In the rapidly evolving software development world, it seems like website builders are about a dime a dozen. And quite frankly, most of them promise to provide universal solutions for any design challenge but fall short on both the design and development sides.
The biggest problem with site builders is the code they generate is mostly basic (and sometimes just junk).
But this isn’t the case with Webflow. When building a website, teams often use a few different tools: one for design, another for prototyping, and yet another for writing front-end code for the web. Webflow attempts to simplify the entire process of web design by allowing users to design, build, and launch responsive websites visually and in an effortless manner.
Built with a “code-first” philosophy, Webflow offers a range of smart features that can solve problems that you may encounter with your web design. It’s more powerful, scalable, and versatile enough to help the development team to make the best use of your available resources.
If you’re ready to take full advantage of Webflow, here is a tour of the various distinct features and benefits you can have with this incredibly powerful tool.
What is Webflow?
Webflow is a visual web development platform that allows you to build an interface using drag-and-drop components, and then edit those components in a way that feels more like a visual design app than writing code.
In Webflow, rather than your working canvas being lines of code, you’re actually looking at a visual output of what the behind-the-scenes code is creating–the actual webpage you’re building.
And rather than directly editing–or even seeing–the lines of code, Webflow offers an inspector panel with a graphical user interface with fields, sliders, drop-downs, and everything else you need to adjust the code (without needing to know the code itself) to produce the perfect interface. As a result, Webflow to build a page feels more like using an interface design program than it does like writing code.
Webflow also doubles as a hosting platform, content management system, eCommerce platform, and more–combining design, animation, SEO tools, content management, and eCommerce tools into a single visual web development platform. It empowers coders and non-coders alike to create and promote websites of all kinds in a faster, more collaborative, and cost-effective way.
Webflow isn’t only designed to launch responsive websites, but it’s also a great prototyping tool to deliver intuitive and interactive mock-ups. Users can display their ideas, export their code, and use it anywhere.
What Makes Webflow Stand Out from Other Tools?
Webflow is a great tool for anyone looking to visually build a powerful website, microsite, web application, prototype, or landing page with no coding.
But, what makes Webflow unique?
Webflow Designer and Editor
Webflow makes things easy for you to design by offering a library of pre-built and customizable components. The platform also offers a series of helpful tutorials to help you get started quickly. Webflow University is the gold standard for engaging, fun, and well-structured how-to articles and videos for the Webflow platform.
Simply pick a style and color, and you’ll be dropped right in. It’s more of a photoshop-like interface that allows you to automatically generate semantic markup with simple drag-and-drop HTML elements onto a canvas and styling CSS properties.
Additionally, the platform features a pared-down editor that can be helpful when making edits to your website without interfering or breaking the entire site structure. Editors can edit content in place, within the actual page design, giving clarity to what the finished page will look like after publishing, and eliminating the need for non-technical editors to filter requests through their web development team.
Another unique feature of Webflow is the CMS, which allows you to create and add any content you want without being limited to templates, complex coding languages, or blog-centric content structures.
Despite all the strengths accorded to WordPress, users are often locked into the default theme’s templates and styles and require manual rewriting of the underlying template files or adding third-party plugins to customize individual elements like post fields.
Webflow CMS, by contrast, offers schemas, which users can quickly build and bind to the design of their choice. This allows them to define the style and structure of their dynamic content without messing with PHP, plugins, or databases.
Developers will love using the API on this tool to make even more webhooks and functions. Users can also create collections or reusable templates to get them started, fill them with items, and include them in the website using the Collection List element.
Coding or not, this tool has plenty to offer.
When is Webflow a Good Choice for Front End Developers?
If you’re a front-end developer, you may ask yourself “why Webflow?” And if you have already used it for your design workflow, chances are you’d like to see your fellow developers jump on the bandwagon too.
Here are four reasons why Webflow is a great tool for developers.
- Webflow Lets You Design Hundreds of Pages at Once. With Webflow, developers can create their design with real content. Team templates are an amazing tool for users to build a design system for a team of web designers. Easily capture icon guidelines, typographic styles, desired content, color palettes, and every other aspect of the visual brand you want to kickstart your project. Your team can even create different styles of interactive components such as drop-downs, tabs, sliders, forms, and more, and even clone the style guide or delete any elements you no longer need. This creates consistency in design and speeds up the entire workflow of designing and deploying new sites and pagers. Once you’ve built your design visually, you can edit it, update what you want, and hit publish to push your site live.
- Modern Layout Tools for Workflow Flexibility. Webflow provides a wide variety of options when it comes to design and layout. The platform utilizes modern tools such as flexbox and CSS grid as first-class citizens, which means that developers can build their websites in any way they like. Since Webflow makes the design frameworks visual, developers aren’t compelled to invest a lot of time looking into the linguistic structure, or writing endless lines of code in one spot then checking the outcome elsewhere. Instead, Webflow allows them to view how design changes may affect the website under construction.
- Bridges the Gap Between Design and Development. Front-end developers and designers have to work hand-in-hand to bring the best design to life. This collaboration can be extremely difficult and time-consuming. The process of designing static mockups and developers having to code them to match what you need, plus the endless rounds of edits is cumbersome. Webflow allows you to design real CSS and HTML. This means you can send the dev team an already coded semantic version of your design. No need for translation. Making changes is easy and quick.
If you’re a web developer, finding a reliable platform that provides you with the flexibility to build rigorous websites is not easy. They either have a complicated setup process and feature an insanely confusing user interface or are easy to use but allow for little to no customization at all.
Webflow solves this problem for you by making the front-end development visual with intuitive UI and modern layout tools to help create websites easily and with little to no coding knowledge. This makes developers and designers collaborate and create quality digital products much faster.
If you need help setting up your Webflow product, or aren’t sure which technology is right for you, schedule a free consultation with Camber to see how you can bring your idea to life.
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