing controls. It is now mandatory to use classes for text styling. However, some existing sites will likely have inline styling that users have created.

    5) Lastly, users have access to the html source of cell contents and can modify this.

    I hope this helps answer your question. Please do feel free to comment on inspected code within any of our example sites, subject to the above. I appreciate any feedback given.
     

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