Why are we here

Last updated - April 10, 2019

Aliadoc is a tool I had wished existed many times in the past. I always wanted to have something to do updates and tweaks to website designs I had made as quickly as possible. Even if you're a seasoned web developer it is often time consuming to test changes to a CSS stylesheet. Worst if you deal with more than one content management system (CMS), you'll know by now some platforms not always cooperate as you would like and you can easily find yourself spending even more time just to find out how to get to that file you need, than the time it takes to do the actual change.

There's another related problem: The wild proliferation of website platforms and CMS makes it difficult to keep up with all of their intricacies to even edit a simple stylesheet. And this situation is not going to improve anytime soon, on the contrary more and more website creation tools and platforms pop out at a fast peace, each with some kind of novelty but in the end all of them producing the same: websites. Static websites, dynamic websites, web catalogs, landing pages, you name it; the good thing is that in the end all of them produce the same too, a standard representation of a website made of HTML, CSS and JavaScript that any browser can show. And that standard aspect is key because is what lead us here, more on that in a moment.

On the other hand, we have witnessed the rise of SaaS taking over almost all aspects of what used to be traditional web development, starting from building the website itself to adding all sort of functionality web developers used to implement "by hand" in the past. Take a plain and simple contact form that sends an email; there're now a vast number of SaaS platforms offering you just that and innovating on top of it, expanding that simple idea to things few could imagined or needed before. And that is the case for many other web tools that have blossomed under this model in the last few years creating a healthy ecosystem of solutions and innovation. The bottom line is: SaaS platforms are here to stay as they fragmented web development into easy to consume, replaceable parts.

Let me be clear on this, I completely love SaaS and I find it to be a tremendous revolution in web development. It is a good model from different perspectives but the one I like the most is that everyone can get what they want faster, easier and in most cases cheaper too. It is a sustainable model, service providers get remuneration and with that, growth thus more innovation. Consumers get their problem solved in the easiest way possible plus they can switch providers when they decide, no vendor lock-in in most cases. Everyone win.

Back to what lead us here. I was telling you that the standard nature in web development is what lead us here and that is certainly the case. I just can't find yet anything that allows me do custom website styling in an easy way compatible with the SaaS model. And that is unfortunate because the web is made of standard technology at its core. You have HTML for the structure and content, CSS for the styling and JavaScript to add dynamic functionality on top of that; although recently the later is the predominant technology of them all. There's (still) a clear separation of concerns when it comes to these technologies and in that context its difficult to believe why such a tool is not here yet.

So we took the CSS and the JavaScript and decided to create a solution for the problem I was talking you about at first. A SaaS platform that is easy to hook into any website as is the case for most web tools delivered with this model (contact forms comes to mind, but also chatbots, surveys, subscription forms, analytics tools, sketching, video editing, and just about anything). So we built an online editor that instead of giving you an illustration file (Figma) a chatbot or any other website tool or widget, it gives you a CSS file with a supporting JavaScript for some advanced interactions.

There are many challenges in this idea but the full concept has been taking shape for the last 8 months. Apart from the inherent problems of an online website editor that is expected to do a decent job in letting you edit a live or published website, we also need to build a CSS delivery mechanism on top of a CDN to make the solution fast and easier to deploy in any website, build connectors for popular web platforms (WP, Wix, Shopify, etc) and overall round up the offering with an easy to use SaaS system to manage multiple pages, sites and offer additional functionality over time.

And I think this is enough for a blog opener, I'll be back soon sharing some more info about this project and its whereabouts. Stay tuned.

PD. Did I mention we're going to run a crowdfunding campaign to bootstrap some of the things I just said? we're now in pre-launch, head over to the top of this page if you're interested in a web tool like this and want to contribute making it happen!