Sparkle Press Kit
Sparkle 2.5 is a powerful visual website builder for macOS.
Most website builders are either template based or require you to learn HTML. Sparkle is different, it’s a WYSIWYG website builder with freeform layout. But it isn’t about HTML at all, it’s more akin to a graphic design application. If you can use Keynote and Pages, you already know how to use Sparkle. It’s way more than iWeb ever was going to be, but it’s a useful parallel.
It’s fast and fun to create a website when you don’t have maddening CSS or a complicated plugin system to slow you down. Sparkle entirely eliminates many tedious tasks that are web design headaches, such as resizing and compressing images, optimizing and minifying code, ensuring cross browser compatibility, working with CDNs and caches, dealing with privacy issues, future proofing the code, and so on.
Sparkle is an essential tool for small businesses, entrepreneurs and independent professionals who want to showcase their content with no third party branding, and without shoehorning content in a predefined template or fighting with a web interface. For design agencies who build client websites, Sparkle is an excellent opportunity to build bespoke designs without resorting to canned templates or components with a design that’s no longer unique.
Sparkle offers anybody who is conscious about their identity on the web a great app to build a gorgeous, personal website.
What makes Sparkle 2.5 unique?
Why should you write about Sparkle 2.5?
After years of coding websites and writing HTML parsers, Daniele and Duncan, who have known each other since high school, were growing increasingly frustrated by the technological complexity and the brokenness of websites out there, so in 2013 they decided to team up and fix it for good.
The mission: nobody would be required to ever see HTML again, if they didn’t want to.
This lead to writing an amazingly complex piece of technology that is entirely invisible to end users: a layout engine that translates on-canvas shapes to modern, robust HTML and CSS. It’s so natural it feels obvious.
The initial version of Sparkle was released after 8 short months of work, in April 2014. This strong foundation was the basis for everything built into Sparkle from there on. After two major upgrades, many improvements, component additions and many bugs fixed, Sparkle 2.2 had reached an impressive level of maturity. It was time to go through the features with the fine comb.
Sparkle 2.5 is the first very detailed refinement step on the 2.2 foundation, a many month long rewrite of the text rendering engine, both in canvas and in the corresponding HTML and CSS layout. Sparkle is typographically accurate, including with advanced features such as wrapping text around images.
Who is Sparkle for?
Sparkle is currently best suited to individuals and small businesses or independent professionals who want to build a simple but visually elaborate, media rich website.
Our customers include world renowned graphic designers, photographers, musicians and film directors, as well as individuals or small non profit groups.
What they have in common is they already have a full time job, and learning HTML/CSS is out of question. They love Sparkle.
We also have a growing number of customers who know how to hand-code a website, but won’t bother when the purpose is testing out an idea or building a quick landing page. Speed is where Sparkle shines.
Former iWeb users will find themselves at home with Sparkle, though Sparkle goes well beyond what iWeb offered.
Who is Sparkle not for?
Given the visual focus, Sparkle de-emphasizes code editing and HTML/CSS concepts. This is unsatisfactory for people who think web design equals coding.
Theoretically we could shift the focus of Sparkle to be more code-focused, but we believe that bringing in the idioms of web development into a visual environment as first class citizens is much more helpful than just a layout engine for opaque code boxes. Doing a mix of both code and visual is damn near impossible.
Sparkle vs. the competition
We sell Sparkle at a one time fee, and don’t charge a monthly fee. Sparkle also doesn’t need a slew of add-ons or plugins for basic functionality. Sparkle doesn’t use a stock underlying framework that limits the expressiveness of the layouts. Users needs to provide their own hosting, but that’s also a form of freedom.
Our competitors seem to fall in one of two camps: they either follow a mostly visual approach, but limit the design/layout flexibility because they’re template based, or they offer full layout freedom, but are permeated by HTML and CSS concepts, if not outright code-based.
Mostly though Sparkle goes way beyond simple page layout, offering high level constructs such as menus, image galleries, maps, social media and more. For example the menu system scales from manual set up to fully automatic with synchronization to the website outline, while image galleries not only generate retina images, but they generate a full set, for each image, for each device. Maps are based on the industry standard Google maps, but Sparkle integrates easy address lookup and a number of preset color schemes.
Where can I get sample documents to play with?
We have a bunch of fully editable sample designs.
Sparkle 1.0: April 24, 2014
Sparkle 2.5: February 27, 2018
More details in our store.
Sparkle is also available on the Mac App Store.
macOS 10.9 Mavericks or later. Optimized for 10.13 High Sierra.
We’d love you to review Sparkle. Please get in touch for a review license or AppStore promo code.
A fun video