FreewayTalk

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JDW

27 Jul 2016, 9:44 am

[Pro] Freeway Alternative - Blocs

After spotting the post by Norm, creator of Blocs, today in the Fin thread, I thought it prudent to create this new thread dedicated to that app.

I must admit that I am currently scrutinizing Sparkle, but I have not ruled out Blocs entirely. In fact, I am almost through the following tutorial, which I find quite enlightening and helpful to understand what Blocs can really do:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBVvQ1Mx6As


Norm,

If you are seeing this and you don’t mind answering a question, I would like to ask the same question of you as I did of Duncan (Sparkle).

How does Blocs handle multilingual sites that have a mixture of English and 2-byte text like Japanese?

Web fonts are commonly used for English, but for Japanese, it’s more complex because unless you are using KATAKANA or HIRAGANA alone (each about 50 characters), you simply aren’t going to find a KANJI (chinese character) web font because it would have to hold thousands of characters and be a huge download. So what I do in Freeway is create font styles for Japanese that ensure the basic text is a gothic font (similar to helvetica) and is a font common to Windows or the Mac (MS PGothic for older Windows and Meiryo font for newer Windows, along with the Mac versions like Hiragino).

I also have a link on every page in my site to allow the user seamless switching between English and Japanese. You can see that on one of my sites here:

http://www.visionsecurity.jp

Click the ENGLISH button at right of the menubar and then you can click JAPANESE to get back. And as you dig down into the site you still have the same buttons. And unlike other sites that merely take you to the top page when you click the language button, my site offers you the language swap of the very page you are on at the time.

So obviously, I would want do achieve the same on any new websites I build with a Freeway alternative like Blocs. How is it done?

Thank you,

James Wages

Norm

27 Jul 2016, 3:14 pm

@JDW that’s a rather unique situation. Blocs lets you add additional resources to pages CSS, JS etc. So just add what you need in an additional style sheet regarding switching fonts and bolt it on to the page. The options in Blocs will let you style and structure your page, they won’t give you an easy way to create interactions outside the basics (posting forms, changing pages, scrolling to areas). But you can bolt on any JS you want and add the hooks via IDs in app or via the HTML widget for more advanced use cases..

Previewing this working would require the use of preview in the browser.

Regarding multi language versions of a page, blocs won’t do any extra work for you here. You would need to create both variations of copy and either switch pages or switch out the page copy using js.

I’ll be honest, I’m not familiar on the most convenient way to handle multi language page copy in modern web design.

JDW

28 Jul 2016, 12:32 am

Norm,

Many thanks for your kind reply.

Last night I was reading the following Macworld review of Blocs 2:

http://www.macworld.com/article/3098571/websites/blocs-2-review-web-design-app-balances-simplicity-and-sophistication.html

Toward the end, the article mentions the caveat that PDFs cannot be added within Blocs, and that the workaround is to upload the PDFs separately, then manually type in the links to the PDFs within Blocs. I assume this is something that will be addressed in a future version?

The article also mentions the lack of a built-in FTP uploader (which is something Freeway has). Being rather adept at using the FTP client Transmit I don’t see the lack of a built-in FTP client in Blocs a show-stopper, but I must admit that for some users having built-in FTP uploading would be a significant plus.


Norm, I have another question. On Macintouch we are having a similar discussion for Freeway users about what alternatives exist. Someone there mentioned that they use a Mac app called “Mobirise” that appears to be quite similar to Blocs:

https://mobirise.com

I don’t mean to put you on the spot here, but if you have any thoughts to share about how Blocs stands apart from Mobirise, I am sure others reading this would benefit from that information.


Norm,

I see that Cazoobi was founded by yourself in 2010. RapidWeaver hit the scene in 2004 and Stacks (which in my humble opinion is required to make RW usable) has been available since 2009). But you decided to move forward anyway with building Blocs. Obviously, you then felt there was something lacking in RapidWeaver+Stacks that warranted a better app. What, in your opinion, are the noticeable differences that Blocs brings to the table versus RapidWeaver+Stacks? (I ask this because there are RapidWeaver enthusiasts among us who may wish to know.)


Lastly, I would like to ask a question about the techniques used by Blocs to create Responsive sites. If you have reviewed our “Scrutinizing Sparkle thread” you will see that Caleb Grove (our resident Freeway expert on Responsive Design) points out that Sparkle does not use %-widths and therefore the page merely scales at each defined breakpoint without adjusting/reflowing text, etc. The developer of Sparkle defended such by saying that in most cases, obtaining good results across breakpoints when using %-widths is difficult, which is why Sparkle does what it does with Responsive layouts.

I opened the Blocs website (which I see was created with Blocs) in Safari and then scaled the width to minimum. I noticed that your site “bumps” content 3 times as I decrease the width, signifying the use of 3 breakpoints. And when in the final (most narrow) breakpoint, the text continuously scales as I continue to narrow the browser width to minimum. Doe this mean the narrowest breakpoint is using %-widths?

http://blocsapp.com

Caleb, I apologize for disturbing you, but if you have anything to ask or share on this point, seeing you are fare more versed in Responsive design than I am, we certainly would benefit from your input

And please know, Norm, that the reason I am asking questions is not to waste your time but to help myself and other Freeway users out there reading this, who are taking a serious look at Blocs versus RapidWeaver and Sparkle (and perhaps even Mobirise).

Best wishes,

James Wages

Norm

28 Jul 2016, 8:28 am

Toward the end, the article mentions the caveat that PDFs cannot be added within Blocs, and that the workaround is to upload the PDFs separately, then manually type in the links to the PDFs within Blocs. I assume this is something that will be addressed in a future version?

Yes this is already in the works for 2.2.0 (due Sept).

The article also mentions the lack of a built-in FTP uploader (which is something Freeway has). Being rather adept at using the FTP client Transmit I don’t see the lack of a built-in FTP client in Blocs a show-stopper, but I must admit that for some users having built-in FTP uploading would be a significant plus.

No plans for FTP right now, there are so many other apps that do a great job of this (I also use transmit). Id rather spend the time and resources making other parts of Blocs better and add new (design orientated) features.

Norm, I have another question. On Macintouch we are having a similar discussion for Freeway users about what alternatives exist. Someone there mentioned that they use a Mac app called “Mobirise” that appears to be quite similar to Blocs:

I see that Cazoobi was founded by yourself in 2010. RapidWeaver hit the scene in 2004 and Stacks (which in my humble opinion is required to make RW usable) has been available since 2009). But you decided to move forward anyway with building Blocs. Obviously, you then felt there was something lacking in RapidWeaver+Stacks that warranted a better app. What, in your opinion, are the noticeable differences that Blocs brings to the table versus RapidWeaver+Stacks? (I ask this because there are RapidWeaver enthusiasts among us who may wish to know.)

I don’t spend much time using other Mac apps in this area, so I cant really comment on the pros and cons between my app (Blocs) and others. We are focused on building what we consider to be a next generation web design app, an app that simplifies the build process and delivers power in manageable chunks. We feel, we are on course to do that, as noted by Mac World, ’Blocs 2’s new features add a lot more power, but only a little more complexity’.

We have our heads down, working exceptionally hard on our vision. New customers come every day, the app gets better every week and larger companies continue offer to buy Blocs out. Something special is happening with our app, we think that secret is in our dedication and our vision of simplicity.

So to cap it off, Im not going to list why I feel Blocs is better than the competition. My advice is, go try all the apps and you make your own choice which works best for you.

Lastly, I would like to ask a question about the techniques used by Blocs to create Responsive sites. If you have reviewed our “Scrutinizing Sparkle thread” you will see that Caleb Grove (our resident Freeway expert on Responsive Design) points out that Sparkle does not use %-widths and therefore the page merely scales at each defined breakpoint without adjusting/reflowing text, etc. The developer of Sparkle defended such by saying that in most cases, obtaining good results across breakpoints when using %-widths is difficult, which is why Sparkle does what it does with Responsive layouts.

Blocs uses Bootstrap 3 for its layouts, so the responsiveness is all percentages in BS if my memory serves me correct, so in a nutshell Blocs creates true responsive layouts.

Hope that helps.

Norm

JDW

28 Jul 2016, 8:37 am

Thank you, Norm. Your detailed reply was very helpful and greatly appreciated.

JDW

29 Jul 2016, 1:55 am

Norm,

If you have time and don’t mind, I have 2 more questions for you, pertaining to fundamental things we all put on pretty much any website:

  1. NAVIGATION
  2. SITE SEARCH

I found a YouTube video that shows how to create a basic navigation bar with drop-down menus here:

https://youtu.be/Ghc2pzJbjFE

But is it possible to use Blocs 2 to create more complex drop downs that have many links in a multi-column format? For example, have a look at the following site and click on the “ALL” menu to see and example of what I mean (that example has 10 columns of links):

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/technology/

And the second point is about Site Search. I currently use Google Custom Search on my Freeway built site now, which allows me to create a results page that seamlessly integrates into my site design. Obviously, I would want something similar if I use Blocs to create websites. But more than just choosing which search service to use, the look and feel of the search bar/field itself is a point of interest. I would consider Apple’s implementation on Apple.com to be quite modern, easy to use, and pleasing to the eye. Clicking it clears off the entire navigation bar to give the user plenty to space for search. It’s a nifty idea, but how would one implement it in Blocs.

One again, my apologies for the many questions, but I only ask because I am seriously considering the capabilities of Blocs 2 and trying to see what needs it can fill. I’m sure your answers in this thread will help other Freeway users who also are considering Blocs 2 for purchase.

Sincerely,

James W.

Bootsie

29 Jul 2016, 8:04 am

Hi Norm, like James I saw the video on YT and I’m also seriously considering to buy Blocs. But my 5 day trial expired and I still haven’t try out a minimum of Blocs. Is there a way to expand the trial for let’s say another 5 days?

Sincerely, Bootsie

FW Pro 7.1.4 (Freeway user since 2006)

Blocs 2.4 (Blocs user since July 2016)

iMac 2009

MacMini 2014

OSX 10.12.5

JDW

29 Jul 2016, 8:10 am

Bootsie,

I agree that the trial should be longer than a week, regardless of how “easy to use” Blocs pitches itself to be. For that reason, out of sheer worry, I’ve not unzipped the Blocs trial on my Mac yet! :-) I’ve been watching YouTube videos and reading about Blocs before I start the trial so I can make those precious 7 days last! Even then, I am so busy that I doubt I could make a final decision in that time.

—James W.

Bootsie

29 Jul 2016, 9:11 am

James, thank you for backing me up. ;-) Unfortunately my trial expired before I saw the video. Well …

FW Pro 7.1.4 (Freeway user since 2006)

Blocs 2.4 (Blocs user since July 2016)

iMac 2009

MacMini 2014

OSX 10.12.5

missing

29 Jul 2016, 10:20 pm

.

JDW

30 Jul 2016, 1:08 am

Barry,

Can you explain why I am seeing more than one by you (Hoffkids) that contain only a single period “.” ?

Thank you,

James

missing

30 Jul 2016, 1:37 am

simple.. I wanted to know when someone added something to new about these programs but I had nothing to add just yet.

:-(

Norm

30 Jul 2016, 6:38 am

@JDW Blocs has a feature called menu manager, this lets you create menus, you can read more here: http://help.blocsapp.com/menu-manager/

Menu manager lets you create nested menus within menus, if I’m correct in thinking this is what you want to achieve.

As for search, I’d recommend just using the HTML widget and adding the Google search snippets via that.

@bootsie there is no way to extend the trial on a personal basis. However we do occasionally renew the trial globally when we issue major improvements/features so folks can try them out.

If any of you choose to buy Blocs and then feel it’s not a good match for you within the first 30days, we are more than happy to give you a full refund.

Bootsie

31 Jul 2016, 11:05 am

Norm, I bought the thing and making some progress. Think it’s gonna fit my needs.

FW Pro 7.1.4 (Freeway user since 2006)

Blocs 2.4 (Blocs user since July 2016)

iMac 2009

MacMini 2014

OSX 10.12.5

Andries Kuipers

31 Jul 2016, 12:30 pm

Would you like to share your experiences from time to time with us Bootsie? I bouht Sparkle already but think Blocs also a good alternative for building not too complex sites next to Muse.

2016-07-31 13:05 GMT+02:00 Bootsie <[email protected]>:

Norm, I bought the thing and making some progress. Think it’s gonna fit my needs.

Norm

31 Jul 2016, 3:10 pm

@bootsie welcome to the family :)

Blocs developments is very fast, I’d advise reporting feature requests and bugs in app just so I don’t miss them, rather than in this thread just incase you do.

Thanks for your support :)

Andries Kuipers

31 Jul 2016, 5:07 pm

@Norm I think Blocs is a well promising app Norm, I’m still using your trial. What is a great advantage and help in my eyes are your layout choices in the header/body/footer. I followed some tuts and they’re very helpfull.

2016-07-31 17:10 GMT+02:00 Norm <[email protected]>:

@bootsie welcome to the family :)

Blocs developments is very fast, I’d advise reporting feature requests and bugs in app just so I don’t miss them, rather than in this thread just incase you do.

Thanks for your support :)

Bootsie

31 Jul 2016, 5:18 pm

@Norm I allready registered for the forum.

@Andries for me Blocs2 is settled between Sparkle and Pinegrow. (more pinegrow) I think navigation menu needs some improvements, just to name one.

We’ll see what comes next, but so far I think it could be a substitute for FW.

FW Pro 7.1.4 (Freeway user since 2006)

Blocs 2.4 (Blocs user since July 2016)

iMac 2009

MacMini 2014

OSX 10.12.5

missing

31 Jul 2016, 5:28 pm

Norm,

Do you have an email address to ask you some questions? The guys from the other co’s did not have much issue giving out theirs especially under these semi-urgent conditions of finding a new co.

Thanks!

Barry

Norm

31 Jul 2016, 6:24 pm

@hoffkids I pick up all emails that go to Support[AT]blocsapp[DOT]com.

missing

31 Jul 2016, 6:30 pm

Thanks!

Todd

31 Jul 2016, 8:35 pm

Hi Norm,

I wanted to tell you Blocs has a beautiful UI. Nice work, very impressive.

Todd Office (Chicago): 312.212.3955 https://qreativ.space

My name is Norm, I’m the creator of Blocs.

Richard Lowther

17 Aug 2016, 5:15 pm

Norm - or any one else - Can I put a CMS into Blocs ? Any thoughts or suggestions welcome.

Richard

Scottin Pollock

17 Aug 2016, 5:30 pm

I use CushyCMS… all that is required is to add a ‘cushycms’ class to images and text brics.

Norm

18 Aug 2016, 10:06 am

@Todd, thanks man. Glad all my blood sweat and tears are paying off :)

@Richard we have just integrated Pulse CMS into Blocs, the beta of 2.2.0 lets you mess around with it. Basically Blocs now lets you convert parts of your pages to editable Pulse CMS blocks, so when hosted via Pulse those areas can be edited via the Pulse backend.

Pulse was a natural match for Blocs in regard to CMS integration (took me like 2 days of hacking), we are always on the look out for other CMS’s that are a good match to add support for.

@scottin I’m going to take a look at Cushy CMS now, I may be able to make adding support with Blocs a little more streamline if thats possible.

Richard Lowther

18 Aug 2016, 9:01 pm

All very encouraging and thanks for the feedback. Looks Like Blocs will be one of my future apps. I will trial it in September and, as I mentioned over on the Coffee cup thread, I am almost certain to buy it. Happy to send my French Euros home and up to the North of England. I will buy Coffee cup as well - probably. But yes Todd I will find time for Coda too as I can see the point you made about the elephant and the wisdom of becoming independent.

Best wishes and thanks to all

Richard

JDW

19 Aug 2016, 12:38 am

Norm said: “As for SEARCH, I’d recommend just using the HTML widget and adding the Google search snippets via that.”

Search is important to me, not merely the functionality alone but the look and feel as well.

So if someone were to add those Google Custom Search snippets of code via an HTML widget in Blocs, how then would one go about styling it, say to match the look and feel of the search field currently atop apple.com? Note how when you click it on the apple site, the entire navigation bar fades away leaving you only with a big search field, front and center. It’s a beautiful look and very useful too. How would one accomplish that in Blocs?

Thank you,

James Wages

Norm

19 Aug 2016, 5:13 am

@JSW just add a custom class to target the field and add some styling.

http://help.blocsapp.com/custom-classes/

You may need to add the class via the Class Manager in Blocs if you can’t directly select the object on the canvas.

http://help.blocsapp.com/class-manager/

In blocks you always have the option to create your own search code and attach it to a page, Blocks also supports adding external CSS, JS and PHP files. They don’t initiate in app but Blocs lets you connect everything up ready for deployment.

Good luck on your quest on finding a FW replacement.

Richard van Heukelum

19 Aug 2016, 12:02 pm

I can’t wait for the release of Blocs 2.2; I’m holding off 2 projects for which I will use both Blocs and PulseCMS.

–Richard

Ontwerpzaam.nl | Papendrecht, The Netherlands

Hardware: 27” iMac i5 3.1GHz / 32GB RAM / 4TB SSHD / 1GB VRAM /

Software : macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra / Freeway7 (user since Freeway1)

Has moved on with CoffeeCup Software : Site Designer / Form Designer / Content Slider / Email Designer / Sonar / Website Insight and occasionally Blocs Web Design App. Use CraftCMS.

Replaced Adobe with Affinity Publisher, Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo.

eriks

19 Aug 2016, 1:09 pm

Next week I ‘m going to build a new website and will use Blocs , I wonder how easy it will go .

Norm

19 Aug 2016, 2:09 pm

@richard try it right now: http://blocsapp.com/beta-release.html

seoras

19 Aug 2016, 4:05 pm

On 17 Aug 2016, 5:15 pm, Richard Lowther wrote:

Norm - or any one else - Can I put a CMS into Blocs ? Any thoughts or suggestions welcome.

Richard

Glad I came back to this thread as that was basically my question on Off Topic.

s

Perthshire, Scotland.

Richard van Heukelum

19 Aug 2016, 7:27 pm

On 19 Aug 2016, 2:09 pm, Norm wrote:

@richard try it right now: http://blocsapp.com/beta-release.html

The amount of new features every single update is just ridiculous … amazing.

Ontwerpzaam.nl | Papendrecht, The Netherlands

Hardware: 27” iMac i5 3.1GHz / 32GB RAM / 4TB SSHD / 1GB VRAM /

Software : macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra / Freeway7 (user since Freeway1)

Has moved on with CoffeeCup Software : Site Designer / Form Designer / Content Slider / Email Designer / Sonar / Website Insight and occasionally Blocs Web Design App. Use CraftCMS.

Replaced Adobe with Affinity Publisher, Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo.

Andries Kuipers

20 Aug 2016, 1:08 pm

I will give Blocs also a try after my holidays. Made a site in Muse, nothing wrong with Muse, but to tweak all those pages seperately to make them look OK on different devices takes more time than I thought and want. And the integration now of Pulse in 2.2. is a great advantage, well done Norm!

Will 2.2. have its fInal release in september? Its in beta now.

Andries

2016-08-19 21:26 GMT+02:00 Richard van Heukelum <[email protected]>:

On 19 Aug 2016, 2:09 pm, Norm wrote:

@richard try it right now: http://blocsapp.com/beta-release.html

The amount of new features every single update is just ridiculous … amazing.

Doty

16 Sep 2016, 4:46 pm

For all that are interested, I just received an email from Pulse CMS that they are offering 25% off the purchase of Blocs app for Pulse users. That beats the 15% discount they were offering for FreeWay users. It’s a good time to check out Blocs if you haven’t already.

Colorado Mountains, USA

FreeWay Pro FW 7.1.2 | MacBook Pro El Capitan

http://www.dotyshepard.com

Doty

16 Sep 2016, 5:15 pm

I’ve been looking over Blocs and I have all kinds of questions that can’t can’t seem to find answers to. It looks like you can integrate a shopping cart into blocs, but I can’t figure out how this is done or which shopping carts are supported. The other big question I had was if it could open FW’s html files. Or really, any html file for that matter. Has anyone tried any of these things?

From the look of things, websites are made by stacking “Brics” together. If I understand correctly, “Brics” are bits of code saved for reuse later. What I don’t see in the documentation is if it is possible to create your own Brics, or are you required to only edit the existing ones.

The killer feature to me watching the PulseCMS demo was the ability to select a div and wrap it in a Pulse container and quickly make it an editable Pulse element. What I really want to know is if I could open an existing html file and do this, or if I would have to recreate the site from scratch in Blocs first.

Colorado Mountains, USA

FreeWay Pro FW 7.1.2 | MacBook Pro El Capitan

http://www.dotyshepard.com

Andries Kuipers

16 Sep 2016, 6:05 pm

To be correct (if I read their offer well), they’re offering 25% discount on their own ‘Pulse CMS Blocsapp’ (to collaborate with Blocsapp sitebuilder) if you are already a Blocs user….

Get 25% off Blocs app with the coupon code: * PULSEROCKS*

Or did you mean the same?

Andries

2016-09-16 18:46 GMT+02:00 Doty <[email protected]>:

For all that are interested, I just received an email from Pulse CMS that they are offering 25% off the purchase of Blocs app for Pulse users. That beats the 15% discount they were offering for FreeWay users. It’s a good time to check out Blocs if you haven’t already.

Andries Kuipers

16 Sep 2016, 6:13 pm

@Doty I presume you have to build your site in Blocs from ground up and you can’t import HTML (Freeway)files to edit further. It’s not an editor but a site builder, based on Bootstrap.

You can embed iFrames if I’m correct to import a shop page, but that’s not what you want I suppose. Blocs are the containers and Brics are the content of that container. If you are familiar with coding I should think that you can make your own Brics. Perhaps there’s a developer tool available?

Andries

2016-09-16 20:05 GMT+02:00 <[email protected]>:

To be correct (if I read their offer well), they’re offering 25% discount on their own ‘Pulse CMS Blocsapp’ (to collaborate with Blocsapp sitebuilder) if you are already a Blocs user….

Get 25% off Blocs app with the coupon code: * PULSEROCKS*

Or did you mean the same?

Andries

2016-09-16 18:46 GMT+02:00 Doty <[email protected]>:

For all that are interested, I just received an email from Pulse CMS that they are offering 25% off the purchase of Blocs app for Pulse users. That beats the 15% discount they were offering for FreeWay users. It’s a good time to check out Blocs if you haven’t already.

Andries Kuipers

16 Sep 2016, 6:15 pm

I tested Pulse with Blocs, but it’s a back-end editor, that’s a pity. I would rather use a frontend editor and edit text visually.

2016-09-16 20:13 GMT+02:00 <[email protected]>:

@Doty I presume you have to build your site in Blocs from ground up and you can’t import HTML (Freeway)files to edit further. It’s not an editor but a site builder, based on Bootstrap.

You can embed iFrames if I’m correct to import a shop page, but that’s not what you want I suppose. Blocs are the containers and Brics are the content of that container. If you are familiar with coding I should think that you can make your own Brics. Perhaps there’s a developer tool available?

Andries

2016-09-16 20:05 GMT+02:00 <[email protected]>:

To be correct (if I read their offer well), they’re offering 25% discount on their own ‘Pulse CMS Blocsapp’ (to collaborate with Blocsapp sitebuilder) if you are already a Blocs user….

Get 25% off Blocs app with the coupon code: * PULSEROCKS*

Or did you mean the same?

Andries

2016-09-16 18:46 GMT+02:00 Doty <[email protected]>:

For all that are interested, I just received an email from Pulse CMS that they are offering 25% off the purchase of Blocs app for Pulse users. That beats the 15% discount they were offering for FreeWay users. It’s a good time to check out Blocs if you haven’t already.

DeltaDave

16 Sep 2016, 6:41 pm

Get 25% off Blocs app with the coupon code: * PULSEROCKS*

Thanks for that - much better than the 15% offered to FW users.

Worth a punt at $60

D

Glasgow, Scotland

iMac 27 5K El Cap and Pro Final

Doty

16 Sep 2016, 6:55 pm

Hi Dave,

Yeah, that’s what was in the email they sent to me. I didn’t post it because I wasn’t sure of the T&C. Be that as it may, I was thinking the same thing…. “worth a punt.” Their vid of Pulse on Blocs is compelling and the way you can make a section editable after the fact might be worth the price of admission.

I don’t see Blocs as something I’d use full-time, but for a quick site that needs CMS I’m considering it. I’d be interested to hear how you get along.

Colorado Mountains, USA

FreeWay Pro FW 7.1.2 | MacBook Pro El Capitan

http://www.dotyshepard.com

Norm

17 Sep 2016, 6:28 am

Hey folks,

Blocs doesn’t open HTML files, it has its own file format which contains entire sites in a single file. Blocs requires a specific HTML structure to work with files so it’s unlikely that you will ever be able to open a random site in it and start building.

As for shopping carts, Blocs doesn’t ship with a built in solution but you can use the HTML widget to embed additional code, you can also attach extra JS resources to page headers. The introduction of CMS’s such as Pulse and October CMS mean it’s now possible to add shopping cart functionality via a CMS plugin once your site is live, I’m pretty sure both offer shopping plugins. Please note: this functionality is not supported directly in the Blocs design environment.

And Brics, they are just your standard webpage elements, it’s a library that continues to grow, at some point in the future we may open this out to allow 3rd party brics, but right now it’s just what we provide.

Blocs is still very much a stand alone app, Pulse is just one of the 4 CMS’s we added support for, we have more on the way. So just to clarify this is not a special version of the app made just for Pulse.

As for the discount, Pulse offered Blocs users 25% off Pulse so we matched the deal for Pulse users wanting to Buy Blocs. Our discount for freeway users was not somthing we publisized out of respect for Softpress.

A workflow to consider: a lot of devs use Blocs as a springboard, get all the basics in place export and then fine tune in a code editor. This may suite some of your needs.

Don’t think of Blocs as a punt, I run a solid business and Blocs is one of the faster and most actively developed apps on the market in this space :)

Hope that helps :)

Norm

17 Sep 2016, 6:31 am

Oh and these are the current CMS’s you can use in Blocs 2.2

http://help.blocsapp.com/category/cms/

Doty

17 Sep 2016, 2:51 pm

@ Richard How are your new Blocs sites with Pulse integration coming along?

@Norm No offense intended with the “punt” comment. Quite the contrary, actually…. Like many FW users I imagine, I’m spending quite a bit of financial resources and time resources on new design software. It’s overwhelming, but Blocs is certainly a contender. The short demo period is stressful, especially for those of us with other jobs besides web design. It’s nearly impossible to carve out sufficient time (within consecutive days) for testing a new app with such a short trial period. For me is, I’m most likely going to buy the software just to give it a good kick of the tires and if it doesn’t work out, with this new 25% off promotion, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Colorado Mountains, USA

FreeWay Pro FW 7.1.2 | MacBook Pro El Capitan

http://www.dotyshepard.com

Richard van Heukelum

17 Sep 2016, 6:22 pm

I’m currently building 2 sites with Blocs/Pulse and they’re doing great. The way Pulse is supported in Blocs is amazingly ‘simple’ from a users perspective. Ofcourse Blocs has it’s limits by being stuck with blocs, but hey … same also goes for all template based apps, and to be honest … I’d rather work with Blocs any day.

For more fancy stuff I’ll rely on one of CoffeeCup’s apps like Foundation Framer, Site Designer or Bootstrap Builder.

Ontwerpzaam.nl | Papendrecht, The Netherlands

Hardware: 27” iMac i5 3.1GHz / 32GB RAM / 4TB SSHD / 1GB VRAM /

Software : macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra / Freeway7 (user since Freeway1)

Has moved on with CoffeeCup Software : Site Designer / Form Designer / Content Slider / Email Designer / Sonar / Website Insight and occasionally Blocs Web Design App. Use CraftCMS.

Replaced Adobe with Affinity Publisher, Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo.

Richard van Heukelum

17 Sep 2016, 6:23 pm

stuck with blocs should be stuck with bricks

Ontwerpzaam.nl | Papendrecht, The Netherlands

Hardware: 27” iMac i5 3.1GHz / 32GB RAM / 4TB SSHD / 1GB VRAM /

Software : macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra / Freeway7 (user since Freeway1)

Has moved on with CoffeeCup Software : Site Designer / Form Designer / Content Slider / Email Designer / Sonar / Website Insight and occasionally Blocs Web Design App. Use CraftCMS.

Replaced Adobe with Affinity Publisher, Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo.

JDW

19 Sep 2016, 6:08 am

Richard, please define “fancy stuff.” :-)

JDW

7 Apr 2017, 4:55 am

Norm, I see you are preparing to release version 2.4 of Blocs. If you don’t mind, I have a question…

When I run the blocs website through Google’s PageSpeed Insights, it gets only 32/100 on Mobile and 31/100 on Desktop:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fblocsapp.com

In comparison, the top page of my existing Freeway site gets 97/100 for the Mobile score and 77/100 on Desktop, and that’s with images not being optimized (actually, mine are, just optimized for 144ppi retina). And the only other thing I have not addressed is Google Analytics, which won’t allow me to leverage browser caching — otherwise, I’d probably get 100/100 on Mobile, despite the fact my site isn’t Responsive!

Anyway, I am just curious as to your thoughts on website optimizations using Blocs. If someone moves to Blocs, are they going to see PageSpeed Insight scores shoot down into the 30’s?

Thanks,

James W.

Norm

7 Apr 2017, 6:12 am

Hey James, yes 2.4 is just about to go into beta.

So the Blocs website was made with version 2.0 of Blocs I’ve been meaning to update it as would be a lot better now if I built it in 2.3.

Anyway , the score! So a lot of warnings refer to minifying the HTML, CSS and JS. Blocs can do this on export but with the Blocs landing page I opted not to minifying because I know some will want to inspect code quality. Exporting and minifying alone would probably bump the site into the 70s. Then switch gzip on and extend the cache ( server side stuff) and it’ll most likely pop into the 90s. I might switch those on actualy.

Anyway as you can see the Blocs landing page isn’t a great example for web optimisation but that’s partially intentially as I stated above regarding allowing folks to inspect source code. In general Blocs sites are pretty fast with good hosting and can be optimised to score much higher scores quit literally by switching minifying on when you export.

On a side note, really glad to see FreeWay return from the Flames. I look forward to what comes next.

JDW

17 Apr 2017, 8:28 am

Norm,

I’ve not yet purchased Blocs but spent time testing v2.4b3 today. A couple hours ago, I sent a bug report to you pertaining to menus. I should add that I find it curious that even though hover-highlighting of text in the primary/main menu is enabled, there is no highlighting at all on the submenu items UNLESS I shrink the page width to get the 3 bars and then when I click the 3 bars I get all the contents of my menus to highlight as I hover over them with the arrow cursor. There seems to be a consistency problem here regarding highlighting.

I also am seeing some strange shifting going on as shown in this ScreenShot:

https://cl.ly/k1Hn/Image%202017-04-17%20at%203.58.51%20PM.png

Other Feedback…

(1) How do I add a GOOGLE MAP in Blocs? In Freeway it’s easy. I just sketch an HTML box then add the Google Maps action. That action lets me assign Longiture and Latitude data, add an API key if I want, decide which overlays I want, and let’s me choose Language (e.g., Japanese). There’s yet another action in Freeway that allows me to add a Google Maps Marker, so our company name and address pops up above the marked location, for example.

(2) How do I add ANCHORS (e.g., clicking a link would allow one to be taken not only to a specific web page but also to a specific point on that web page)?

(3) Earlier in this FreewayTalk thread you told me the following about adding SITE SEARCH:

“As for search, I’d recommend just using the HTML widget and adding the Google search snippets via that.”

But how do I access that “HTML widget” (which would be for adding code alone) and then where do I find the tools in Blocs that allow me to add TEXT FIELDS, BUTTONS and such?

This is important to me because Freeway has long allowed me to implement search and form items without much fuss. To test out the Freeway-generated search field on my site, click in the bottom left corner of my site and type “alarm” and hit return to see the search results appear — which is what I would want to replicate in Blocs:

https://kiramek.com

Freeway also allows me to use buttons for purposes other than search. For example, I can create a button with Freeway’s button tool, put it somewhere on the page, style the button with CSS, then assign a link to the button (e.g., to open a PDF, an overlay atop the existing page, to open a new page, to jump to a point on a page via anchor, etc.) Freeway also enables me to rather easily create a login page like this using FORM FIELDS and BUTTONS:

https://visionsecurity.jp/login.html

(4) Adding a YouTube VIDEO to a page is troublesome. I checked the Blocs documentation for “VIDEO” and it only talks about BACKGROUND videos, which is not what I want. I then see that video can be added using HERO (which unfortunately comes with a navigation bar along with the video) or GALLERY, which puts way to many videos on the page AND does not let me size the video to the dimensions I want. Am I missing something or is the video feature incomplete?

Also, how do I add MP3 AUDIO? I use Freeway to accomplish that now, putting that content in a page overlay. You can go to the following page on my site and click the model numbers to make that overlay appear:

https://visionsecurity.jp/en/sirens/index.html

(5) How do I easy add TABULAR CONTENT? Examples on my existing website:

https://kiramek.com/japanese/new.html

https://kiramek.com/japanese/products/SL30T.html

https://kiramek.com/japanese/download.html

I’m talking about adding an Excel-like table. Freeway has a tool that does that, although it does not built the table entirely in CSS like it should. It uses [tr] [td] and so on. But at least Freeway gives me the ability to deal with tabular data. With Blocs, the only way I could do it is add a downloadable PDF to the page, but I would prefer to have a CSS3 table embedded in the page itself.

(6) How do I create “COLLAPSABLE CONTENT” in Blocs? In Freeway, I use an Action that allows me to click on something and then an overlay appears showing the content. But on a responsive site it would be better to do that as Apple does it on their site — you click a blue circle with a “+” in it to expand hidden content. For example, load this page and scroll down to the “Learn More” parts that show the blue circle, then click on the circle:

https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/

(7) A need for “FONT SETS” in Blocs…

I use Japanese all the time on the web and is why I questioned you about that in my opening post in this thread. You told me at the time to “just bolt on CSS.” Since the concept of Blocs is “make it super easy for anyone to use” it’s obviously best if the app can handle basic tasks like Font Sets. Freeway has long down that. Here’s a screenshot taken in one of my Freeway documents:

https://cl.ly/k1Ml/Image%202017-04-17%20at%202.52.15%20PM.png

After I created that “Gothic” font set, I then need only select text and choose “Gothic” from Freeway’s FONT popup (in the Inspector) and then Freeway creates the CSS file for me when I Preview or Upload. No need for me to do separate grunt work of creating a dedicated CSS file for Japanese.

It’s different for WEB FONTS, of course. But there is a Freeway Action that takes care of that rather nicely:

http://actionsforge.com/actions/caxton

But even without that Action I can just copy and paste the FontSquirrel-generated CSS into my Freeway document for whatever Web Fonts I wish to use. However, I almost never use Web Fonts for Japanese because there are thousands of characters versus the limited character set in English. Japanese fonts are usually 1MB or larger — too big to use as web fonts. That’s why Font Sets allow web designers to pick standard fonts we know are on every PC and Mac and then build that into the site.

As it stands now, if I type Japanese it looks good within Blocs and also when I preview in Safari, but in Blocs the font menu shows “Helvetica” which is not true since the Helvetica font contains no Japanese characters. That is very misleading and of course one will get unexpected results in browsers across different platforms as a result. That’s why the addition of Font Sets would potentially solve that problem.

(8) The only other thing that left me scratching my head was how to create a NEWS TICKER and how to display or hide content using a COOKIE. Both of those things appear on the top page of my VISION site here:

https://visionsecurity.jp

The ticker is found toward the bottom next to “TOPICS” and the overlay appears only once every few weeks based on the expiration of a browser cookie that I set in JavaScript.

CONCLUSION Despite the problems I’ve listed, there’s a lot to love about Blocs. And I say that as a veteran Freeway user. I like Freeway but it’s not as easy as Blocs to create a fully Responsive Site. No other web design app makes it as simple (for my poor brain) as Blocs. While testing v2.4b3 today, I went through my Freeway sites and picked out the MOST BASIC of needs and then tried to see if I could recreate such in Blocs. This post is my feedback to you regarding various problems I had during testing.

—James Wages

FreewayPro_User

26 Apr 2017, 2:41 pm

On 17 Apr 2017, 8:28 am, JDW wrote:

• I’ve not yet purchased Blocs but spent time testing v2.4b3 today.

• Despite the problems I’ve listed, there’s a lot to love about Blocs. And I say that as a veteran Freeway user.

• I like Freeway but it’s not as easy as Blocs to create a fully Responsive Site.

• No other web design app makes it as simple (for my poor brain) as Blocs.

JDW,

I see you dove in further with the Blocs Beta or perhaps you became an actual Blocs user:

https://forum.blocsapp.com/users/JDW/activity

I’m looking forward to your continued feedback and insight on Blocs from your perspective as a veteran Freeway Pro user.

Keep us updated on your progress, findings, comparisons and thoughts. I would certainly prove to be insightful to others.

;-)

JDW

26 Apr 2017, 9:47 pm

I haven’t become a full-fledged Blocs user yet. But I must admit that back in 1999 what drew me to Freeway was its extreme ease of use. To me at the time, Freeway was as intuitive and easy to use on the Mac as MacPaint was in 1984. That’s why I have continued to use Freeway Pro all these years. In like manner, Blocs is extremely easy to use when it comes to building Responsive websites, but unfortunately Freeway is not.

Softpress is back from the netherworld, but we’ve seen nothing about how a new version may approach the building of Responsive websites more easily.

I first started thinking about Blocs in June 2016 when Softpress decided to throw in the towel. And although I was attracted to Blocs at the time, I still have a lot of sites built in Freeway to maintain. I promised myself at the time that when the next major new version of Blocs came out, I would start investigating. The reason I am so intensely investigating Blocs now is because version 2.4 is that “major revision” I was waiting for. Thankfully, Norm made his beta versions public, allowing me to dive in and test, and to make suggestions for improvement. I would strongly suggest that all Freeway users do the same. Why not try to make something better if you can? You never know if you’re going to end up using it.

The only major thing that’s missing from Blocks right now is a responsive “table creation tool.” I use tabular data a lot on my existing Freeway sites, and it’s easy to make old style non-responsive tables in Freeway. So I would want the equivalent feature and ease of use in any responsive web design tool I ultimately choose.

Anyone who wants to follow my thoughts on Blocs can just go over to the Blocs forum and see my posts there.

Look, I’ve been a Freeway user for a very long time and I would love to see Freeway present me with something that could rival the ease of use that Blocs offers when it comes to building Responsive websites. But I can’t just sit around waiting. I feel compelled to do something, and I don’t think it’s wrong to work towards making Blocs a better app. I would be happy to do the same if Softpress decides to make their betas public.

Richard van Heukelum

27 Apr 2017, 8:18 am

On 26 Apr 2017, 9:47 pm, JDW wrote:

I would be happy to do the same if Softpress decides to make their betas public.

I wonder if the ‘old’ beta bunch still is in consideration when it comes to beta-testing ‘any’ new app?

– Richard

Ontwerpzaam.nl | Papendrecht, The Netherlands

Hardware: 27” iMac i5 3.1GHz / 32GB RAM / 4TB SSHD / 1GB VRAM /

Software : macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra / Freeway7 (user since Freeway1)

Has moved on with CoffeeCup Software : Site Designer / Form Designer / Content Slider / Email Designer / Sonar / Website Insight and occasionally Blocs Web Design App. Use CraftCMS.

Replaced Adobe with Affinity Publisher, Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo.

Norm

28 Apr 2017, 5:33 pm

Just to chime in here, It has been great having JDW putting forward ideas and pointing out the issues that still need a little work in the latest beta. I hope he continues to do the same, as he, has been extremely helpful and detailed with all of his feedback.

Blocs is very much a rough diamond but It’s getting there. Hopefully at some point it’ll be a good match for those looking for an alternative.

JDW

29 Apr 2017, 2:18 am

Thank you, Norm.

Folks, I can only say positive things about Norm. He is active in the Blocs forum, responds to suggestions and bug reports quickly, and encourages suggestions. He moves at a rapid pace. It’s exciting to see what he’s doing with Blocs and how enthusiastic the Blocs community is in the forums there. Be sure to give the Blocs app a look and don’t be shy with your feedback.

Best wishes,

James Wages

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Bootsie

30 Apr 2017, 8:22 am

Well said James.

FW Pro 7.1.4 (Freeway user since 2006)

Blocs 2.4 (Blocs user since July 2016)

iMac 2009

MacMini 2014

OSX 10.12.5