Do we really need another HTML5 authoring app?

Wdd Logo.
October 01, 2013
Do we really need another HTML5 authoring app?.

thumbnailYesterday Google released the beta version of its newest project: Web Designer.

Announced earlier this year, Web Designer is a visual tool for building HTML5 adverts; although one suspects Google's ambitions for the application are much wider, given that it's not named 'Google Ad Builder'.

Web Designer is, at first glance, a promising piece of software, but I question whether we really need yet another tool for building HTML5 content.

All HTML5 applications — and there are already some great apps for coding HTML5, Hype for example — create an environment in which we, as designers, are separated from the source code that we're working with; there is always an extra layer between us. It's true that most tools — including Google Web Designer — allow you to edit code with a built-in editor of some kind, but in my experience good coding practices are usually sidelined when a deadline is looming and it's simply faster to drag and drop.

If we want a truly open, standards-compliant web, don't we need to learn the underlying technologies for ourselves? Is HTML5 really so complex that we can't learn it? Is CSS3 so difficult to master we'd rather tweak a properties panel?

The creation of these tools, from Apple's iAd to Google's Web Designer has been enabled by the collapse of the Flash industry. According to Google there are already more HTML5-capable devices than Flash-capable devices (which makes sense given the iPhone's nonplussed reaction to SWF files) and the market is expected to grow by over 40% by the end of the year. In fact the only surprising thing is that the market isn't growing faster and that any Flash content is still produced at all.

However whilst Adobe have apparently sought to distance themselves from Flash (Adobe Edge Animate does not feel like a Flash interface), Google have no such compunction, and Web Designer has a distinctly Flash MX 2004 feel about it.

How much of Web Designer is new and how much is, as suggested by certain sources, simply a fork of the Motorola Mobility project Ninja (which Google now own) is difficult to say without looking under the hood. What we can be sure of is that whatever its origins, Web Designer is a natural step for Google, it makes absolute sense that having cornered the market in advertising, Google should produce a tool for building those adverts. Already tied into DoubleClick and AdMob, the option to publish for other networks is included, but is unlikely to be widely used.

coding

Déjà vu for Actionscript programmers.

Probably the biggest blow to Adobe, and to all rival applications is that Google Web Designer is free, at least for now. It's very hard to justify a Flash CC subscription when there's a free alternative — albeit one that is a little more basic. Google has beaten Microsoft office into submission by delivering basic rivals free of charge, why not Adobe CC too?

In many ways Google Web Designer is inventing a role for itself. But whilst it's free, is there any chance it won't be successful? And if it is extended over the next year or two to include full site builds, will it reach the stage of replacing an in-depth knowledge of HTML5? It will be bad news for the Web if it does.

Have you downloaded Google Web Designer yet? Do you think Google will expand its remit in the near future? Let us know in the comments.

WDD Staff

WDD staff are proud to be able to bring you this daily blog about web design and development. If there's something you think we should be talking about let us know @DesignerDepot.

Read Next

20 Best New Websites, May 2024

Welcome to May’s compilation of the best sites on the web. This month we’re focused on color for younger humans,…

Exciting New Tools for Designers, May 2024

This year, we’ve seen a wave of groundbreaking apps and tools. AI is reshaping the industry, enhancing productivity,…

Using AI to Predict Design Trends

Design trends evolve at a blistering pace, especially in web design. On multi-month projects, you might work on a…

15 Best New Fonts, April 2024

Just like web design, type design follows trends. And while there’s always room for an exciting outsider, we tend to…

3 Essential Design Trends, May 2024

Integrated navigation elements, interactive typography, and digital overprints are three website design trends making…

How to Write World-Beating Web Content

Writing for the web is different from all other formats. We typically do not read to any real depth on the web; we…

20 Best New Websites, April 2024

Welcome to our sites of the month for April. With some websites, the details make all the difference, while in others,…

Exciting New Tools for Designers, April 2024

Welcome to our April tools collection. There are no practical jokes here, just practical gadgets, services, and apps to…

How Web Designers Can Stay Relevant in the Age of AI

The digital landscape is evolving rapidly. With the advent of AI, every sector is witnessing a revolution, including…

14 Top UX Tools for Designers in 2024

User Experience (UX) is one of the most important fields of design, so it should come as no surprise that there are a…

What Negative Effects Does a Bad Website Design Have On My Business?

Consumer expectations for a responsive, immersive, and visually appealing website experience have never been higher. In…

10+ Best Resources & Tools for Web Designers (2024 update)

Is searching for the best web design tools to suit your needs akin to having a recurring bad dream? Does each…