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Can I create the front-end of a web app through Webflow?

I understand it won’t be ideal to do that, but I’d like to know if it’s possible to create the front-end of a web app in Webflow, which would then be taken outside Webflow for back-end building and deployment.

Naturally this wouldn’t be a fantastically complex app, but the design team loves Webflow enough to ditch Sketch/other tools like Sketch in favour of Webflow. I do wonder if they can also just save time by going Webflow → Back-end → Live instead of Webflow → Front-end → Live?

Hey @chdaniel , you can easily create the front-end of a website in webflow and export the code.
Someone already made a list with all its features, availability and limits here

Sure you can.
You just have to make it very mobile friendly and nav like an app.

You may also want to add some codes to optimize your visitor’s experience:
Configuring Web Applications
HTML - Web App | html Tutorial

I consider myself a front-end dev, but I’m still in college and haven’t had much real work. Originally

illustration agency USA

Why not?

It could be not ideal because the tech used is not ideal, but having an HTML/CSS UI is something a lot of very good apps have.

It could be not ideal because Webflow isn’t marketed for designing apps UI, but Webflow Designer is very capable to design responsive anything. You can use the breakpoints to your advantage and set a series of upper containers to contain your design in height.

Apps are like websites, they have a very short lifespan of a few years. They need to work, that’s the only thing they really need to do. So either it’s native to an OS, or well developed by a team in NodeJS or React, or made by a single designer in Webflow, it’s all about how it works in the end and the balance of investment/result.

Can you be a bit more precise about this? Interesting topic.

Hey Vincent! Lovely to see you — you might not know me but I, like many others, know you from the many topics you’re present on. Thanks for doing such a wonderful job.

I get what you’re saying and my thinking is the same: if it works, it works. The discussion about this or that stack can be just noise, unless we’re talking about a specific super impactful use case (high scale, high impact etc).

That said, I wanted to see if anybody’s gone down this route before and what caveats might be there.

Yep! So the classical scenario you’ll know is

  1. Design (with any tool: Sketch, XD, Figma etc) built by designer
  2. Front-end is built by FE dev
  3. Back-end is built by BE dev
  4. Deploy

Since Webflow kinda intertwines the FE dev role and the designer role (in my case, it turned me from a designer to a designer+FE person), I was thinking whether the output of a Webflow project can be taken straight to the BE developer, and then to deploying the app.

Of course, that implies super fancy stuff like a library won’t be used (can we…? say chartJS as a random example?), or that we won’t be able to make a single page application… but for a no-code solution it might be just the right tool for the right people who are just starting off.

What do you think @vincent ?

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Thanks so much for that :slight_smile:

I don’t see why not. I had a huge front end multilingual site designed in Webflow, and it was exported and the back end was Drupal. We even had at a moment a Webflow hosted Webflow CMS site, that was still taking most of its content from a Drupal backend/server/database. The front end was using 3 things to call the backend: 1. a custom JS API written by the backend guys, 2. custom HTML attributes on various elements, with various vocabulary as values, eg. those were for boxes to be live populated by drupal dynamic content, and 3. some hard written anchors like {title} inside of text elements, to call dynamic content at specific places. Basically templating.

Another example was a site designed in Webflow and the backend was developed in nodejs.