Web Design SaaS

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Web Design tools are going SaaS-Software as a Service whether you are designing websites with HTML pages or using a CMS like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or others. Here is a sampler:
This is the Flipsnack Widget from Snack Tools

What makes a  Web Design SaaS tool? Simple – all three ingredients of the Web Design tool are done remotely from the Web Design SaaS  tool’s server. For example, the Flipsnack flip slidemaker  runs online not on your PC nor within your CMS as a plugin. Second all of the creative design objects and assets are stored on the SaaS server as well. Finally, the output slider is delivered from the SaaS server not directly from your website or CMS. However some SaaS tools do allow users to download their designs for embedding  as the user chooses.

Here is the Flipslider created with Flipsnack:
Be sure to try full screen operation, just click on the Flipbook.

What does Web Design SaaS cost? Well Flipsnack is typical and  as you might suspect, there are several options but here is the major breakdown:

The worst proposition is the Points choice because you quickly exhaust your points creating 7-8 sliders. So $100 dollars per year is not too bad  for the FlipPro SaaS with unlimited flipping books and 25,000 daily views. But on second thought it seems  a bit expensive. The next offer of all the Snack SaaS Design tools for $192/year is more attractive if you plan to use 3 or more of their 8 tools [Photosnack, Podsnack, Pollsnack, Tubesnack, Bannersnack, Slidesnack, Notifysnack, along with Flipsnack].  In the next few weeks , some of the other Snack tools will be reviewed here on theOpenSourcery.com.

Comparison to Adobe CC Offering

Adobe has earned some mixed reviews and reactions to its Creative Cloud offering. Here is a comparison of  Creative Cloud offerings compared to Web SaaS tools like Snack Tools or Wufoo Forms processing.

Comparison of Web SaaS Tools versus Adobe Creative Cloud
Category Web SaaS Tools Adobe Creative Cloud
Designmaker Online only Desktop primarily – some online options
Design assets Online only Both online and on the desktop
Operational data Online primarily Online and desktop
Updates to tool Direct to SaaS tool anytime Updates to desktop
Design Output From Saas Server or download Primarily on Desktop, some online
Cloud Storage Implied Unlimited in most cases 20GB
Pricing single tool About $100/year $240/year
Pricing tools package $200-250/year $600/year
Quality of tools Fairly high – watch for reviews Also fairly high – but some long-in-tooth

Two of the significant differences between SaaS Tools and Adobe CC tools is a)the SaaS tools are never downloaded so WordPress, Drupal  or other CMS users will have to get used to doing some of their widget and design work outside of the familiar surrounds  without all their creative assets immediately available.  The second major difference is  that download updates are required in the case of Adobe CC tools but not the SaaS toolswhich are always the latest and greatest version. In the latter,  case some users have complained that  Adobe updates are too fast, too slow, too disruptive, etc.

However, one common trait is that both the SaaS Tool makers and Adobe offer some compellingly low priced package deals. Both vendors offer free online services for a limited portion of their feature set.

Finally, SaaS Tools are competing against a community of existing commercial tool provider like Sencha,  Code Canyon and the like  while the number of free yet good plugins available both for direct use or as CMS plugins is very very large. Against this backdrop, the success of Web Design SaaS Tools will be interesting to watch over the next few years.

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