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Macaw Scarlet... a possible threat?

So, Macaw just announced a big upcoming release:

It’s got some big promises like being able to import existing code, opening up the code to the designer, and 3D implementation. It looks like you’re going to need a better understanding of code than you do for Webflow, but one could easily take the understanding of HTML and CSS that they pick up from Webflow and apply it to this new Macaw…

Anyone think this could be a threat that could pull customers away from Webflow? Or could it be another tool that could be used to take your designs to the next level?

I can’t wait for the next big update to Webflow to see if they plan on including some of these features. (as well as a CMS :wink: )

Can’t wait to hear what you all think!

I am a pretty big Webflow fan. It seems to export fairly clean code and the interface is really easy to use. One of the things I really wish I could do, though, is granularly control things. I am a designer with a background in front-end development and the inability to edit code right in Webflow is a bit of a downer.

It also seems to require you to add a class to nearly everything to style it. It would be nice to use proper CSS selectors to target elements without requiring users to add a class to them.

Scarlet seems to have both of those capabilities so I’ll definitely give it a look when it rolls out but, for now, I’m a Webflow fanboy. :smile:


i’m personally really looking forward to Pagecloud. Looks amazing!


Scarlet looks awesome but Webflow has talked about publishing and if they nail that you will have one tool to manage both the design and backend(if that is how its supposed to work). With Scarlet you gonna have the same problem many have with Webflow at moment. How can I hand over this site to a client for him to edit and add content.

But it is exiting time for us designers :smile:


I say we all wait and see what Scarlet actually is before we fear the demise of our beloved Webflow. Macaw was a pretty simple app. Wasn’t anything to write home about when it came out - just another editor type app with a few little interesting gimmicks. It made it’s money on hype and I haven’t heard about it much since. Now this entirely new software? That even in their marketing material states that you should have a good understanding of HTML, CSS, and JS to use (I personally think the same for Webflow if you want to utilize it properly). However Webflow does a pretty good job at not scaring people away with those claims.

They might be spreading themselves thin with more products. I am going to predict a pretty bare bones editor. No editable image sliders, tabs, forms, etc. We will probably be adding any extras on our own, at the beginning anyways.


Macaw was sold as what Macaw Scarlet is supposed to be. Used it, and it is what it is. Couldn’t quite get the interface as it wasn’t intuitive right off the bat. Now it will be relegated to a prototyping/quick mockup tool.

That said, it is good to have options. Competition is always good, right?

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I am interested to see what Scarlet allows us to do. MACAW looked so promising but when it was released it ended up being quite a ‘meh’ product.

I have already noted the caveat of people who have a good understanding of HTML, CSS and JS will get the best results so I feel like they are already covering their butts on their promises. We shall see, I’ve spent a lot of time with apps that are truly aimed for designers and there is a reason I choose Webflow over all else, because they deliver on their promise.

I think if Webflow implement some of these features and CMS capabilities then the best can only get better. #WebflowFanBoy


No no. Macaw was sold as a prototyping tool or a quick tool for designers to turn their static image into code to hand over to their developer- not a web design editor like people keep assuming. They’ve stated this many time on Twitter and if you look at the copy on their site it bascially said you can design using Macaw and then can hand it over to your developer, etc.

Scarlet is actually the Macaw people wanted it to be.

Ah, then I must have had the wrong impression then. Interestingly, the current copy does not sell Macaw as a prototyping tool, rather, a web design tool. Hence my assumption.

In any case, with Scarlet, there seems to be a clear differentiation in both their tools and its purposes.

For now, I’m sticking to Webflow.

Ya it was kind of vague when they first launched. I actually tweeted them specifically awhile back asking who Macaw was aimed for and they stated it was just a prototyping tool - not a complete web design tool.

Even in their FAQ on the Scarlet website it answers the question.

“Scarlet is a completely different tool. The previous version of Macaw excelled at prototyping and mockups. Scarlet is focused more on building full-fledged design systems.”

Scarlet seems to be that tool now though. I am still not sure the extent of what they are going to offer and if it will be a one time purchase like Macaw. It still looks like you will be editing code to get a truly custom design. They seem to mention a lot that you will need an understanding of HTML/CSS/JS to use it. I find that Webflow is the same deal though. Ya you don’t have to type the code but you really do need to have a basic knowledge of web design to take advantage the power that Webflow offers.

I think the dream that Macaw was selling was that a designer can “draw” code. So designers who are used to tools like Photoshop and Sketch can draw boxes on the Macaw canvas and it will output “semantic” code. When a tool shows off that they export clean, semantic code, they are essentially saying that it’s production-quality (beyond just a mockup).

I saw a few tweets from Macaw saying that they’re a prototyping tool, but that messaging didn’t go beyond tweet replies. Their entire marketing message was about “drawing” beautiful, semantic html/css that’s ready to be handed off to a developer or to push live on a server.

What is Scarlet? I think it’s a tool for front-end coders and for designers that have experience with coding websites. I think they’re giving up on the promise that code can be drawn, which was the #1 thing that got all types of multi-disciplinary designers excited and hopeful. The Scarlet landing page states “Was this site built in Scarlet? Indeed, it was! However, it was designed by someone with an understanding of HTML, CSS and JS. That is a prerequisite for making the most of Scarlet.” That’s to say that you don’t just need to understand these languages, you have to be able to write them pretty proficiently to create similar web experiences. (Check out the JS file, which is written by an experienced programmer: I personally think Scarlet will appeal to some designers out there that like to code, but i’d argue that it’s a smaller percentage of the people on their email list.

Webflow’s mission is to empower designers/entrepreneurs/pseudo-coders to build the same stuff that experienced front-end/back-end developers build, but do it way faster and without touching a line of code. One of the biggest hurdles currently in Webflow is understanding web design basics like the box model and working with classes/selectors. But as soon as new users get those concepts they are empowered to design awesome stuff. They don’t have to write code. I think theres a big difference there. Down the road we’ll have some type of code integration that makes sense, but at the moment we’re trying to solve a harder problem. (Visual coding? haha)


Just. Yes. Nicely written @thesergie


Exactly this!!


Yeah, I’m checking out PageCloud right now. It looks pretty cool. I’m already a founding member with The Grid and wondering now if PageCloud or The Grid is the better choice.