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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Morelos, Mexico
    Posts
    148

    Default My humble look at the new version 17 of Web Designer Premium

    I’ve spent a little time checking out a few of the “What’s New” features of the new version of WDP, and specifically how it compares to version 16. Point by point, quoting in italics the features below (and consulting the Release Notes file), here’s what I found:

    Web
    Better handling of graduated fills mean smaller file sizes, and that means faster websites - a definite plus factor in Google ranking. And you’ll benefit from faster preview and publish times too!


    I generated a simple rectangular shape in both versions and gave it a gradient: Xara generates the gradient using CSS in both versions. In other words, it is SEO-friendly, but already was. The difference is that the new version eliminates the additional image file that was previously generated specifically for IE. The new version also eliminates the CSS coding to accommodate older versions of browsers like Chrome and Opera (the -webkit- and -o- “fall-backs”). The difference in bandwidth-use for the few characters in the coding is negligible. If we consider the case of a user with a modern browser, there is no improvement or difference in speed, bandwidth, or therefore, SEO.

    I added rounded corners to the rectangle: Again, both versions generate the element with CSS. The new version has again eliminated the additional image file for IE and the coding for older browser versions. The improvement for modern browser users and SEO is again insignificant.

    I added a wall shadow to the original gradient rectangle: Again, WDP generates the box-shadow using CSS in both versions and eliminates IE image and older browser coding. I.e., no real difference.

    I applied 16° skewing to the original rectangle in each version: Again, both generate the element via CSS coding. V17 eliminates the IE image file but maintains the old browser coding (-webkit-, -o-, -ms-) for skewing (not for the gradient). No difference for modern browser users.

    Finally, I added some combinations of features to the original gradient rectangle. Note that these can all be accomplished strictly using CSS coding, which is SEO-friendly, and should therefore be the ultimate goal of the Xara developers.
    - Combining rounded corners with skewing: v16 accomplishes this by generating an image file for all browsers. V17 generates the element via CSS, an improvement with regard to SEO.
    - Unfortunately, combinations of rounded corners with a wall shadow and skewing with a wall shadow aren’t similarly improved. They continue to be generated as an image file in v17.

    The fact that WDP has eliminated catering to IE from its website generation is a great step. It will perhaps take some time, but we hope that it will implement full CSS coding for more graphic features, eliminating the need for image files for most graphics, and truly being SEO-friendly.

    For anyone who already knows CSS or who is willing to spend a little time learning some, it is not an enormous effort to assign an htmlclass to elements via the naming feature and to insert the CSS in the webpage properties. You can control how the elements are generated and have more flexibility. And generating the elements directly through CSS rather than image files has the added benefit that they maintain their vector status, avoiding pixelation on larger screens. ~~~ A big thank you to Acorn. I learned this technique from one of his posts here on talkgraphics… and it is invaluable.

    * Just a note: I noticed that generating the page preview delays a bit more in v17 than in v16. Not sure why. This is in fact the opposite of the publicized claim, “And you’ll benefit from faster preview and publish times too!” In my simple examples, it is noticeable but not a problem. If the same happens when generating larger websites, it might be.
    ……

    A new ‘No follow’ option in the Link Dialog (prevents passing on ranking credit, often recommended for things like testimonial pages and product listings)

    If you have a lot of external links that you want search engines to ignore, this may be valuable to you. It’s definitely easy to implement. Personally, I have no need for it. Really, it’s just a tweak.

    The option to add an image filename (include keywords in your filename to optimize your position in relevant image searchs).

    A lot of users on talkgraphics have been calling for this, so many will benefit. My first attempt at this didn’t work. The image was named 2.jpg. In subsequent attempts, it worked. I’m not sure what happened the first time.

    Some time ago, I began accomplishing the same thing by assigning a name to the image or graphic, filename="***" (with no filetype extension), and the result is identical. If I’m not mistaken, this tip is also credited to a talkgraphics post from Acorn (if not, my apologies).
    ……

    Paragraph Borders & Backgrounds
    Some great new styles, perfect for headings or highlighting paragraphs of text. You can have borders, either with or without backgrounds. Includes control over border style, color and width and background color.


    It seems to work fine. I will continue designing “paragraph” boxes as separate elements, which allows a greater range of styling… rounded corners, transparency, gradients, etc. But for those who find it useful, it’s does what it says.
    ……

    Of the remaining improvements, as they are not pertinent to me, I did not explore them thoroughly.

    I did notice, however, that the extended Text Tool InfoBar, as shown on page 6 of the Release Notes, is not accurate. The second, third (tracking), fourth, and sixth tools are not present on the bar. In other words, it is still the InfoBar from v16. I see no way to access the options through the menu, so I assume this is an oversight that the developers will need to correct.
    ……

    All-in-all, the changes feel a bit more like tweaks than something to constitute a new version number. Hopefully, once the team finishes the major Cloud effort, they will offer us something more substantial the next time around.

    Hope this helps someone!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    SW England
    Posts
    11,353

    Default Re: My humble look at the new version 17 of Web Designer Premium

    Greg, your analysis is appreciated.

    Xara listened to me once and added the htmlclass="..." Name. Without it I was coding in jQuery to get to the same position.
    The filename="..." Name was down to steve.ledger. Xara didn't advise of its existence.
    filename="..." differs from Image filenaming as the latter is smarter in identifying slight tweaks so a new filename (and image) results whereas the old approach can only render a single view, losing the tweaks in the process (actually more complicated than this so the new approach is better). It is a pity the "integration" of names across different components has not occurred.

    Image filenaming was "discussed" in https://www.talkgraphics.com/showthr...c-image-naming and personally i feel the implementation falls far short of the points raised.

    Image filenaming still fails in NavBars and SmartShapes like Timelines as he same image is cloned and renamed regardless.

    The CSS improvements are actually very useful as when a user scales up the page the number of jaggies is greatly reduced. What is being gained is the need to use bandwidth to download images.
    Images do have an advantage over CSS as they can be cached: CSS has to be computed each and every time.

    Text Inside and other new features remove the design element from Xara by automating to what its designers think you need.

    All in Xara accept these are "tweaks". It's just bookkeeping to prove the Update Service has merit.

    Acorn
    Acorn - My currently active Xara software: XDPX (current, v15, v12 & 11 (64-bit)), unserviced XWD Premium 15 & 12, XPGD10, X3D7; lots of licences back through time (to CC's Artworks). If your Post identifies a Xara software fault, please raise it directly with Magix --> support2.magix.com.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Morelos, Mexico
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: My humble look at the new version 17 of Web Designer Premium

    Thanks, Acorn

    Quote Originally Posted by Acorn View Post
    filename="..." differs from Image filenaming as the latter is smarter in identifying slight tweaks so a new filename (and image) results whereas the old approach can only render a single view, losing the tweaks in the process (actually more complicated than this so the new approach is better). It is a pity the "integration" of names across different components has not occurred.
    I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "tweaks". Are you talking about the case where you redimension or modify an image, that the filename cannot accommodate both instances? Or is there something else that happens when the filename method is used?

    When I generated the page preview in v16, using the filename method and again in v17, using the new feature, the html code was identical. Of course, my testing was with two images and a vector graphic... not the most representative of real websites.

    Greg

 

 

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