Pinegrow Web Editor is currently the main application for my web design workflow and as a preamble, I guess it’s important to tell you that I was already using the application for more than one year before joining Matjaz and the Pinegrow team.
I’m Emmanuel ARNOUD and the following are my personal thoughts and answers in perspective of some comments I’ve read here and there on the web.
Note: I will update this publication frequently.
Pinegrow software has a steep learning curve, you really need to get familiar with it’s user interface to get anything done. It is marketed to be an alternative to webbuilders such as xxxxxx but that’s only true if you fully (want to) understand HTML, CSS and a bit PHP …
At first sight, Pinegrow looks like a “drag and drop page builder” but it is a lot more than that: Pinegrow is a true and innovative Integrated Development Environment for the web.
With Pinegrow you can visually design layouts AND hand-code websites with full freedom regarding ANY of your webdesign choices. But liberty requires a counterpart, that of learning some fundamentals of web development.
To start creating awesome websites with Pinegrow, in addition to grasping and understanding the application interface, a standard knowledge of HTML and CSS is highly recommended.
However, It seems important to point out that any particular learning is not limited to the use of Pinegrow. Your new knowledge will become an asset in the subsequent use of ANY web development tool as well as in your capacity to handle future issues with your web design work. (compatibility with different browsers, responsive web, last minute patches etc …)
I call this knowledge interoperability.
The UI is a ugly/a real pain/not nice …
As a member of the Pinegrow team, my thinking may seem biased but I’m obviously aware of the weaknesses of the current user interface.
At the same time, as a web professional, the versatility, ease of use and reliability of the application as well as the quality of the output are currently what matters most to me.
Pinegrow Web Editor is still a teenager app and the user experience is going to mature and evolve considerably in the coming months. (Stay tuned for V3!)
I don’t see a lot of support w/ Pinegrow to build websites that WOW the audience. I am looking at xxxxx because of all the interactivity “USER EXPERIENCE” (animations, hovers, triggers, “cool sh*t” that make you want to scroll through the page again AND/OR revisit. That should be the goal. In my opinion.
If you want to add animations to your websites, you can use the excellent AnimatorPRO plugin for Pinegrow (This is a third-party commercial extension).
But Pinegrow Web Editor can also handle all the best animation scripts, parallax scripts, sliders scripts, commercial webfonts and even more just because it’s a standard development tool where your have the freedom to directly edit the code.
Note: Be aware that while eye-candy and glitters are nice and hyped, I personally consider that the content and the useful info from your websites should be the “cool sh*t” that makes me want to scroll through the page again AND/OR revisit. 😉
At first it feels like, there’s 100 things you need to figure out to get your template into WordPress. And it stays that way with every new project.
There are somewhat difficult “must-do’s” before you can get simple things working in Pinegrow, such as enabling WordPress functionality and configuring your template.
At the time of writing this publication WordPress propels almost 25% of the worldwide web. This is the open source CMS with the world largest community of developers and one of the best documentation I have ever seen.
In my humble opinion, a few years ago (and before Pinegrow WP), starting the development of a WordPress theme was a true initiatory journey.
Indeed, beyond mastering HTML, CSS and PHP, any traditional developer also needed to seriously master the specifics of WordPress.
In 2016, there are now several ways to build a site with WordPress without any special knowledge. The page-builders plugins like Visual Composer or Beaver Builder are the perfect example that it is not always necessary to learn new coding languages or new technologies to build a website.
But if these solutions are interesting and can provide instant results, they are nonetheless limited to the only options made available by their developers.
Because web development is full of complex but useful little tricks, ultimately for the web designer, the use of page builders often generate the frustration of not being able to fully OR easily implement original ideas and quite often leads to a big disappointment regarding the overall site performances.
To date, Pinegrow WP offers a unique and innovative approach that allows developers to use simple HTML templates on which they can visually add WordPress actions and functions. But not only that! Advanced developers can also easily add any custom functions and snippets which are not (yet) available through the visual interface.
The result is exported in the form of a true WordPress theme, in line with the WordPress development guidelines.
A theme created with Pinegrow WP is usable on any self-hosted WordPress setup. There are no shortcodes stored in a database and no plugin to install and frequently update. It is a real theme whose complexity and functionality only depends on the level of efforts that you have provided during its development.
Concretely, with time and experience, there are no limits to power and creativity: EVERYTHING is possible (and your data belongs to you…).
Pinegrow is designed by and for programmers, that is something you definitely “feel” using the software.
True. Originally, Pinegrow is the work of a single web developer who wished to improve his workflow by optimizing the management of repetitive and binding spots.
Because of its versatility, the learning curve can be a bit steep but the behavior of the features is logical and there is no over-complicated or very specific processes.
Note: Because Interoperability is a key point, there are no proprietary file type or specific database in Pinegrow Web Editor. Your project files are standard HTML & CSS and fully belongs to you. At any moment, you can decide to move to another web development solution without having to worry about anything.
Pinegrow is full of bugs.
This statement is unfortunately very vague …
Pinegrow Web Editor is a desktop application available for MacOS, Windows and Ubuntu Linux. (and you don’t need to be online to use it!)
I professionally use it over 8 hours a day and while I agree that some of the very advanced features can be tough to master, the amount of real issues found over the versions is very low and most of the feedback we receive comes from a lack of the fundamentals of web development that I’ve previously mentioned.
With a #slack community, a community forum and a technical support through email, the Pinegrow team is frequently available to discuss and quickly fix any bugs that are submitted including those found while using the 7 days trial version.
Feel free to share this publication and post your comments and questions. 😉