Back in November 2011 I drafted a blog post on Adobe's new beta, Muse, a designer oriented program to foster an ease of website production for the print media designer. I get it, heck 10 years ago Dreamweaver had layout mode and I was a fan - draw it, make it happen - no code, no fuss. If I never have to layout a webpage again, that would be fine with me. Well, my first look didn't get me very excited. In fact, I was pretty much ready to flame it and I chose to hold off. It was the holiday season. I didn't want to wind up on Santa's naughty list and everyone knows you shouldn't bust out the can of whoop-ass around turkey time, it just doesn't go well with the stuffing and the gravy... I hit "Save Draft" and moved on...
Well, it's nearly March and I hate March. Ready to fire away, I just looked over the most recent public beta of Muse (Version 6) and well, there may be some hope, but I'm not counting on it. Below is my original draft of this post along with some updates based on the latest info. Heading in the right direction? Maybe. I don't know when the release date is scheduled and what's next on the road-map so the jury is still out.
Here's what i don't like so far:
- It's xhtml, not html5 - you're kidding right? after this weeks announcement on adobe's orientation to html5 and emerging web standards? i was so shocked, i almost yelled at firebug when i inspected the page - "you're a liar, firebug!" but it never lies, and it wasn't lying this time - it's old html, and it didn't even validate http://jigsaw.w3.org/ update: Muse does appear to be generating html5 now, but so far, all i see is the html5 <doctype> / <html> tag - not one single semantic tag for html5 - <header>, <section>, <article>, <aside>, <nav>, <footer> - not one of them appear in the content - so while they can technically say "it's html5", what's the point, really?
- Kinda obvious after the first point, but guess what - i looked at the Muse showcase websites on mobile devices - and you guessed it, they look terrible. OK, Maybe they don't all look terrible, some looked good and most were lousy and some where unusable. (an entire navigation div was hidden in one case). Now, mobile rendering of content is no picnic, but they don't even have a <meta> tag to set the text scale to 1. difficult or not, mobile is driving the market place right now and it's a big hit to the value proposition of muse if it's not addressing mobile rendering.
- <div> hell & "class-itis" - well, this is usually a maintenance issue, but since a generator is doing all the work, who cares...My only concern is the massive amount of html & css needed for the rendering which simply can't be efficient for our mobile device friends. oh, maybe this thing is never gonna fly for mobile rendering. ouch.
- jquery 1.4. WTF? This product is in beta, why wouldn't it be hanging right on the edge with the most recent stable version? update: It's using jquery 1.7 now
- CSS reset ISO normalization method. again, old school. bummer update: looks like they are using CSS normalization now.
what's not so bad:
- binding events is happening declaratively (from scripts, not the html tags) so that's good. despite the hellacious nesting of divs and class names up the wazoo, there isn't any embedded events for rollovers, etc...
Long story short - why bother? I got all excited watching the Adobe TV video about the product - the testimonials from the team ("We are so psyched", "Muse is gonna be great") had me charged up! I'd say it would have been a great tool if they rolled it out about 5 years ago. I actually looked to see if this was really an old beta product that got orphaned on adobe labs - perhaps I was simply looking at an archive? Nope, it's real, it's now, and it's not that great. If that puts me on the naughty list, oh well, it won't be the first time.