Framer has been one of my favorite design tools for the last couple of years. It’s an amazing tool for making advanced interactive prototypes that look a lot like the final product. But if you’re reading this you’re probably already familiar with the tool, so let’s get directly to the reason why we’re here: Framer X.
Framer X has officially been released to the masses one week ago today. I’ve had the chance to play with it over the last few weeks thanks to the Beta program. Having used Version 1.0 for the last week, I can comfortably say that Framer X is not ready for prime time yet. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Framer X and some of its new amazing features such as Stacks, I just think the release was a bit rushed. Here’s why.
No Hand-off! Still?
One of the most important things to a Designer is being able to easily hand off work to clients or Developers with the ability to easily inspect it and get specs, assets and even code. Framer never really had great hand-off features but with the release of a brand new product in 2018, you’d expect something as important as Hand-off would be baked in.
At the moment, the only way to sort of make it work is to literally send a copy of the project itself (the actual .framerx file) to the client or developer, which is only the most inconvenient way to hand-off.
Framer Cloud is MIA
One of the best features I loved about the now-called Framer Classic was the ability to upload your projects to the cloud. Not only were we able to save our projects to the cloud and access it from anywhere or re-download it later, it allowed us to create sharable links and access previous versions.
Framer Cloud is nowhere to be seen in Framer X at the moment. We can still create sharable links but as it currently stands, it’s probably the most useless feature in Framer. In Framer Classic (Framer Studio), when we created a sharable link, we were able to send that link to anyone and they’d be able to view and interact with the project at any time.
When we generate a link in Framer X, that link is only good for some time. It’ll expire the second you close the project and you have to regenerate a new one when you open it again. That is just bonkers. I’m almost certain that the Framer Team is working to bring cloud and better sharable links to Framer X, but until that happens, Framer X will be behind the competition in the cloud and sharing game.
Offline Mobile Preview is no longer
My absolute most favorite feature of Framer Classic was the ability to not only view your prototypes directly on your phone but to download them for offline use. This was such an awesome feature, unfortunately it didn’t make it to Version 1 of Framer X. We can only hope that the Framer Team is working to bring this back ASAP.
The built-in Component Store is a genius idea, once Framer figures it out
The built-in Component Store is I think what will make Framer X stand out in the long run. It’s a neat idea to have a one-stop shop for downloading, updating and managing Components (basically Plugins), but it is a complete mess as it stands.
First of all, the fact that anyone can submit a component and have it appear in the store within seconds without any review or guidelines is an absurd idea. Imagine what a mess the Apple App Store would be if Apple just allowed any and everyone to just submit applications without any review process or guidelines, it’s just inconceivable.
This needs to be fixed ASAP, Framer should definitely have a review process and guidelines for submitted components. This will make sure that only quality components make it to the store.
A major problem with code components
You know how you open Sketch sometimes and all of a sudden one of your favorite plugins stopped working because Sketch received an update but the plugin developer hasn’t updated it yet? Yep, same in Framer X but only worse.
This morning, I opened Framer X to work on a project I started a few days ago. An update to a component I downloaded from the store was available, so I said great and updated it. It’s called iPhone X Kit by Kasimir Hirvikoski. It’s actually a great component that allows us to just drag and drop an iPhone X-style status bar and home indicator (home button). Definitely recommend it.
After updating the component, my canvas looked like someone was murdered on it. Red error messages appeared everywhere I had previously dragged that component.
I still don’t know exactly what the issue is (maybe the component name was changed?) but all I know is that no one wants to see their hard work completely messed up because of a component update. I had to delete the component (the error messages) and re-drag them to every screen, that’s just not convenient.
Chopped up Zooming (yep, imported right from Framer Classic)
Zooming in Framer X has to be the most painful experience in a design tool ever. Most design tools have smooth zooming where you barely ever see any lag, try zooming in Adobe XD or Figma and you’ll see what I mean. To Framer’s defense though, it was the same way in Framer Classic too, so I guess they just gave up on trying to make it better.
Performance in Framer X definitely needs some more work. I currently have a project with only 15 Frames (Artboards) in it but it lags when I try to even drag things or move things around.
Framer X is new, so we don’t expect it to be completely stable. I haven’t had many crashes but every now and then you run into a bug like this one ↓.
My final take on Framer X is that it has a few things to work on before it can compete with Sketch, Figma and the likes. It’s an awesome tool with great potential but the Framer Team will need to improve it a whole lot before it can be used for client work.
I’ve used a real project to test Framer X, as it’s the most effective way to fully learn about a new product and its capabilities.
I haven’t lost faith in Framer X yet. I have no doubt that the Framer Team will be fixing many of these issues soon but in the meantime I’ll stick to Framer Classic, Figma and Sketch.
Thank you for reading.