Recently there has been a lot of buzz about Macaw – a WYSIWYG web design tool which claims to output â€œhand written qualityâ€ HTML and CSS codes. There are quite a few positive feedback, preview articles and blog posts about Macaw. It was even successfully funded on kickstarter – one of the largest crowd funding platforms. Some of tutorials were also written to show how to use Macaw even though it was only in beta version when these tutorials were written.
As a web and interface designer, I would say coding is not my strongest skill. For that reason, Macaw seems to be the web design app that I have been hoping all along, a tool which I thought would save me hours of coding and frustration. Having been following Macaw for nearly a year, I was so excited to finally purchase when they announced the 1.0 version (I took advantage of the pre-sale price which was $129). Frankly, I was a bit disappointed and skeptical about Macaw after there were many negative feedback on Macaw forum not long after the pre-sale ended.
The time finally came for me to try Macaw out when I was assigned to create a simple one-page website which needs to be responsive. I knew that Macaw will not be able to create a complex responsive website but for a simple page like this, I thought I would give it a try.
The first impression when using Macaw is its interface looks quite similar to Photoshop – the bread and butter tool of every web/interface designer uses, which is good. The HTML and CSS codes that it outputs are also very semantic and clean which I like as well. However, I soon realised that this tool should not be used for a major project, at least for now! It is super buggy: crashes, objects change theirs positions on one or more breakpoints. The UI is confusing. It actually took me a while to understand how Macaw works; there are things that I still donâ€™t understand. Their documentation does not help much either and their forum is full of complaints and bug reports instead of useful stuff that can actually help me figure out how the tool works.
All in all, I like the idea behind Macaw and I think it has the potential to be â€œThe super hot web designer tool in the futureâ€ as Jeffery Zeldman â€“ â€œthe godfather of the webâ€ said on his website but for now, it will not be the tool I use everyday for creating responsive web layouts.