Why Webflow and Not Any Other Traditional Stacks?

What is Webflow?

Webflow is a point and click website creator that comes with an easy user interface to allow non programmer to quickly assemble a website. It is similar to some to WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website creators like wix, squarespace and weebly but a whole lot more features. The other end is Wordpress which is the behemoth in non technical website creation however Wordpress is not consider a true non technical tool. There is some level of technical knowledge to setup a hosted Wordpress website properly. On top of that, Wordpress does require technical knowledge to maintain it. Wordpress is an entire different story which I will probably write about it in another post. Webflow fits right in the middle of the above 2 ends. It allow non technical users to be able to setup a website and at the same a technical user will be able to do much more with it. By technical I meant, user with HTML CSS and Javascript knowledge will be able to create amazing front end website that will cater to 90% of all websites requirements. To top it of, it ships with a full fledge content management system for it blogging platform and recently launch the e-commerce platform which I will not go into as I do not have experience setting up. However with my knowledge on Webflow, I will like to think the usage experience will be the same as it other services.

What’s the catch?

Surely there is a catch and yes there is. There is a cost attached to using Webflow. To make thing worse, the pricing structure is rather confusing. I will again leave the details in another post but in general, it will cost around S$S300 ~ S$500 a year to have your blog/website hosted with Webflow. So i choose this platform over others? Surely I can create a simple website using the conventional coding stacks.

What I could have chosen?

My initial plan was to create my new website with NUXTjs which is a Vuejs oriented framework, push it to my Github and host it with Netlify. But whenI had anther project that I needed to create a professional portfolio website for public figure quickly, I choose Webflow as I find that maintaining it after the launch will be much easier for the owner of the website. Furthermore as I was not charging to create the website, I thought I should not make the long term maintenance challenging by creating the website with a traditional stack. Also I have always wanted to get my hands on working with Webflow, I jumped onto the opportunity.

My experience

The experience with Webflow was amazing good. To be honest, the initial learning curve was pretty steep. The layout of the user interface take a while to get used to. Clearly the founders of Webflow wanted a similar user interface as with most Adobe products. Those that have prior experience with Photoshop or Illustrator will find it familiar. But once I get the hang of it, I was surprised by the amount of details it packs as compared to traditional hard coding a website. It almost feels like a prototyping software but Webflow is able to churn out the raw codes which when export it and checked, I find it ok for a platform like this. The important thing is that, it took so much lesser time to get the final website ready for shipping. Setting up a blog section was a breeze. The ability to create template and present your blog posts as collection lists was really simple and to be able to see the visual presentation to the front end quite an experience. I don’t have to go fine tune tweak my CSS code for the loop to iterate my post from a database to look just right in the page save me lot of time (haha I am not a CSS pro) This works extremely well for a non designer like me. You all should by now knows that I am not design train hence the simple web layout of this website. It turns out great for me with such an easy layout tools. Webflow content management system is simpler as compared to wordpress. You just have to define the type of fields and link it to the front end. That will then serves as admin layout for the blog creation page.

Conclusion

So the simple reason why I used Webflow is because I don’t wish to spend too much time on a front end technology I know I will hardly use after this project as I am more into enterprise applications and processes. I had quite a fair bit experience with Wordpress and over the years, it gives me more problems than I like as Wordpress is not so much a hands free solution. With Webflow I find the cost can be justify as it ships with pretty solid hosting, SSL, CMS and security of the hosting. These benefits takes away a lot of headaches for me and allows me to just focus on creating content like this. I also found out there is a growing number of web designers that uses Webflow professional to create websites for their clients hence I believe it has mature to not just for end users but also for professional usage.‍