Framer Sites CMS

I haven’t been paying enough attention to Framer, it seems. They just released a video showing their new CMS feature:

I didn’t realize what Framer has become. I initially thought it was just an alternative to Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD, but they are becoming an all-in-one solution for both design and building sites. As they state on their site, this would replace both Figma and Webflow.

My initial thought was, “oh no, is it responsive? Is there going to be a lot of absolute positioning and other bad practices?” And I have no idea if there is any of this nonsense, but it appears from the video that things are responsive – by default, at least.

What I’m most excited about

Even if I don’t use the site I built in Framer, it appears[1] to be a great tool to quickly whip up a site design and share a preview link with clients. I often use Webflow for prototyping and then build the design using another platform, and before that, I built the prototype using HTML and CSS.

Lately though, I have begun to realize just how good a proper design tool like Figma can be for designing a blueprint of sorts to go off of when I build the site. Framer appears to be similar to Figma but with more of a web design focus, which is huge. I often wished Figma had a sort of CMS in it so I could quickly design a repeating set of objects.

Oh, and Framer has a desktop app, even though I’m 99.99999% sure it’s an Electron web view (ugh).

Some downsides

Framer seems to be confusing self-hosting with proxying/CDNs in the documentation. It doesn’t appear you can actually self-host a Framer site. Webflow allows you to export HTML, CSS, JS, and all assets, and, as long as you weren’t using Webflow’s CMS, you can just drop those straight onto a server.

And, I bet there will be other (potentially expensive) downsides similar to Webflow’s, most likely related to having multiple designers/editors on your site. For example, if I wanted to hand off a Webflow site to a client so that they can adjust the design themselves, but they still want me to have the ability to design too, that would mean a Team plan at $40/m, not including hosting. What does it cost to add a user to WordPress? $0.

Other things

You can write and use React components, and they support imports from NPM.

They optimize images, a big thing for me. Webflow supports this too, I just have to bring it up every time I look at another platform because it’s sadly the exception, not the norm.

They do have appear to have a setting to respect the reduced motion preference.

Things I want to see

An accessibility checker to catch common errors like missing alt text, non-semantic HTML, and contrast issues. Webflow has this.

An actual forum instead of the Discord nonsense that has infected so many startups these days – and non-startups too, like the CloudFlare Workers/Pages team. Absolutely shameful. Great way to control the public narrative early on and not worry about forum maintenance I suppose.

  1. I haven’t actually used Framer yet ↩︎