Finnish web design solution provider Hammerkit has launched a closed beta of the new version of its cloud-based web design tool with revamped UI and features. The company’s tool allows web designers to implement even complex websites on their own, without the need for help from programmers. Traditionally web designers have built mock-ups and wireframes, and then transferred these over to programmers to implement and weave in database connections etc. dynamic functionality. Hammerkit aims to revolutionize this old school fashion, allowing creativity without learning complex programming techniques – thus the company’s tagline “a tool for the web punk generation.”
The new product is the version number four in Hammerkit’s line developed over a few years. For the latest much improved version, the team has spent six months talking to multiple digital agencies in Finland, Germany and the UK, to figure out the pain points in the designer-developer collaboration. They uncovered that the process for completing a website very often takes too long, even though the designer is using the same basic components over and over again. The problem is that these components also get handcrafted again each time with new site in question.
Hammerkit’s tool is a SaaS browser-based WYSIWYG visual editor, allowing designers to copy and paste website elements and functionalities, just as with text and images. The tool is targeted for professional web designers that understand the details of HTML, CSS and other web technologies, but do not have “hard coding” skills. Seeing the tool in action, it really seems to be that easy. However, it’s not meant for the average Joe not understanding the underlying technologies at all and just wanting to create a personal website using standard templates.
The company is hoping that designers who implement web sites for their customers, like SME firms, adopt the tool to significantly reduce delivery times and costs, while staying in total control of their design. The designers can build a complete website from scratch, including dynamic elements like social networking (e.g. Facebook widgets) and database connection (e.g. webstores) with no excess fuss. If a database is needed for the added functionality, and there isn’t an existing one, a new database is created automatically in the background on Hammerkit’s servers based on the designer’s specs.
Hammerkit’s “web punk” video:
Interestingly, the tool can be started and taken into use freely. There is a catch, of course – as soon as the designer wants to have their own domain for a website instead of using Hammerkit’s URL, the company charges a 250 eur fee from the designer and a recurring 29 eur monthly hosting fee from the end customer.
The tool also includes open API, which lets the user create and import fully customized functionality components. These customized components are currently customer-specific, but the company revealed that a store in which Hammerkit users could sell these components to other users (compare e.g. the Joomla! add-on business) could be coming just slightly later in the autumn, providing potentially additional revenue streams.