2020 is a dramatic year. Pandemic has spread all over the world redefining our lives and pushing changes at a speed we never seen before. As for everyone else, it has been a real challenge to keep the focus in these months. But 2020 also bring us some incredible news. Despite the difficulties Apple has revolutionised everything again, announcing the Mac transition to Apple Silicon in June WWDC. We were almost ready with the Sparkle’s new version but macOS 11 presentation was literally a Big Sur-prise! Its astonishing new look convinced us to delay the release to embrace the change. Moreover, we wanted Sparkle to be ready for Apple Silicon too!
November 10th Apple’s Event officially bring us the new macOS Big Sur and the new Apple Silicon Macs, and yes, we are ready for both with this incredible Sparkle 3 new version!!!
It has been a long and difficult ride, but we did it!
Sparkle 3 introduces a totally new look on BS and a huge list of new features and improvements: the result of about 2 years of hard development. We are really proud of it.
First of all, a huge “thank you” goes to all our users who have always supported us and believed in Sparkle, even when some features were not available or discovered some little bug. Special thanks to the beta-testers for their patience, they gave us fundamental help in finding bugs and improve functionalities. We think Sparkle 3 pays off the wait.
Here is a brief introduction to the many new features of Sparkle 3. But you’re just invited to try it and discover them yourself… it will be a nice journey.
The new Sparkle 3 icon, once again designed by Wolfgang Bartelme, is wonderful! It isn’t just a detail, it’s the sign of how much love we have put in this release.
By popular demand we finally did it: Sparkle 3 has now blog support. Blogging has never been so easy and versatile. Sparkle automatically organises the blog index for you and it can be easily customised in the usual Sparkle’s way. The RSS feed is automatically generated too, so your blog can be easily added to feed reader utilities (such as NetNewsWire or similar) to spread your posts and articles.
Another very popular request, popups add interactivity to your website and allow more content organisation. Using popups you can build mega-menus, alerts, tooltips, help/faq and many more UI elements. Sparkle offers 3 different kinds of popups:
• Normal popup: it opens in the same position where is placed on the Sparkle’s canvas and all other elements remain clickable
• Fixed popup: a fixed popup stays in the same position on browser window regardless of its position on the Sparkle’s canvas and the browser scrolling position
• Modal popup: it always opens in the current browser viewport and prevents scroll and interaction with other website’s elements until is closed; modal popups can be used for call to action (i.e. newsletter subscription), alerts and mega-menu
There are several ways a popup can be opened, both with user action - through links and buttons - and automatically, giving huge flexibility use cases.
Popups are a terrific, powerful tool to improve your website usability.
Animate while scrolling (AKA PARALLAX effects!)
Parallax effects make your website unique! With some simple settings you can have stunning animate-while-scrolling elements.
You can combine several options to animate elements:
• Vertical scroll: the “classic” parallax effect
• Horizontal scroll
You’ll love them!
New tools for your business
Your website is not just your online “business card”. You website must be your business. Sparkle already could be easily integrated with e-commerce, but Sparkle 3 introduces new powerful tools that help you to monetise your website:
• Payment integrations: PayPal, Stripe, Snipcart, Ecwid, Gumroad, Paddle; all of them can be added to your website in a super-simple way
• Apartment rental with Houfy
• Calendars: schedule meetings and appointments with your clients using Calendly or 10to8
• Table reservations: online reservations with Open Table, The Fork and Quandoo
• Google ads: easily add advertisements to your website
Search Engine Optimization is a crucial process in website optimisation. Achieve higher search engine rankings and increase visibility and traffic is fundamental to your business. There is no silver bullet for SEO, but a set of common rules and best practices that make your website relevant to web search engines.
Sparkle take care of many aspects of SEO (super-optimised page-load performance, provide a sitemap), but some other need user attention to setup everything correctly (page titles, image names, working links).
Sparkle 3 now offers a simple tool that analyses your website and points out the critical aspects that should be fixed and/or improved: just click on the “SEO” toolbar button and Sparkle will inform you about the issues present in your website. Clicking the “Fix” button Sparkle will show the action to perform to correct the potential problem.
Super easy! Super useful!
Smart fields are a powerful tool that enrich your text contents in many ways: you can display current date/time in various formats, counters, countdown timers (including a super-cool “flipboard” effect!), math formulae (MathJax integration), EXIF information extracted directly from your photos,“typewriter” effect.
We added a “Layers” outline to show the element’s structure/order in your page. Each element has now a customisable name that helps you to organise and control your contents more easily.
Easy website startup
6 new free website designs have been added to our collection. When you starts a new website you can now choose between 30 different templates or full-import an existing online website with one-click!
Enjoy Sparkle 3
It’s almost impossible to list all the new features, improvements, bug fixes included in this massive upgrade (*), our biggest release since Sparkle’s debut in 2014. Six years are an incredible long time. Still be on the market, fighting with giants such as Wix, Weebly, Webflow, Squarespace, Wordpress and many more, is a real success for us. We’re a small, independent, self-funded, Mac-only team that loves what it is creating. It’s David versus Goliath. But we’re here to stay, with your support! We have a long, hard, path ahead of us, but we know it’s the right direction.
(*) okay, you’re curious so some other candies for you:
• Developer tools: advanced setup/customisation for power-users!
• Multiple selection: change multiple elements at once
• Lottie animations
• Super optimised image generation that harnesses the power of multi-core processors
• Image gallery labels layout settings
• Contour shadow for transparent images
• Improved SVG support
• Box background filters
• Text quote
• Added text replace to search window
• Redesigned device popover with more options for responsive devices generation
• Full width video
• Mobile preview through QR code
• QR code generation for page URLs
• New Instagram API support
• Updated to latest jQuery version
• Added Microsoft Edge and Brave browsers preview support
• Overall UI changes and improvements
• Added show/hide options for Pages/Layers outline and the inspector (more space for the canvas!)