"Why don't you just...?"

Very often we get feature requests about something we could add to Sparkle. Sometimes they even go as far as suggesting the exact CSS feature to use, or ready-made component to grab and integrate.

This is generally called the “why don’t you just” suggestion, that underestimates what a full solution to a technical problem looks like. There are also considerations about consequences, support and strategy, but they’re less interesting than the technical challenge.

Let’s take for example the video component in Sparkle. You add it in the canvas and tweak a few options, and you’re good to go. The whole point of Sparkle is that it’s that fast, you don’t need to know what complexity a checkbox hides.

So the video component has 3 main video types (youtube, vimeo, mp4), each can be embedded in the page in 3 different ways (direct embed, click+play, click+lightbox), with 2 different player “themes” (the plyr.io based on-video controls or native browser controls). That alone means 3x3x2=18 variations, that have a few similarities but a lot of different underlying code.

Adding one feature to the video component means ensuring it works with every one of the 18 combinations, and potentially changing their behavior where it breaks.

Not only that, virtually every combination of Sparkle features and options is legitimate. If you think they don’t interact with each other, you’d be surprised. Animated text wrapped around a rotated video in a stick-to-top header? You got it.

But that’s all cool, we think about it a lot and work on solving it once and for all, so it creates an abstraction layer, a platform you can build on without needing to know all the underlying fiddly details.

Please keep the feedback coming, always welcome. But please trust us on finding the most appropriate route to the solution.

10 Likes

Maybe it could help to create a section with tutorials. We all could participate and show our small tricks what we usually use in Sparkle.

1 Like

We do have tutorial in the documentation (translated to a few languages as well!), and anybody is welcome to post a tutorial in this community.

But this is not about tips or techniques, this is about people offering css as if to say “look it’s simple why haven’t you done this yet”, not realizing it’s affecting a lot more than what it aims to solve.

1 Like

Thanks so much for all you and your team do to make Sparkle the outstanding app it is!
It’s really made my life much easier and opened new creative possibilities! Keep up the good work! Looking forward to what’s coming in the version 3 “cookie jar” down the road!

1 Like

@ Duncan: good explanation of all the work that goes into making a good app like Sparkle.

Funny thing is that web-developers should be aware of how different just thinking of something is, compared to the actual execution. Any decent website has the problem, there’s always more to it than you thought at the start… :wink:

That’s absolutely key, and something I wanted to touch on but forgot.

Most quick hacks you find online about html/css/js solutions are about individual scenarios. Those are what make web development in general an artisanal endeavor. Many people absolutely enjoy the challenge, and it’s what fuels consulting and frankly a lot of the costs of building a unique website.

We built Sparkle because we find that way of building websites a huge waste, a constant reinvention of the wheel.

Sparkle takes an engineering approach at web coding. Every piece fits with every other piece by design, because it’s built and tested to do so.

3 Likes

For me, this explains it the best. Sparkle is the car, truck analogy in a way. For most people the car is what they need, that’s Sparkle. It is versatile enough and gets you where you want to go, improves with new models. There are third party ways to do the things the truck was designed to do. For some the truck is the car, and vice versa, but neither is totally suited. Then there is the El Camino. Again, this is how I see it. Ain’t America great?

Duncan summed up the things perfectly. Some people think that create and improve a web editor (correct me if the term is wrong) is easy because it “only” needs a computer. However, whatever the way we use to build and then, time after time to improve something, it requests a vast amount of time, patience, reflexion, tests… and so on.

As an artist, a painter, I understand perfectly the point of view of Duncan because some (a lot?) of people consider this a a hobbie like if it was something easy to do. It is not. There is the creation by itself, but also all the process leading to the creation like observation, analysis, reflexion, preparation… and so more.

To be an artist is a true job especially if we are commiting completely in it. Develop and design a web editor is exactly the same.

Please keep in mind that you only have to pay the licence for Sparkle, the price only varying depending of the needs, and there is also a free version. But, keep also in mind that maybe one day we will have to pay a small subscription, not only to help Sparkle growing but also because of the vast amount of work and the commitment it requires to make Sparkle grow and becoming better and better.

2 Likes

I can’t agree more with @duncan!!! I have seen and experienced the many ways of developing websites and using CMSs, but in the end it was a rubicks cube; precarious and not understood or appreciated by the average website owner… and then in the end they got me to edit the website anyways!

I have had urges now and again to hack Sparkle by introducing CODE, but then stopped to think why! At best nowadays I use a bit of CSS here and there and third-party code to integrate ecommerce but for the rest I feel comfortable and still very, very, very creative in working within Sparkle’s parameters… and I can see, and I experience everyday the cleverness and vision behind Sparkle and I’m impressed! :slight_smile:

So I’m more than happy to wait and see how Duncan and his Team create the next bit of magic and bake it into Sparkle! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Well said both. Lets leave @duncan and Co to get on with all the hard work, so that we can see the benefits further down the line.

Best,
Scott

1 Like

Duncan’s razor-sharp focus continues to impress. It is a delight to use Sparkle to cook everyday websites up fast.

1 Like