My first-time experience with Blocs

I’m starting a new thread for this one, as I know quite a few people are interested in Blocs, and also interested in a real-world experience of picking up Bloca after years with RW.

Background

I first tried Blocs back in April and didn’t get on with it. The reasons for this in retrospect are still not clear. back then it just didn’t click with me. I played with it for about a week and got nowhere. Perhaps I was thinking too much RW when I used it, perhaps my frame of mind just wasn’t right. Perhaps because I was only using the trial version and not invested I sub-consciously wanted to fail.

Either way, I just didn’t like it.

Back To Now

This time around I didn’t try the trial, I just jumped in and bought it on the BF deal. I got my first proper play with it around Sunday, and after de-RWing my head for a few hours I got the hang on things, enough to throw together a very basic site using pretty only the pre-fab blocs.

Pleased with the results, on Monday I started putting together something I’d be happy to use in the commercial world.

To my mind, there are about three levels to Bloc.

  1. Basic. Build sites using more or less pre-fab blocs.
    This is a great approach, which I reckon many who use RW and themes to build sites would be more than happy with. It’s really difficult to mess things up. Just select the bloc you want on the page, add them, order them, get your colours sorted then throw your content at it.

I reckon for a lot of weavers they’d get better results wit Blocs in it’s most basic form than RW, not to mention save money, as all you need is Blocs.

  1. Intermediate. Create your own blocs and customising the pre-fab ones.
    This I think is the level I’m now at after a few days with Blocs. Once you start to dig down into Blocs it’s pretty powerful. You get a lot of control over all elements on the page, in terms of layout at all the different breakpoints. And on the subject of breakpoints Blocs has a really different way to setting things up than RW, it’s a nice way to do things, and for those less sure of how things will look in the published page, it’s a better way to work (IMO).

  2. Advanced.
    I’m not at this level, but I can see it. Not sure if I will get there, but I am starting to see that there is a lot of scope with Blocs to do more or less everything you want.

So… the inevitable comparison!

Thanks to the mature stacks market, and Stacks itself, at the moment I feel that RW has more creative scope than Blocs. But that creativity comes at a price, literally in terms of money (you have to buy the stacks) but also in terms of performance. Within reason anything you can think of doing on a webpage you can pretty much do with RW and stacks. I don’t think you can say that about Blocs, at the moment, without adding in a lot of your own code, with defeats the purpose of using things like RW & Blocs.

None the less, Blocs is a serious option for people building sites that don’t need all the fancy stuff, and for some I’d now serious question using RW.

The demo project I’m slowly building with Blocs is here: http://ci-clientservices.com/clientdev/designed/

I’ll update this thread as I continue to learn Blocs and evolve that project.

If anyone wants to post to this thread, can we please not have it descent into a them/us argument.

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I have Blocs also and have only superficially played with it. I did find it a pleasure to work with and, like you said, you can pretty effortlessly put together something basic.

I didn’t put in the effort to learn it properly to really give it a fair assessment (and I was using it before any 3rd party add-ons came out). I will say that the speed of it was the thing that jumped out the most - being able to play around with things like padding and see instant changes.

It’s pretty user-friendly though. If one of my kids showed an interest in trying out building a site, I’d probably start them off with Blocs

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Not sure if the problem is with the ISP or the software, but found two issues with the quite pleasant “Designed” demo site:

  1. It took forever to load. Almost gave up.
  2. Scrolling was jerky.

Same here.

Loaded very quickly for me and I didn’t see any jerkiness on the scrolling. Scrolling was normal. On Safari desktop.

I’ve seen the slow load, but it’s on my dev server, which is an old shared affair, so most likely just a server issue. When the server is in a good mood it’s really fast to load.

Jerkyness is most likely down to overuse of scroll animation. I’d never use so much on a live site, but wanted to test it on this demo.

I’d say 10 to 15v second load. Pretty slow

Interesting.

I do know that server is really ropey lately. I’ve noticed myself some page refreshes just take forever, but as I say, it’s just my dev server, so I don’t really bother too much.

But… I’ve trying it now and it’s loading super fast for me, with history and cache clearing between tests. Of course the ISP might be caching though.

Pingdom is getting good results (see image) so maybe the location of users is having an effect too? (Page size seems high though in that image, must look into that, maybe there are some images I’ve forgotten to optimise).

EDIT: I’ve not optimised the slide images: Three images over 2mb! D’oh.

Images fixed. Bit more like it.

I’m fairly confident that any slowload issues seen are server related, not code.

I’m certainly seeing a lot more jerkiness now too. Might have to all some of the animation, not a fan of if myself anyway.

Need to get @tav to make a simple Scrollmate bric, so far it’s about the only animation plugin I’ve ever found that doesn’t result in jerkiness. Even most other animate stacks I’ve tried are jerky by comparison.

Seemed to load fast for me. Obviously adding more than 1 animation can make a site more jerky.

Pulled the animation from the homepage now, less jerky, although still not as smooth as I’d have expected. Curious what others are seeing?

Thinking it might be the fixed (Parallax in Blocs terms) backgrounds. If so, thinking the Blocs code that does this sort of thing might need some reworking?

Oh, and by the way… That site is built using only native Blocs elements, there are no third party addons. So that’s all with one purchase of below £60 (Black Friday deal). Given you’d need a load of things to do the same in RW (without a tonne of code) that’s pretty impressive I think everyone can agree?

(Not knocking RW before i get jumped on, just making the comparison).

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Mee too - load was fine.

Really? :) https://demo.bigwhiteduck.com/scrollmate2/.
Its all in the flick of the wrist.

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I know, but I was doing a more apples … comparison in terms of the Blocs App itself. It is after all, your “3rd party” add-on running in Stacks in RW that is creating those silky smooth animations we all seek out.

By comparison, RW doesn’t off anything like this without Stacks and your (and a few select others) animation . In fact, Steve’s quick and dirty demo, would I am pretty sure, be impossible to build in RW using any available Framework and Stacks and would need your Chroma to get the nav scroll effect.

E.g. Can RW + Stacks + F6 build Steve’s demo site today?

Stop changing the frame of reference to suit after the event - you know I was just referring to the scroll smoothness (and not having a pop at Blocs).

Apples vs apples would seem to preclude any comparison of Blocs and RW/Stacks as per your 2nd paragraph argument so I’ve now experienced a division by zero error and crashed/

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Is that a typo?

I purposely made something that could be banged out in UIkit alone (no third party stacks), as that would be my usual tool in RW.

Oh, and less of the “dirty” please! I see nothing dirty there, IMO it’s a pretty polished effort.

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Does UIKIT do the the Chroma nav slide up? I assumed not but if it does then full marks to UIKIT.

My overall point was that there is a lot of stuff in your demo that really shows what Blocs can do, as a stand alone App and is exactly the type of sections of content that RW users try to build. That’s impressive with big benefits in learning how to use a standalone App to build a web site like that without needing to learn additional add-ons and stacks frameworks and additional stacks.

On a less frivolous note than is usual for me I would just like to re-iterate that it is very difficult to start comparing these things (as per the other thread).

ScrollMate does nothing else but super smooth scrolling. Chroma does nothing else but menu slides and control etc.

I understand the “value analysis” being applied in these arguments and undoubtedly RW/Stacks/Theme/3rd party stacks etc is bloody expensive when you look at a single example.

On the other hand, there is no point in excusing a poorly implemented object or effect, just because it is free or indeed included in the price (I include many stacks and themes here as well).

Some people want cheap and easy, some people want absolute OCD perfection. Most people sit somewhere in between (probably in a pool of their own faeces - damn the lack of frivolity promise is broken). The upshot of this is that COMPARISONS ARE POINTLESS unless they are direct.

Now all piss off and make copies of the scrollmate demo page and have a shoot out like you did on the other thread. I look forward to the results. :)

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Yes, and no.

Does it do the Chroma thing? No. Does it do the effect used in that blocs demo? Yes.

Can we make comparisons? In the same way you can compare a pickup with a salon car, yes. In that they are both a means of transport. Are they really comparable products? No.

But, there are a lot of people using a pickup to do the job of a saloon. And vica versa.

I think a comparison of demo sites build with different web building apps is one of the few good ways to demonstrate what can and can’t be done, and can help users to make better choices. Last time I looked at the RM site, IMHO it was pretty misleading that RM claimed that their site was built with RW and failing to also add Stacks, Foundry, 3rd party code and the offsite Ghost blog, to the list. So RW Users need impartial guidance.

The problems with these type of threads are:

  1. Unfortunately there is nothing else new to discuss, going on in RW.
  2. We never declare our full terms of engagement before we pull out the pin of the hand grenade marked Blocs, and place on the table. (Other hand grenades are available - remember Elementor)
  3. Still not much going on here or elsewhere related to RW.

Interestingly, the most replied topic on this forum is about Elementor (by a huge margin) and the second most replied to topic is about Blocs.

@steveb Didn’t know that UIKIT did that, so full marks to UIKIT. Pretty sure that no other RW Framework can create that site today.

Yes, but you need to decide whether features / implementation or total cost is the parameter of primary importance. Switching between the two is what makes it confusing for users.