Hackernoon logoWebsite Builder Tool Quarkly Goes Into Open Beta by@alexkols

Website Builder Tool Quarkly Goes Into Open Beta

Alex Kols Hacker Noon profile picture

@alexkolsAlex Kols

Hi, I’m Alex — a co-founder and a chief developer at Quarkly

My name is Alex, and I’m a co-founder and lead developer at Quarkly.io. Quarkly is a project made by our small team of designers and developers, aimed at helping similar teams. Our goal with Quarkly is to make the life and workflow of designer-developer pairs easier, allowing them to work both independently and collaboratively, all in one environment.

We are located in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, and currently have 5 people working on this project, including myself. My friend Artem is the lead designer and second co-founder, and our developers are Kirill, Alex, and Andrew.

Together we have many years of experience in website builder development. Before Quarkly, we worked on uKit – a website builder for business – and many other projects that belong to the uKit Group.

So, why Quarkly?

While working on our previous projects (classic website builders, e.g. uKit), we noticed many flaws in them. Here’s just a few:

  • Builders are not flexible
  • Builders are not module-based – you have to repeat the same actions in every new project
  • No plugin system – and even if it is there, it is heavily dependent on a specific platform. If there is no ready-made solution, it is often impossible to add
  • Time that you spend learning one builder will not help you with others
  • Your project does not fully belong to you – you can’t just take the code away and host it somewhere else.

Yes, traditional builders have many advantages as well – they can handle simple tasks efficiently. But we, as developers, were interested in increasing the abstraction levels, while still keeping the difficulty bar pretty low.

We started work on Quarkly with a simple prototype, which was noticed by our CEO. He liked the idea. We continued to work hard, day and night, despite the fact we still had a day job to do. At one point, our CEO, allowed us to work more on our project, by adopting the Google approach (20% of the work time). And just a month later, we were able to demo the improved prototype – the first version of Quarkly, which was, in essence, a code editor + our own syntaxis (based on pug) + interactivity (like in Storybook).

Honestly, this was a difficult moment for us. After a brainstorm, we all came to the same conclusion – in its current form, Quarkly would simply be too difficult to use. So, we scrapped our own syntaxis, but decided to keep most of the other cool features, and have now added many new ones – and so, Quarkly.io as it is today, was born.

Design tool and an environment of its own

Quarkly allows the creation of websites and web apps by both using the mouse and typing the code – you have the pros of responsive editing, but at any moment you can open the code editor and manually edit your app code. And everything will be synchronized perfectly.

Designers can work in Quarkly the same way they are used to in Figma as they’ll find many similarities in the interface. For developers, we have a module assembler in all its glory: hmr, npm-modules.

As things stand today, we have fixed most of the website builder issues:

  • Successfully implemented flexibility: Not only can you write any styles or scripts on Quarkly, but you can also add external code, and then simply work with it as a component.
  • Anything created on Quarkly can be imported to any other project: We give you the code as either CRA or Gatsby – straight to GitHub, or as a ZIP archive.
  • Convenient plugin system: Any React-based component can be added from the npm in a few minutes.

Recently, we decided we’re finally ready for the release to Open Beta – and so we did it. Now everyone can go to quarkly.io and try to create their own website or app there, for free, no strings attached.

We’ve already successfully made a name for ourselves on Product Hunt, becoming a product of the day leaving competitors far behind and receiving a lot of praise from designers and developers — our target audience. This inspires us to move forward at double speed!

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