The CSS Playground is a preview of our CSS styling tools, and we'll be adding some of our other components (layout, adding new elements, code export) soon. Currently, it only works in Chrome, but we're working hard to add Firefox support.
Edit: After studying the video: I'll pay triple! Any thoughts on importing bootstrap?
We're actually big fans of the MailChimp pricing model (both pay-as-you go and monthly options), so it's a possibility.
About Bootstrap, the current demo already uses it for the non-visual elements (grid, etc), but we're still not sure about a whole-scale import yet. There are a lot of changes afoot with Bootstrap and Foundation (mobile-first being a big trend), so we're noodling on a ton of options.
I worked with Brackets team. I know which direction they are going and this is so inline with that.
Anyway, I'm signing for updates because I know people that would be interested on your current offering.
If you don't mind me asking, what were your backgrounds before you starting working on this?
I've been doing freelance web design on the side for a long time (actually bought the webflow.com domain in college for that purpose, going into a lot of debt in the process), then worked at Intuit for several years on an a social enterprise product. Studied CS at CalPoly, and spent a few years wandering through art school in SF before that.
My brother (Sergie) studied at UCSD and worked as a creative director for MuirSkate.com prior to starting work on Webflow. You can see his (now outdated) portfolio here: http://sergie.info/
A long time ago I built "squeeze page" manager which had an editor like this (it was simpler and more focused on content management). I sunk a lot of time into it. However, I ran into the same problem I bet you guys will run into: "the design tool chasm". On one end are simple tools for publishing on the web (Weebly and Wordpress) and on the other are professional tools (Photoshop and Sublime Text 2/Textmate). In between are tools that no-one really wants.
Basically, don't stop at the editor. Its a feature. Take a look at Unbounce or HubSpot for "marketing tool" inspiration and Weebly and Wordpress for "publishing tool" inspiration. Or, if you want to be used by professional designers, you'll need to go in a whole different direction (which is likely the one you are on now). Of course, if you have target customers that love this as is, their feedback vastly trumps mine. But never stop talking to your target customers (steal them from the big boys with your personal touch and solve their problems)! Good luck guys!
We're definitely looking far beyond just being an editor. What you see right now was an important pre-requisite to what we really wanted to build - hoping to share more on that soon.
Personally, because I still prefer writing from scratch, I'd use it after I thought I had a good framework coded up already just to quickly tweak it and try out some other ideas. Not sure how you plan on monetizing, but a tiered system for those of us who wouldn't use it to create from scratch would be appreciated, even though I'm not sure how you'd determine that (imports only?).
Web apps also offer advantages over native apps, like zero installation, universal compatibility regardless of OS, and the ability for publishers to put updates/patches out instantly.
The browser becomes the OS for web apps, and in this case Webflow only supports one OS, Chrome.
Or is it because of my negativity toward web apps and an appearance of ignorance on the state the art?
I'm also super jealous you have a brother that you can develop a product with. My brother is a systems guy and doesn't want to create software at all.
Also this is probably first HN thread that everyone seem to like what they saw, no nitpicking at all. This must tell you that you guys are on the right track.
I do like the idea of this. The functionality seems to be there.
One route you may not want to get sidetracked down yet... I'd love compontents from this to use inside a CMS. Whether tools from the sidebar, or the easy WYSIWYG editor (if people could drag pre-prep'd text + photo layouts into the page, even better) -- I'd pay money for these, to build them into client sites.
Just a thought - everyone is inventing these standalone SaaS apps, but for all us doing custom software development - it'd be great to gain the benefit too.
Have you thought at all about price point? IMO I wouldn't try to enter the hosting space, at least not yet. That's not the value for me. I think you have a great product in the works just as a front-end development platform. If it works as described, I'd put money down for it today (customer validation, check).
No really. I have this bug (verified by genius tech) http://oleb.net/blog/2012/05/15-inch-mbp-mid-2010-crashing-t... which I haven't given to them for repair yet.
The Product button's visual transition repeatedly crashes my box.
Otherwise, looks pretty cool :)
I think there will always be a contingent of folks who prefer to hand-code this stuff, but there is a larger contingent of folks for whom a great set of visual design tools will be incredibly valuable. So good on ya and good luck.
And well done guys. Getting this far in 7 months is very impressive.
Having been part of the team that designed and built Typecast (http://typecast.com), it took us over a year to really get somewhere. Building browser-based design tools is way harder than it looks.
Absolutely agree with you about hand-coding. I'm one of those folks! It's hard (impossible?) to compete with the flexibility and power of pure code, but we can try right?
I'm working on something similar, so I know the monumental amount of work that must of gone into this app, really impressed and looking forward to seeing your other components.
Here's a screenshot of mine:
The preview tools are awesome though!
Another fine example of how Chrome is the new IE6...
I like having a tool that is super fast and responsive, and you lose some of that when it's embedded into the same page the site is being designed in. Having said that, it's easier to play with a design when you have an ui such as this. This mixes some of the advantages of photoshop with some of the advantages of designing in the browser. It's tricky to compete with the strengths of both tools and merge them into one.
I'd really like to know the following: what process did you follow to create that 10min UI Tutorial video ?
Did you rehearse it and then record it all in one go? How did you memorize the script? Did you edit it with multiple takes of various scenes? Etc. Thanks so much.
Moral of the story: if you don't have a good sound room - find a storage room. :)
That sounds like a better workflow than what I've tried in the past (recording video first, audio second), I'll be sure to give it a shot next time.
I'm also curious if having a Vine-like ability to record while a button is pressed (or something) would make record-all-in-one-go more feasible. That way, you could take breaks while recording and think through next section before committing.
Getting out of previous mode wasn't immediately apparent. Perhaps more of a tab on the hidden tray?
Just one thing - much of the text doesn't seem to render so smoothly. Is that intentional or is it just me...? Chrome on Windows fwiw.
Start billing me, I want to retribute your effort.
Thanks for this! :)
Question: Is there (or will there be) a way to edit the content of a clickable element (button, link)?
I really hate that: on a lot of sites videos plays just fine on Chromium / Linux without Flash.
How hard is it to create a website which serves videos in several formats depending on the client?
How do they compare to Webflow?