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Google Web Designer (2013) (google.com)
437 points by chenster on Dec 16, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 149 comments

I just checked out the included templates. At least the first 20-30 are all ad templates, one of which is a full-screen mobile interstitial! That's the same element that just got an SEO finger wag from the Google Webmaster Central Blog[0].

_Just_ as the list of templates started getting interesting with some Youtube slider-thing integration, it came to an end. So yeah, this seems to be aimed at folks who need to build ads quickly and don't want to have to be HTML5 pros.

With that said, there's a "my templates" feature so maybe you can use it to maintain your Star Trek fan website, or business portfolio website, too. I'd just hesitate to recommend that in general, as my experience with GUI HTML5 builders has been that they aren't the best IDEs or text editors and I really quickly start to need one in order to be efficient.

[0] https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/08/helping-users-easi...

This tool was announced in 2013 by a different part of the company: https://doubleclick-advertisers.googleblog.com/2013/09/googl...

Wow, that link is a truly amazing advertiser buzzword salad; it even has an on-brand "up and to the right" graph. It makes me long for the days when disabling Flash and pop-ups got rid of most web annoyances.

I only clicked through due to your comment, I wanted to see what you were talking about. You weren't kidding! I think I handle marketing speak pretty okay, but this:

>Build beautiful HTML5 creative with ease.

creative what - repeated later, "However, even though the amount of mobile and tablet work is expected to increase, cross-screen creative can be difficult to adopt".

This just hurts so much. They don't want to call it "content" because ... it doesn't qualify as such? It's just -- "some creative."

If it were a noun instead of an adjective it would seem okay for me but this is just too marketing.

The whole site is a treasure, the apogee of marketers marketing to lesser marketers: "Today we’re excited to announce new DoubleClick precision marketing innovations..."

Including this: "a new JavaScript API in Google Chrome, called Intersection Observer, which provides viewability measurement for your mobile and desktop web placements without the need for Flash. Built directly into the Chrome Browser, Intersection Observer improves viewability coverage for all video and display formats across screens by solving technical challenges associated with mobile viewability measurement. It also provides faster browsing and less battery drain, improving the consumer experience."

I don't use a web browser built by an ad company, but what does this mean in human language?

"Viewability" is an ad industry metric of "did your ad actually appear on screen, or was it below the fold?"

It's actually pretty hard to detect except through indirect means, one of which was to use a flash object to monitor for framerate changes. On-screen objects would render with a higher framerate. Google seems to have built out an API so that you can just explicitly check.

For marketers, this is actually a big thing because it means a key success metric (did people actually see your ad?) can be measured more reliably.

You can disdain advertising or marketing in general and you'd have a point, but what you quoted is actually describing a well thought out solution to a common industry problem.

The negativity is really uncalled for. You could simply say "I don't understand, and haven't bothered to Google for 5 seconds what some of these confusing terms mean--can someone please clarify?"

This stuff is all geared at advertisers who want better tools for designing ads and landing pages, and publishers who want to create ad supported sites more easily. So they are using industry jargon that people in the space (like myself) will be familiar with. Yes it is "marketing to marketers" (not sure about the lesser remark), but that doesn't make it any less specific.

I'm not sure which specific page you are referencing, but this is all technical advertising jargon that means very specific things.

"Viewability" is a technical term referencing whether an impression is viewed by a user. As advertisers increasingly demand more transparency around ad inventory quality from publishers, viewability is a newer metric that the industry looks at. Here's a good starting point from the IAB for how they classify it [1].

Determining whether an ad has been in view has some technical challenges which you might be familiar with if you know much about front-end stuff. At a quick glance of your quote, this references improving the way a pages viewability of ads is measured on mobile by removing the need for Flash for sites to signal "hey, this ad impression is viewable (and thus more valuable)!" Flash bad, this good.

Here's some further reading[2] on the technical challenges from a company that handles inventory where these metrics are a factor.

Look, we get it, you don't like marketing. And yeah, my industry can lay it on thick sometimes, but this is about as poor an example of that as it gets.

[1] https://www.iab.com/guidelines/state-of-viewability-transact...

[2] http://productblog.appnexus.com/evolution-of-viewability-mea...

So since you're either a marketer or someone who works closely with them at least, I have a serious question. Why can't you guys be happy with simple, unintrusive text ads on websites? Why do you need to bombard people with autoplay video, audio, etc. and annoy them to death? I have never heard of a single consumer who enjoys this experience yet it's employed by everyone.

I'm no marketer but nobody want to read an ad for fun. You have to shove it onto their face. Even if you are angry, now you know about the product and the idea of buying it might get to you later on. I guess it is something along those lines.

See now I disagree with that, when it comes to for example, podcast ads, I don't mind them. They're usually read by the host of the podcast, it's done in a very clear "this is an ad, this company is helping us make this thing," it's not an attempt at trickery, it's not a lie, it's just there. And it's over and done with and I'm %10,000 more likely to follow up on one of those products (not to mention they're usually pretty relevant to the audience of whatever podcast).

Advertising itself is not a bad thing, it's a critical part of any capitalist society. I just don't understand how we got to the point where seemingly every ad is as annoying as it could possibly be, that every ad company is just in a race to the bottom of "how can we be as intrusive and unsubtle as possible."

There must be some kind of reward for doing this. Maybe there's a study about this kind of behaviour.

But I get what you're saying. I feel the same. But like I said, there must be a reason.

Nobody enjoys getting email spam, but it is still very popular.. why? Because it still works.

Marketers aren't dumb.. they wouldn't invest so heavily in this if it wasn't effective.

>Marketers aren't dumb.. they wouldn't invest so heavily in this if it wasn't effective.

So they're just unethical? Your logic can be used to justify a bunch of terrible things.

>Nobody enjoys getting raped, but it is still very popular.. why? Because it still works.

>Nobody enjoys getting scammed, but it is still very popular.. why? Because it still works.

>Nobody enjoys getting robbed, but it is still very popular.. why? Because it still works.

No.. this is an unreasonable argument. Whilst you might think garish adverts are unsavoury, I don't think you should compare it to illegal and terrible things such as rape.

To be fair let's make a distinction between spam (scattershot bullshit emails that nobody has ever asked for) and actual marketed targeted advertising, which both my employer do (with double opt-in) and I myself respond to pretty regularly. In fact it got so bad I had to unsub from a few amazon emails because this time of year I'd see some silly thing in their email and be like "oh my mom would like one of those" and I racked up like $400 on my credit card over a week.

Those are two different distinct forms of marketing, one of which I have no issue with, other than my impending financial ruin.

I also want to add page 13 of http://www.iab.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/VAST4.0_Update... to your list. I had the pleasure of reading all of the VAST specs recently, and right now viewability is a mess. Often people will pay IAS for a flash client that supports viewability for VAST 2.0 because that's what most publishers support. Being able to do this without that extra request for a flash container that then later grabs your actual video xml is going to help a ton.

Given the current state of the web, are you sure a little negativity isn't called for?

I think the general trends we're seeing need to be course corrected, and that publishers by and large have dug their own graves.

That said, this is largely about decrapifying the web (getting rid of Flash is a good thing right?) and the parent also crapped all over a profession and industry while proving to be rather uninformed about it. So no, a little negativity isn't called for.

I think people like the poster above don't really understand what marketing is. It's essentially impossible to create something for other people and not involve marketing to get it out to people, even if you don't realize you're taking part in marketing activities.

What happens is people only associate advertising with marketing, which is really only one piece of it. Furthermore, they take one type of advertising, with data-hungry and sometimes intrusive online ads, and extrapolate their negative feelings towards that to ALL of marketing. Thus, anyone involved in marketing is a lesser person than them.

It's pretty clear what "viewability" means, and why people like you want it. It's also unclear to me that you should be allowed to have it. The reason most mail clients don't load remote content by default is to prevent spammers/marketers from getting "viewability" information. It's sort of a bummer that Google is apparently trying to push it into the HTML spec.

I normally use Firefox, but is there a way of blocking this on the occasions I use Chrome?

> The negativity is really uncalled for. You could simply say "I don't understand, and haven't bothered

Well... That didn't last long.

My guess: if one had to run it 100% JS it would drain viewers' batteries faster and slow down their browser more than if one uses that new native API. Not that I want to be somebody analyzed by that sw. I'm sticking with other browsers and keep blocking tracking js scripts.

View ability measures if an ad was actually viewable. An ad might load fine but the user doesn't scroll down the page far enough to see it. Accurate viewability would take that into consideration.

"Creative" is a well established commonly used term from the publidging and advertising worlds. Definition #2 at https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/creative#Noun

Your definition defines it as an uncountable noun (like bread - a slice of bread - a loaf of bread, not "give me two breads").

But below in this thread I asked for example usages and the person I asked said:

>"We have to work on the creatives to show to the client next week."

That does not match the definition you just linked.


it says "creatives" are people "some of the creative" (and the like) would be the things. It explicitly calls it uncountable in that definition. So does the wiktionary entry need expnasion, or was the example usage I received, wrong?

That's a philosophical question based on whether you hold a descriptive few of language or not.

"Creative" as a noun meaning content shown in a single advertisement with the plural of "creatives" is definitely in use in the places I've worked, which include a magazine/traditional publisher and a silicon valley tech company that has a large market share of the advertising industry.

thanks - I would say the wiktionary entry probably needs updating in that case.

> just too marketing

I suppose just an upvote would suffice, but I had to applaud you.

calling the actual ads 'creative' is common parlance in the display ad space. ( former Doubleclick employee )

Thanks for the clarification! I suppose I can see why they would call it something other than "ads" (which obviously has negative connotations.)

When reading the link I quoted from, I actually didn't realize it was talking about ads. I thought it was talking about any kind of content. I do wonder about something. I thought that Mobile platforms have a distinct advantage in displaying ads, in that most people (for example me) do not run any form of ad blocking on their mobile devices.

If this is true - and if the page a bit upthread that I'm talking about and quoted from is talking about ads - then when doesn't that page mention this advantage at all? (From the advertiser's perspective.)

> I can see why they would call it something other than "ads" (which obviously has negative connotations.)

No, that's wrong. "Creative" is professional jargon, it refers to the content of the ad when divorced from the medium or the delivery channel.

When I refer to an 'ad', I'm usually referring to the content. Whether I see it in a newspaper, on TV, or on a website, I call it an 'ad'. What are marketers referring to when they say 'ad'?

Would 'stuff' be an appropriate synonym?

To the extent that you can assign arbitrarily specific meaning to any word as long as others know to decode it, you could in theory find and replace "creative" with "stuff" in our language and records.

But otherwise "stuff" is an ambiguous term and "creative" is industry jargon.

Perhaps if you're a 19th Century tailor!?

I work in marketing, "creative" is used for pretty much any kind of ad/marketing product while in the production process. No negative about it. It's like "hed" or "lede" in the journalism world.

can you use it in a few very typical sentences, that aren't odd at all in your world?

"That creative hasn't been performing well, regardless of channel."

"Our creative review process is taking too long."

"Can you pull all the ads for that creative?"

"How good the creative is matters a lot more than how you deliver it."

(I haven't worked in ads since 2012, though, so my memory of the jargon may be off.)

Thanks. So what is the meaning of your third example? It's distinct from "Can you pull that creative"? In other words what is an "ad for a creative", as that is your third sentence?

The others are clear.

"Can you pull that creative?" would mean basically the same thing, and is probably what someone would say. I included "ads for" to try and clarify that the actual things you're taking down are the ads.


"We have to work on the creatives to show to the client next week."

would you be equally likely to utter,

"We have to work on the creatives to show to the client next week."


"We have to work on the ads to show to the client next week."

(in the way that a programmer could just as easily write, "I have to make some changes to the code" and "I have to make some changes to the program.")

? If, however, you're not equally likely, is it because the second one has some different meaning? What is that different meaning?

Every industry has its own jargon. This is the marketing industry's. Instead of trying to find meaning in it, just accept that this is how it's explained in the industry.

This is way less awful than KPIs, by the way.

Oh, I'm just asking whether you never say "ads" at all? (Just like a programmer wouldn't use the term, say, "Electronic computer program." Like a programmer wouldn't say to another programmer, "I just have to write a quick electronic computer program".) You guys didn't use "ads" at all? Or did you use them interchangeably?

The thing is, though, "creatives" don't always mean "ads" in this sector. "Creatives" can mean articles, or infographics, or illustrations. It basically draws attention to the fact that an "idea person" created the item. Limiting it to "ads" is a very narrow definition.

You're overthinking it. It's not akin to saying "electronic computer program"; it's akin to a programmer saying "code" as opposed to "software" or "an app." It's a building block, just as a piece of software often requires front-end and back-end development, the "ad" is in reference to both the creative element on its own and the mechanism that puts it there.

Oh, I thought where you wrote,

>I work in marketing, "creative" is used for pretty much any kind of ad/marketing product while in the production process.

that it was limited to ads. I didn't realize it would also be used for other things.

> the "ad" is in reference to both the creative element on its own and the mechanism that puts it there.

This is interesting, thanks. But what I was trying to get at, is to make sure you guys aren't confusing each other, are you careful to use 'creative' instead of 'ad' (since the latter can include the mechanism)? Or is this not a distinction you're careful about?

I'll give you an example - programmers are careful to say "binary" or "executable" if they want to talk about the program as compiled as opposed to as written (source code).

so is "creative" also something that you would use to be careful to distinguish the "creative element on its own" as opposed to the mechanism?

It sounds like your answer is yes, that's correct - I'd just like to get a confirmation.

Not OP but yes, the creative refers to something like a jpg or a video. The creative could be used in an ad, or a blog post, or an email, etc.

Yeah, that's what I'm saying. Thanks.

Am I allowed to jump in and say I find it hugely annoying? It's almost worse than people calling it "Social" instead of "Social Media".

It smacks of desperately wanting to be hip and cool.

You're misattributing motive.

It's just industry jargon that evolved over time. It's used because it compresses a key industry concept.

There's about as much motive to use the term "creative" to sound cool in advertising as there is to make "dongle" sound sexual in consumer electronics.

If it makes you feel any better just think of it as shorthand for 'creative asset'.

Anyway, it's a really mundane piece of jargon. It's like you're rolling your eyes at people who use 'access' as a verb.

Yes, even the TOS before downloading the package says:

Last modified: April 14, 2014

Here is a video from a UX Engineer on the Google Web Designer team, dated May 2016, which overviews new UI features. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8x6kENKG0M

Yeah, it is ad-centric but can be reconfigured.

One advantage over other HTML IDE's is that GWD's output is generally readable code, which can be extended, rather than obfuscated proprietary (adobe) bullcrap.

> That's the same element that just got an SEO finger wag

They are not going to wag themselves, so it only makes sense to include Google's ad template into Google's editor for creating Google Ads :)

(I guess half of this comment that's not a joke is it looks like internal tool gone public for mostly PR opportunity.)

Google encourages mobile full page ads through Adsense. Seriously, it's just called 'Page-level ads/Vignette ads' - "Mobile full-screen ads that appear between page loads on your site and can be easily dismissed by your users."[1]

Certainly don't want anyone else getting better ad positioning than Google, no sir. That's a penalty.

[1] https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/6245304?hl=en

Reminds me of how the Google Mobile checker thing from way back would actually flag Google's home page has having too much crap stuffed in it.

Do as we say, not as we do, always a credible way to run a business.

The sub-text under 'USE TEMPLATE' is 'Use a pre-built ad template', to it's right there what this is ment to do.

Could any expert shed any information on why we lack a professional front-end WYSIWYG kind of editor for the web ? I remember tools like dreamweaver/frontpage existed a long time ago, but don't hear about them anymore. Is it something that's too hard to make or is it just that the market doesn't exist ?

> Could any expert shed any information on why we lack a professional front-end WYSIWYG kind of editor for the web ?

we don't. webflow[0] is the best I've seen. there's an OSS clone called grapejs[1], but it's still very alpha. one reason we don't see greater adoption is that WYSIWYG editors for the web occupy a sort of middle ground between template-based hosts like squarespace, weebly, etc, and opinionated low-barrier-to-entry frameworks like bootstrap. I think there's some market, especially for prototyping, one-off marketing pages, and people who don't already have a preferred design workflow, but I don't think WYSIWYG will return in a large way until these editors begin doing "real" front-end lifting -- i.e., "drag and drop this react/vue/whatever component within a grid, without having to know what react/vue/whatever is." the appeal of dreamweaver, frontpage, and all of those editors in the 90s was that not everyone and their mother was a coder, but everyone and their mother did want to be on the internet, and there were none of the aforementioned saas or framework solutions to rely on. in 2016, there's no lack of coders and tooling, so if you don't want to write your own code, you may as well just spend the $10 for a shop overseas to turn your static layout into a responsive webpage overnight.

0. https://webflow.com/

1. http://grapesjs.com/

GrapesJS's author here. Firstly, thanks for the mention tribby, appreciate (got +20 stars in few hours :)). Anyway, in this days I plan to make a big update to the site and will add also another demo/preset, the builder for newsletters[0]. The main goal of GrapesJS, indeed, is to replace the common WYSIWYG editors, which are good for content editing but inappropriate for creating HTML structures.

0. https://s30.postimg.org/bbh4gwwdt/top_secret_stuff.png

I second that webflow is seemingly the clearly best stuff out there. Just a pity they don't have a stand-alone client. Can't work on web designs while travelling in some parts of Africa etc, which is a shame :/

...I don't think WYSIWYG will return in a large way until these editors begin doing "real" front-end lifting -- i.e., "drag and drop this react/vue/whatever component within a grid, without having to know what react/vue/whatever is."

React Studio is trying to do that:


interesting! I don't use WYSIWYG myself, but I'll look forward to the product launch. seems like this would pair especially well with react native.

Last 10 years I am in the business of making WYSIWYG editors of various kinds. Yet I am an author of BlockNote.net HTML WYSIWYG editor (it is pretty old but works up until W7).

HTML/CSS WYSIWYG editing from mathematician point of view:

Second main task of a browser is: by having given HTML/CSS to produce set of pixels on window's surface.

On other side WYSIWYG editor is aimed to solve opposite task: from desired set of pixels (those ones you want to get) to restore/produce acceptable HTML/CSS combination.

The problem is that the task can be accomplished only with pure HTML. As soon as you add CSS to the equation acceptable WYSIWYG becomes barely possible: the same set of pixels (rendering on the screen) can be achieved in many different ways. Layout can use floats, absolute positioning, flexes and grids recently, etc.

Direct task (rendering) is perfectly formalize-able and solvable (HTML5 and CSS specs) - we have at least three independent implementations of these formalizations.

But opposite task (HTML/CSS structure synthesis from given image) has no determined solution.

And so different WYSIWYG systems use different approximations.

Like Microsoft Word, it produces HTML/CSS documents that are pretty close to what you just saw in it, but that HTML/CSS is barely readable and reusable as HTML/CSS. Others produce readable HTML but rendering is far from what you want to see.

Therefore "ideal" WYSIWYG editing of HTML/CSS is not achieavable in principle. You need to give up something - either WYSIWYG quality per se or feature set. Like you can have WYSIWYG editing but for editable text alike islands: content area of your blog site for example.

Interesting thoughts!

> Therefore "ideal" WYSIWYG editing of HTML/CSS is not achieavable in principle.

I think users just need to be (made) aware that any & all web pages' design is always "template/theme"-driven. Even in the absence of CSS: the browser then falls back on its unique user stylesheets / factory defaults (black Times in unpredictable font-size on white background, unless maybe hi-contrast accessibility setup has the colors reversed, unless, unless, etc..)

MS Word-style "WYSIWYG" looks like a "simpler" problem in this respect because a piece of paper is a piece of paper (not really though as printing settings can easily mess with what what-they-saw-they-thought-they'd-get). Any sane web-page WYSIWYG must separate the content-formatting-without-tags (bold/italic/a picture floating to the right/etc) from style editing --- so will be essentially (at least) really "2 editors" (in 1).

Now as the user quickly grasps this intuitively after just a bit of tinkering, I don't really see the issue anymore?

Very well put. I've been tackling a similar problem with my product Protoship UIPad - "Find the optimal HTML and CSS for an image". By optimal I refer to code that a skilled developer would write themselves and will be happy to own and maintain themselves. We've seen terrible code generators - they make our lives harder and have no market.

I chose to solve this by using Sketch, which has rich layer information - is it a text, is it centered, is it a rectangle, what is its background color etc. Sketch also has layer names, which can be mapped to component oriented CSS. The difficulty is in finding the optimal positioning for this, which we solve a little algorithmically and also through user annotations. You can read more about my approach and its trade-offs here: https://medium.com/sketch-app-sources/protoship-uipad-design...

Tme to pull out the deep neural nets! Isn't the problem that you're describing a bit like generating, say, words given an image? Sure, there are several differences, but it's an interesting problem.

Easier than caption generation? - There's only one possible outcome for HTML/CSS --> website look - And we know what this outcome is (just render the thing) - not a lot of "words" in the vocabulary... there are only so many tags and styles we can use (at most a couple hundred), with most of the complexity coming from the combinations of these elements

But in some sense, it might be a harder problem, since the idea of web development is combining these "words" in a way that makes sense. So there might be a harder-to-learn grammar.

HTML and WYSIWYG shouldn't really be in the same sentence. It is such a promiscuous but tollerant format/language that it instantly produces a mess. There are some interesting videos about it on computerphile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-csXdj4WVwA (Where HTML beats C?)

They do exist in different forms. If you're on the level that's just above making a Facebook page then you might go with Squarespace or Wix which have WYSIWYG editors. Surprisingly, Dreamweaver is still a product that is updated(?) and used by many.

When it comes to the high-end, there are Mac apps such as Hype and Sparkle which are used especially for developers who want to create animated websites.

It's also the case that creating a webpage isn't the most important thing anymore. Many businesses only exist on Etsy and Facebook. The time when knowing what html is and knowing how Dreamweaver works meant you could make a living off of anyone who wanted to be "on the Internet" is kinda over.

Dreamweaver's still around (and just got a big update as part of the Adobe CC 2017 wave of apps), but Adobe seems to be positioning Muse more as the code-free WYSIWYG HTML editor now-- modern Dreamweaver's very code-focused.

My thinking is that they were replaced by dynamic sites based on PHP like WordPress, which initially people were doing template conversions for but eventually they switched to using themes... then we have had a bit of a redux with static site generators, but those are all hobbyist efforts. Dreamweaver still exists, it's just that no one makes those sorts of sites on Dreamweaver any more. There is no market for it.

All the developers that might do static frontends code by hand or use a library like Bootstrap or a theme like a WordPress theme. So there is not really much room for a tool like Dreamweaver in the landscape of web design. It's all about modifying existing things to make them fit the problem.

Yeah, also being able to inspect live code in the browser drank dreamweaver's milkshake.

The biggest reason is that WYSIWYG doesn't really work on the web. What you see on your screen isn't what someone else will see because their monitor is a different size or they are on a mobile device.

WYSIWYG requires a fixed layout size, which was common back when dreamweaver/frontpage were around.

>The biggest reason is that WYSIWYG doesn't really work on the web. What you see on your screen isn't what someone else will see because their monitor is a different size or they are on a mobile device.

Different screen sizes and WYSIWYG use are orthogonals. Any WYSIWYG editor worth its salt has supported media queries, previewing on different screen sizes, breakpoints, etc for ages.

this is incorrect. almost every modern WYSIWYG editor includes support for media queries.

People that understand media queries don't need WYSIWYG editors.

And there are still issues like css being polite suggestions rather than rules a browser has to follow. Firefox recently introduced a readability mode for instance.

But CSS styling pretty much is a polite suggestion. The browser's job is to retrieve and display content according to the user's needs and preferences. If the designer and the user disagree about whether an unvisited link should be underlined and blue, the user wins. If the designer and the user disagree about whether a page should contain images, the user wins.

>People that understand media queries don't need WYSIWYG editors.

That's wrong, and analogous to saying that people who understand low level programming don't need IDEs.

There is https://pinegrow.com/ & to some extent Adobe Muse .... but I agree with the sentiment of there not being more options of WYSIWYG editors to choose from.

Ah, didn't know this one ... and even has a linux version, great. Thought macaw was the only option there (light app to be ran on wine), apart from adobe (which are getting too heavy, and thus way too problematic to run on wine).

The underlying JS and HTML5 frameworks change too quickly for that to work. Companies that tried have presumably lost their shirts. But I'd say that's a good thing in that now web development is a "fill the area under the demand curve" type of undertaking. You can spend between $10^1 and $10^7 on a web site.

A bunch of reasons, including lack of market, complexity of today's web.

They aren't entirely gone though, this was posted to HN a while ago: https://preview.webflow.com/preview/flexbox-game?preview=d1a... It's a game in their editor that teaches you flexbox.

Complexity? Web apps are often complex yes but web pages? Even the Webflow homepage/marketing pages look identical to every web site posted here. So the lack of market yes; people take a template/code and change the content. Not sure if web apps were ever a good fit for tools like this as that is more like a full IDE as it would need coding as well to make sense. At least allow to specify data structures as in and out for the components you are designing.

Considering even web pages today though, it's not often I want to build everything from scratch using just HTML. Rather I want to be able to drag and drop bootstrap/foundation/material components, but since I can't I might as well just use a dumb editor and live-reload changes in my browser as WYISWYG isn't working for me anymore. And I agree, WYISWYG editors fall far behind IDEs and text editors when it comes to the code.

Macaw is such a tool, runs on Mac and Windows. It's a free download at http://macaw.co (the product isn't updated anymore though; the devs have moved on).

macOS is no longer available download but I tried many way to search for it, Windows version still there.

With responsive design - that adapts to your viewer, their bandwidth, their device (and orientation), their add-ons (eg uBlock/ABP) - WYSIWYG rather starts to lose meaning. I'd warrant it's easier to design in the abstract than moving elements and watching 5, 20, 100, ... different views to see what your page visitor might see.

Now add in progressive enhancement.

We're not dealing with the largely fixed desktop viewport anymore.

That I suspect is why WYSIWYG hasn't taken off, Dreamweaver did quite well, but then the web ran away to multi-platform as the default.

Webflow is the best all-in-one tool out there.

There is also Sketch, which is a vector design tool that shines at designing user interfaces. And unlike Photoshop, it is extremely friendly to the web - if you can do something in Sketch, that can be done in CSS.

We're building a tool that converts these designs into code (HTML, CSS, SASS, React, ERB etc). That gives a sort of WYSIWYG workflow for pro users. You can have an expert designer do your design, and then have a developer run with it by generating quality code from them.

One of the few remaining alternatives to Dreamweaver is Blue Griffon.[1] It's open source (mostly), but the manual is proprietary. I just downloaded it and tried it. It's a basic HTML editor, not, like Dreamweaver, a site manager. It's heavily oriented towards preparing content for screen readers for the blind, with ARIA features prominent.

[1] http://www.bluegriffon.org

In my limited experience the market asking for and building sites on dreamweaver has completely shifted to squarespace, wix, etc.

In the past creating rich experiences was in things like Flash. With it's premature flogging, the side effect was there was little to actually and reliably replace the rich experiences it was able to create 2007-08. That's one reason seeing tooling like this, and Adobe Edge is something to look forward to.

>That's one reason seeing tooling like this, and Adobe Edge is something to look forward to.

Adobe Edge is dead.


Note: As of November 2015, Edge Animate is no longer being actively developed.

Prior to cessation of development it stagnated for a few years before finally being put down. Shame, really.

Appreciate the clarification, haven't looked at Edge in a long time. Adobe is known to put products in maintenance / off-shore mode where they stay zombie mode for a while.

I think Pingendo [http://pingendo.com] qualifies.

Adobe is going after this space with Muse: http://muse.adobe.com

We've used WebFlow for a couple of years; it doesn't suck and you can actually build an early stage [pre-rev] business with it before committing to a full stack team/budget.

https://www.pagecloud.com/ might be worth taking a look at. I've been impressed by it.

Namo Webeditor was popular along with many tools, only backend services need lot of effort to maintain. Thee is one professional web design editor who patented it.

The generated HTML/CSS is not semantic and impossible to maintain outside the editor.

I'd also love an informed answer about this.

You are commenting on one..

WordPress met those people's requirements

It looks like they are positioning this as an efficient way to create ad units, not entire websites. Maybe it should be called Google Ad Designer?

That was my first thought. If so, maybe this will make those ads suck less?

there is no way on earth a full page interstitial/popup could suck less.

Close buttons could work reliably

Just wanted to point out that this has been out for quite some time with little updates. If you click "Download Web Designer Beta", in the top-right corner, you'll see a note saying that the page hasn't been modified since April, 2014. Nonetheless, it could be a cool product -- if only Google decides to move forward with it.

That's the date of the TOS. It looks like this product has been around a while. The latest build is dated Nov 16, 2016 as far as I can tell (they don't date the release notes). The first release goes back to Oct 1, 2013.

release notes: https://support.google.com/webdesigner/answer/7218073?hl=en&...

HN post when it launched: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6470426

I've been using this tool since a year now to quickly build HTML5 banners for DoubleClick. 1- the software was way too buggy than it is now, yet, it still is, and updates aren't that frequent. 2- all objects are positioned absolute, even though you can choose to create a responsive banner. 3- for me, it's perfect for ads, and handles animations pretty well (it uses CSS animations) 4- you can always access the generated code and modify it once you understand how it works. 5- I would never use it to create anything other than ads. 6- the UI sucks, especially when the biggest part of the process is adding assets, modifying their properties or settings their CSS, and you constantly have to resize the accordion drawers.

Would be interesting to hear your thoughts on https://tweenui.com/animator

I was wondering if this is the same software which was announced years ago and it was still in beta or it's a new software that's in beta. I've found I've personally added the record to Homebrew Cask in 2013 - https://github.com/caskroom/homebrew-cask/commit/429e430a622...

This has been out for around 5 years. I remember installing this at an ad agency I worked at when HTML5 ads were barely a thing.

At this point they probably have a small team working on it for sake of their ad division but people here shouldn't into this too much.

Having lived through the birth (and death) of HotDog / Dreamweaver / Frontpage etc. my biggest concern here is "HTML soup".

My next biggest concern is that these tools don't really teach people much about how the web works and also that marketer-types tend to over-use these tools with their new-found 'skills' and build over-bloated sites.

HTML is easy.

TIL that Dreamweaver is still being marketed.

+1000 Cross platform including Linux. I hope this tool gets traction and goes beyond html5 to mobile design as well.

Interesting product. There is a huge demand for it and I'm not sure what Adobe ended up doing and if it works well. Interesting these products that come so late to the party, to fix the gap left by Flash (it had timeline animations etc. like so) for html5.

So its not targeted towards making "pages" more towards just making HTML5 banners. I guess just trying to replace flash banners with HTML5 ones

The templates are all for banners and the tools for making say a "div" are not there.

I'm currently building a browser-based WYSIWYG to make book covers. I've tried SVG and Canvas but it's terrible for implementing multi-line text. Trying to add kerning, tracking was almost impossible.

Not sure if anyone's heard of Readymag[0], but I'm really impressed with their editor - and it has excellent typography tools and UI.

Anyway, what I've noticed is that now many people are abandoning their own websites & blogs in favor of a centralized service such as Medium, Instagram, etc.. I remember a few years ago there were alot of fashion bloggers and now they're all on Instagram, updating daily. People have lost interest in designing, building, maintaining their own sites because it's too much work for the average person. Not to mention traffic going to the individual sites are neglible compared to social media. When posting a photo on your own site gets 10 visitors, but that same photo garners hundreds of likes on somebody else's platform, then you're going to be spending time on that platform.

[0] http://readymag.com

Adobe Edge has already tried the HTML5 tooling route http://www.adobe.com/products/edge-animate.html. I don't think they got much traction and essentially abandoned it. Curious if this offers anything different.

I wonder why Edge didn't uptake. Possibly licensing costs, or maybe the timing of it was a little earlier than where we are starting to build more immersive experiences with HTML5/JS and are starting to desire the use of tooling to making it easier.

This appears to have more (or at least different) features than Edge, though I can't help but feel it's basically tracing the same path.

On a related note: anyone knows a good guide to catch up with the recent frontend design/development trends?

I wish things like this existed but not for front end, but for handling databases. I want to be able to send values from my static sites into a database and then from there be able to perform hooks and actions from said database. This all being done securely. I need form handling and tracking.

For a moment I thought that google had designed a software for app designs like Sketch or Adobe XD. None of them works for Linux so I was pretty excited until I realised what it was really :(

Looks interesting! From the website, it is difficult to say how this software is different to existing solutions like for example rocketcake. I guess it is more useful for creating HTML ads?

Also, what if google decides to shut this down suddenly someday? Will it be easy to switch a project to a different software then?

Where is the need for this product? People who know about computers will probably just use the very easy to learn HTML and CSS code and people who don't know computers will likely use wix or wordpress or some similar alternative. I wonder where this product will fit?

> Where is the need for this product?

An intuitive easy to use WYSIWYG editor is a highly sought afterand demanded product category. Squarespace costs money and is actually (for me) a pretty bad user exp.

Google probably can deliver on this because they are SEO. Even good editors were not semantic. I havent tried this product, but if it is halfway decent it will find market share. If it is perfect it could replace wordpress.

I am pretty competent as a developer and I would use (based on my understanding from the link) this product rather than battle css or compile sass. Plus I can edit the code.

On top of top teir engineering, google has control of SEO & pagerank so maybe they can win where orhers hadnt. No brainer for them.

It looks like an HTML ad creator, not a "website designer".

I wonder when will they shut it down.

Hmm looks kind of like Celtra's AdCreator[0]. I wonder which came first? Has anyone used both who can compare the two?

[0] https://www.celtra.com/adcreator

Does anyone know if it installs that Google Updater Service also on Win?

Nevermind...crapshit installed itself or left some installer behind even with me cancelling the installation. I hate google software...

Any news? Is it a new version. I have it installed for at least a year.

I'm on mobile so I can't use the app but I'm hoping for a spiritual successor to HyperCard. Looks like there's a lot of hand holding being done however.

what GUI toolkit is this made in?


Is this any relation to Pixate (which they sadly closed)?

Ha, Google Web [Ads] Designer! I tried it. Works really well but who works on ads on a daily basis?

This is really cool. Landing pages could be built faster with this now..

Google Dreamweaver

What's old is new again: hello dreamweaver just this time from google.

the day google became microsoft for real this time... webdesigner aka frontpage

They first released it over 3 years ago. And it seems to be something like "HTML5 ad-centric Flash" rather than the new Frontpage.


"The 90s are back, baby!"

I thought, "ok let's try this..." hovered over the green button and then WOAH! "Download Web Designer Beta" wtf.. DOWNLOAD? Are we back in the 90s?

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