Sparkle Press Kit

Sparkle 2.8 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 2.8 unique?

  • • 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 leverages 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 hundreds of web fonts, as well as a handy in-app browsers for Youtube and Vimeo video, unsplash and images and 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 2.8?

  • • 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 huge bold fonts, 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.

Sparkle’s Story

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 2.6 built on the solid 2.5 foundation to add much improved website privacy, self hosted fonts, inlined critical CSS, an improved publishing engine and a slew of other features and fixes.

Sparkle 2.7 added Dark Mode support in macOS Mojave.

Sparkle 2.8 introduced Instagram feeds, a Sketch importer plugin, a site search feature and a ground-up rewrite of the canvas for blazing performance.

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.

Some hybrid solutions similar to Sparkle do exist, but they seem to be stuck in the 90s both in terms of user interface and generated code.

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.

Release date

Sparkle 1.0: April 24, 2014

Sparkle 2.8: May 20, 2019


  • • Sparkle Pro, $119.99/€129.99/£119.99
    As subscription, $71.99/€75.99/£64.99
  • • Sparkle One, $49.99/€54.99/£48.99
  • • Sparkle Basic, $29.99/€32.99/£28.99
  • • A free trial is also be available for download from our site.
  • • Sparkle 2.8 is a free upgrade from all previous Sparkle versions.

More details in our store.

Sparkle is also available on the Mac App Store.

Available Languages

  • • English
  • • German
  • • French
  • • Spanish
  • • Italian
  • • Dutch
  • • Chinese
  • • Japanese

System requirements

macOS 10.9 Mavericks or later. Optimized for 10.14 Mojave

Reviewing Sparkle

We’d love you to review Sparkle. Please get in touch for a review license or AppStore promo code.


Main differences




Single site

10 pages



Single site

Unlimited pages

Site search


Unlimited sites

Unlimited pages

Site search


The official Sparkle 2.8 download

A quick overview

The dark mode teaser

A fun video

App Icon

Author: Wolfgang Bartelme

Download: sparkle-icon-1024.png

Coffee website

Showcases text wrapping and animation.


Full comp: coffee-comp.jpg

Screen: coffee-screen.jpg

Window: coffee-window.png

Browser gif: coffee-browser.gif

Project file: coffee.sparkle

All files:

Butterfly website

Showcases text wrapping, animation and color filters.


Full comp: bluemorpho-comp.jpg

Screen: bluemorpho-screen.jpg

Window: bluemorpho-window.png

Browser gif: bluemorpho-browser.gif

Project file: BlueMorpho.sparkle

All files:


A few animated gifs of interesting interactions


Text wrap: text-wrap.gif

Rounded corner: rounded-corner.gif

Color filters: color-filters.gif

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