SOLIS: Worth a punt?

I’ve just seem that @Norm has dropped the price of Solis, which is a handy preview app that works with RW.

I recall trying it when it first launched and think at the time it had an issue for two with RW, but having just tried the demo version, it seems to be grand now. Wondering if anyone is using it regularly (@Webdeersign?) and their views?

I normally preview in Chrome, don’t use Stimulator as I find it creates far to big a hit on the performance of RW, but with Solis being an entirely separate app this shouldn’t be the case.

He’s reduced it to under £20, so I’m thinking it’s mad not to get it at that money.

I got it when it was launched but have never used it so can’t say one way or the other.

What I can recommend though is Emporter - not seen much written about this but it really is great. It is a free app has a free plugin for RW and it generates a secure url that you can then use to live preview on any device (there are subscription options but not required for basic use).

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Emporter looks good, but I’ve never had the need for such a task. I have a dev server that all work in progress gets published too, and clients view it. I’m thinking of Solis as an extension to RW preview. Been playing with the demo and can’t see any issues at all. Not sure what the issues where originally, but seems all good now.

Also tempted to finally get Blocks and actually have a proper stab at it.

Solis is an excellent well thought out tool for viewing live realtime multiple width sites that are local or actual live sites. Full price or otherwise it should be part of everyones toolkit who is serious about building web sites. It’s what the dope amazeballers would call a no brainer, for £20.

The first version was unable to work well with RW7 and it was updated to work as well as it could with the problematic RW at the time. However, I seem to recall that it was a RW issue due to RW creating a random and different local URL for every publish. Ironically, Joe requested a feature that Dan added to RW8 to be able to specify the publish local web port and this would have allowed Solis to be used fully, I would think. The irony was that Solis was Dan’s Nemesis (remember Dan) that took RW8 down the Stimulator path.

I avoid using RW8 and never liked the Stimultor because of the way it was implemented. When I tried Solis and RW8 demo about 18 months ago, RW8 was visibly slower to preview in the Stimulator and laggy and didn’t sync the scrolling of windows. If you have used Solis you will hate the Stimulator.

However, the one thing I have learnt is that I rarely need to view multiple windows and I prefer to drag a preview window sideways to inspect responsive behaviour. Where Solis is most useful, is in checking multiple live sites that get one of those stack updates where you need to check several sites at different widths, and for this, Solis is perfect. I haven’t use Solis for a while but just fired it up and reminded myself that I really should use it more.

I finish for Dec tomorrow, back to official work on Jan 2nd. I usually have a few goals for the period. For this holiday I’ve a book to read plus some DIY, but reckon Blocks and @Jannis CMS for it might be on the cards, see if I can build an entire CMS site using the two.

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Give me a message if you want to do so to give you a free version, I still need brave ones testing the CMS for Blocs 😅


Fair, let’s do it then.

I’ll get Blocks (and Solis, liking it a lot now) bought and give you a shout early Dec and we’ll see what we can come up with.

You will of course need to help me first build a site in Blocks!


Question for Gary @Webdeersign , as he’s familiar with Blocs and Norm…

Is there a reason why there isn’t a big fat “REFRESH” button somewhere very visible?

I know you can right mouse click etc. For such a common task, that is kinda the basis of using Solis, seems really odd you can’t put a refresh icon/button on the main workspace.

Or can you?

It’s designed to refresh when you refresh the app you are creating your site with. What are you using to create the site? If Blocs, it will just refresh when you make a change in Blocs and should refresh if you make a change in RW that causes a re-preview. If RW then I don’t use it with RW so I’m not the best person to answer this.

Hmm, don’t want auto-refresh, that’s a nightmare. And ya, at the moment RW (have purchased Blocs now, so will be using it with that too).

Just seems so odd to me to hide refresh a menu, given that you need to refresh constantly, assuming others like me hate auto-refresh.

Anyway, not really a biggie, I’m finishing off a few RW sites today, and have to say, it’s nice to use. I’ve got it open on a 2nd screen with an iPhone 6 and iPad landscape view up. What with that and then preview in RW I can see super fast roughly how things are laying out at the key breakpoints. So far, it’s flawless with RW too.

Just have to start nagging @Norm to add a big refresh button ;-) Although, given I’m starting with Blocs next week, maybe save up my tolerance tokens for that as I’m sure I’ll be testing his patience to previously undiscovered levels ;-)

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It kind of works in real time as you are editing in Blocs.

It will only auto refresh if you have Solis open and actively editing inside Blocs at the same time. For the most part I just preview in Blocs, which works well and very fast.

Thanks for the support 🙏

I’ll be issuing new beta builds of Both Solis and Blocs in December so feel free to get involved and put forward feedback 👍

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Oh I will. I’m awesome at giving feedback. Truly awesome at it.

Some devs call it being a royal PITA, but I prefer my description.


I got a play with Blocs yesterday. It’s weird, the last time I tried, when I only had the demo, I really didn’t get on with it, I found the whole experience really frustrating and gave up after about a week of trying. This time around, after purchasing, was very different. Everything made sense and I had the basis of a simple but nice looking site thrown together in a couple of hours. Amazing the difference being invested makes ;-)

For anyone interested, I’m not looking to replace RW: For a while now I’ve been wanting to do a really simple CMS template site. At the moment there isn’t really anything suitable in the RW world with the simple functionality I want and the right sort of support. A dev I’ve worked with a few times in the past, who I know is super fast to react and very open to ideas, is making something suitable for Blocs, so it seemed a good time to finally jump in.

All things going to plan, by mid next year I’ll have an entirely new, affordable, CMS solution to offer clients based on Blocs.

Another thing that has come up this year is clients thinking I use Wordpress and wanting me to build out the site for them, then hand it over for them to maintain and develop. Obviously this isn’t an option with RW, as the cost of getting kitted out with all the stuff you need is too high (based on most thinking WP is free). But, this might be a viable service with Blocs, as all they need to do is buy Blocs and they are setup and ready to go.

@Norm I’ve already got a ton of views on how (for me) Blocs can be changed/improved, so do keep me in mind for the beta testing.


And when you use Solis with Blocs you will think, Wow. Solis and Blocs make a very powerful working environment.

I was questioning yesterday the need for Solis with Blocs. In edit mode you get a good view on what is happening and previewing is real fast. But ya, I will give Solis a try with it at some point.

I’m super happy with Solis working with RW though, so it was a very worthwhile purchase.

Also, there is a Blocs to Wordpress export function scheduled for release in the New Year.

I was just reading that. I’d have thought if you wanted a Wordpress site, you’d build in Wordpress. But maybe handy for people who started in Blocs and want to move to WP. Or maybe some other use I’ve not thought of.

Quikie for you @Webdeersign
How do I gt a button in the navigation to scroll to a point on the same page?

I’ve added a button to the content area in a menu, looked in the Interactions bit, selected scroll to target, but there isn’t an option to scroll to a column ID. I tried making the button a link and making the url #link but that didn’t work either.

I’m guessing there is an easy way to do this, but I cant figure it out.

EDIT: Ignore, the #link thing worked, just needed to add more content to the page. D’oh. Schoolboy error right there!

As I start to build out another test project this morning, I can see where I went wrong previously: I was tying to do too much outside of the regular Blocs stuff. One you just stick to what is there, at least to start with, it’s incredible simple to use.

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