Sparkle 5 is a category-defining visual website builder for macOS, the new gold standard in Mac web design apps.
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.
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 offers anybody who is conscious about their identity on the web a great app to build a gorgeous, personal website.
Sparkle has been in continuous development for over 9 years, look at the release notes here.
What makes Sparkle 5 unique?
An AI Website Generator that leapfrogs the blank slate
The fully freeform canvas at times feels more like a graphic app than a web design app, making it very intuitive to visual thinkers.
At the same time Sparkle produces fully optimized code and employs native web technologies, including cutting edge features such as responsive images and CSS shapes.
The extremely precise layout and typography, with the highest degree of accuracy of any web design app.
A freeform layout approach, making it possible to import a pre-existing HTML layout, or copy/pasting a layout from Sketch via a dedicated plugin.
Built-in access to over 1600 web fonts, as well as a handy in-app browsers for Youtube and Vimeo video, unsplash, pexels and pixabay.com images and subtlepatterns.com background patterns.
The seamlessness with which you can drag an .mp4 file onto the Sparkle canvas, and it turns into a video player.
Built-in Google Maps generator both in a simplified form that doesn’t require API key and in an advanced one that supports a map marker and with many color schemes.
Sparkle is a modern macOS application, with the usual features you expect from a native app such as unlimited undo, high performance and efficient use of system resources.
Sparkle respects your privacy, all your content is safely on your Mac until you decide to publish.
Sparkle respects your visitor privacy, helping you conform with privacy regulations.
Sparkle produces efficient websites that achieve very high scores on Google’s PageSpeed Insights, one of the most important metrics for ranking.
Why should you write about Sparkle 5?
Sparkle 5 is a great at helping small business move online, a critical step not just during the pandemic but for the future as well.
Our users love it, check the raving reviews on the Mac App Store and on other sites. Your readers will love Sparkle, too.
Website builders that are a thin wrapper over HTML are a dime a dozen. Why not review an app that does things differently? It’s no doubt controversial, and we’re confident.
Sparkle makes it super easy to build a simple site with stunning photography and great typography, you can create some great product screenshots in no time (or use ours).
All the content in the world is created on Macs, why not review a great Mac app?
More and more users are growing frustrated of sluggish apps based on web technologies, Sparkle is native and it shows.
When’s the last time you didn’t dread redesigning a website? What about a redesign a day?
Sparkle is a sophisticated app that works with the Mac App Store, makes you think other apps leaving the Mac App Store isn’t entirely for technical reasons maybe?
Ultimately there are many more visual thinkers than code thinkers. We want the visual thinkers of the world to bring their creativity and their energy to the web, letting them know is where you can come in.
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 (though a subscription is available for who prefers the predictable yearly charge). 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.
Sparkle 1.0: April 24, 2014
Sparkle 5: May 22, 2023
Sparkle Pro, $119.99/€139.99/£119.99 As subscription, $79.99/€89.99/£79.99 per year
Sparkle Personal, $79.99/€89.99/£79.99
A free trial, with no time limit, is also be available for download from our site.
Sparkle 5 is a free update from all previous Sparkle versions, but new features are an optional paid upgrade for customers who purchased Sparkle 4 before November 1st 2022. The upgrade is 50% off the current price for the tier. For example upgrading from Sparkle Pro 4.x to Sparkle Pro 5 is just $69.99. There is no upgrade pricing for Sparkle 2.x and 3.x customers.