My current website development tool is RapidWeaver.
Yesterday, I stumbled upon Blocs and I am really impressed by how nice and easy everything is handled. I tried the demo and I got convinced Blocs worths the switch from RapidWeaver, despite the lack of plugins/integrations at this point.
I need to create a couple of websites that are W3C compliant (0 errors) and follow the WCAG norm (v2.0 AA). The problem with citizen developer platforms is that it would not be viable to manually correct errors spotted by those tools, since the corrections won’t exist in the .bloc files. In RW, I use tested plugins/stacks/themes and this is why the errors I get are very few, when 1 time I could not get a workaround, I contacted the developer and he immediately issued a version update with that fix.
I checked some websites by users posted in this forum, both the https://validator.w3.org and https://wave.webaim.org spotted a lot of errors. For example, a consistent error wave spotted across every page I tested was
The attribute is missing or is empty, or a lang attribute value is not a valid language identifier.
In addition, after browsing dozens of websites built by Blocs, I noticed a common nominator of a struggling scroll experience. Is this a known issue ? Are there any plans fixing it ? Is this a bootstrap issue ?
To summarise, my 2 questions are:
- Would you say it would be possible to build W3C & WCAG compliant websites using Blocs and
- How responsive is Blocs support when it comes to issues ?
I don’t want to waste my time learning a tool that won’t fulfil my needs and I didn’t like the fact that at Blocs Contact Page there is no way to contact the Blocs support team.
Welcome to the community @stathisaska.
I can fully understand your concerns - Its a big decision switching from a familiar development platform to a totally unfamiliar one, but I wouldn’t be too concerned about absolute compliance with web standards. Like most rules, they are made to be broken. In fact, the constantly changing nature of the Internet often means what is fully compliant one week will not be compliant another week.
Blocs is based on the bootstrap framework - the same framework used by circa 18 million websites worldwide, so it must be fairly solid. Errors can, and often do, occur in websites for a variety of reasons. It could be due to additional code added by the site developer, or the addition of third party products. This can always create a possibility of errors. In fact, if you ran a compliance check on many of the largest sites on the web you would probably find they all generate errors of one sort or another. In essence, Blocs is a simplified interface that allows for Bootstrap sites to be created quickly and efficiently. It does an excellent job - even supporting different versions of Bootstrap.
In answer to your specific questions, YES it is possible to build W3C & WCAG compliant websites with blocs, but ultimately, any errors thrown up by validators are more likely to be caused by the way the site has been constructed by you, rather than the tool used to make the site. The thing to remember is that it is far more important for the site to function as you or your client wishes it to function. As long as the site doesn’t break and isn’t penalised by search engines, then the odd validation error isn’t important.
On the question of support, This community is the best and fastest way to get support for specific issues you may encounter. However, don’t get the impression that the developers are passing the buck to the community. They are frequent visitors and contributors to this community and are very quick to come to the rescue if the rest of the community don’t have an immediate answer. Additionally, you also have the option of bug reporting via the help link within the app. As for direct contact with the support team, you can if you wished use the Private Message function in the community forum to contact the developer directly.
Personally, I think Blocs would be a good choice for the simple reason its built around a tried and tested framework which is constantly being updated. Every time there is a new version of bootstrap released, blocs isn’t far behind with an update of their own. Take the plunge - you won’t regret it.
Regarding the validation errors, it’s possible to create clean error free sites, try running the Blocs site in the validator
I was amazed when I ran all of our competitors sites through the same validation tool, pretty scary
Since Blocs Plus came out, I haven’t used Divi since. I’m now building each theme with Blocs, so I get fast-loading, well-optimized websites. I couldn’t ever go back to Divi now.
I wish I could like this comment twice
Thank you all for your replies to my questions ! You did it, you convinced me making the switch.
I know the thing with W3C and WCAG is ridiculous, the reason why I need to get to 0 errors is because there is a EU/GR Fund that offers money to built websites and 2 of the requirements related to development are those 2. If I don’t comply, my client won’t get the expenditure back from the fund.
Having experience in platforms where the community is what drives support and tool’s progression, I know how powerful it is to have free enthusiasts giving back. I just wanted to make sure that when we hit a roadblock we are not alone. Got my answer
RW’s Foundation and Foundry are similarly built on well known frameworks that are tested and updated. RW’s Foundation framework is very similar to how Blocs work, providing endless capabilities though.
The reasons why I will make the transition is:
- Blocs provides simplicity and minimalism working with classes attributes
- Again about the classes configuration, it is built in the very core of the app
- The app is beautiful and very easy to work with (for me at least, coming from a similar situation)
- You don’t rely on 3 developer companies to get this outcome, as you do in RapidWeaver (RW, Stacks, Foundation). You get one compact app doing what you need to get done.
So impressed by this app really, I only wish more 3rd party tools will start getting built, because right now the only drawback is how limited the extensions are.
Funnily enough I can remember when I used Foundation with Rapidweaver it never passed the language attribute test. I just tested now on a recent Blocs site and that was OK. I think this has to be set in the project settings, otherwise it may be missing.
Foundry is based on Bootstrap, whereas Foundation is what it says. I haven’t used the new RW version of Foundation, however the old one was fairly capable and had some good features. The biggest issue at the time was that it was cripplingly slow on page previews and you need to do that more often in RW because of the way it works, so it became unworkable for me.
From what I have read the risk I would see now with Foundation is that development from Zurb has effectively ceased and only maintained by a handful of volunteers, which basically means Joe. Regardless of the relative pros & cons I think it is clear Bootstrap has a vastly bigger army of users and supporters.
Hi and Welcome:
You can find my initial posts about moving to Blocs in this forum.
I came over from Dreamweaver after a short stint in the Rapidweaver/Foundation/Foundry space.
I found all of that to be confusing, and frankly, expensive.
Just a GREAT group of people here, all willing to help, but you know, with Blocs, you really don’t need a whole lot of help.
I am NOT a web programmer, just a hobbyist, but you have made the right move.
Blocs is simply a better and more logical platform than the aforementioned platforms.
My feelings, for sure, but isn’t that what you were looking for?
Joe is now providing a much better way to work the framework, using classes attributes -similarly to how Blocs is, but Blocs UI has taken it to a whole new level
Yeap, thanks for sharing
So Joe is moving towards a Bloc UI…so why wait? Join us NOW…
One of the biggest issues for RW, apart from what the others have mentioned, is that RW is dependent on Stacks to be of any use. Then the frameworks are dependent on RW and Stacks. Too many links in the chain IMHO.
One of Bloc’s strengths is its ability to stand on its own.
“Feel the force!”
– Yoda –
I’d be a bit cautious in dismissing RW. I’ve used it for 10 years and also have blocs. The systems are similar in that they allow you to create websites. Both apps recognise that you’ll need further functionality to create feature rich websites. Blocs uses the blocs store and RW uses Stacks.
My experience is that RW is a more mature product. There are multiple frameworks available. Foundation is closest to Blocs in terms of CSSesque editing. It really depends on your needs and how much your willing to spend. RW has far more features available. Alloy for Foundry allows you to run a fully functioning blog that looks good also and allows you to create sections on your website that allows you to edit content in the browser not RW.
I like the direction of Blocs, but find development of more complex sites harder simply because RW has stacks that do just about anything.
In terms of frameworks both Bootstrap and Foundation are good. Some have questioned Foundations development. All I can say is that Joe Workman has done an amazing job. Bootstrap is great but carries a lot of bloat depending on your usage.
In the end there are pros and cons to all systems. I believe that knowing a system well is what’s important. Both RW and Blocs can built great websites. At the moment I think RW is more mature and offers more features. Blocs is developing at a rapid rate of knots. A final aspect is how much your willing to invest. It’s expensive to invest in more than one system.
Hello and a warm welcome to you stathisaska
Just to make sure you or a another reader later on will know this:
here is the store with the 3rd party universe
And since you’re coming from Rapidweaver you may want to report Will Woodgate someday about your Blocs experiences. I think he was pondering about doing 3rd party extensions for Blocs which would be really great IMHO
regarding those errors: I have no idea what this is all about.
ARE any of those errors a possible source for SEO problems that would be „invisible“ to see? (meaning when the site as such is NOT broken)
Same here - I’ve run through the checks on some of the biggest website designs & loads from top agency’s using all various builders etc and all full of these errors.
To me - if the website is fast, clean, smooth to use - great on the eye - has the information & design the owner/client is happy with then BOOM it’s a winner!
I was a huge rapidweaver user too - and I will say I do love Joe Workmans work with foundation. But I did find RW tiresome to use and to design something simple would mean hunting for stacks all the time to do basic things and this would massively slow down the design process etc.
I am not bashing RW here at all, but one thing we must also remember is how long RW has been out vs Blocs. The rate @Norm is developing changes to Blocs is stunning. Yes there are more things I want see out of the box, but this will all come in time - the good thing is, at the moment anything is possible, if not out of the box, then with some simple code and assistance from people here then its a remarkable platform.
The bric developers are creating some amazing brics and I started a post in the wish list as I am hoping people can contribute and bric developers including @Norm could take some notes from users and bring this into a bric or the builder.
Joe, Norm, Dan and many others are all brilliant at what they do…all i can say is the future in Blocs is looking very very very good !
One thing I would like say is, when I look at websites from the big companies - the one thing I notice is simplicity and tidy design…nothing complex to confuse the user…nothing crazy! just nice simple design, great images, the point text. All this is possible in Blocs (and much more of course!) so its up to us as designers I think to work in the boundaries we have been given at times and not to over complicate things…
Nearly a year on, is Blocs still the way to go or has anyone jumped back to RW?