The Evolution of Live Preview Environment Design

I did a presentation last year at DevCamp Mtl on the “The Evolution of Live Preview Environment Design” using PressWork as an example of where we are today and how the idea was essentially born.

I find it fascinating that there aren’t more frameworks or web apps taking advantage of or employing front-end modification. It’s a natural progression as we move further away from web 2.0 everyday, thankfully, and closer to the “Human Web”.

I’ve been thinking about this evolution a lot lately. Recently there has been a lot of internal discussion about where we see the project going, the future of PressWork Pro ( … it’s coming … ), and what more we can do for the end-user. Let’s face it, it’s what the end user wants and needs and the majority of WordPress users are just that – end-users  – not developers, not designers, and they don’t have the time or background to pick up these skills. That being said, developers and designers can still take full advantage of these features, and it makes a great offering for their clients.

This is why in the early days of computer application design Windows made a smart, and well timed, move to a GUI. Since then we’ve seen the evolution of Word-processors and visual editors evolve themselves to a more human like interface. The addition of features like color, font, table, image, and arrangement panels have made a huge difference in the way end-users interact with their applications and even the quality of what they produce has increased.

In the early stages of PressWork we were very focused on what would make the developers job easier, which is great, but WordPress already handles this well and there are plenty of tools available for developers to help mainstream their projects.

We very quickly realized that what would set PressWork a part from other frameworks and take WordPress into a whole new direction would be to “evolve” the human connection by providing an easy way for end-users to modify their site without any understating of code or the WordPress back-end. It would also make new users to WordPress feel more comfortable in the environment. This is what makes PressWork successful. Most user feedback we get is in response to our Toolbar.

How far can we take this? That is the big question we are trying to answer everyday with the help from our community and as we build our team.