This article was not endorsed by Silex or the Silex Foundation.
What is Silex?
A problem with most website builders, is users of these website builders may encounter limitations in what they can fully do in their websites.
In website builders, users are able to design and control their website to their preference, with even more advanced settings to customise further. Users are limited to that, they aren't able to control the back-end of their website. If they want to improve or tweak the code itself, they're limited. If they want to save up and use a free hosting service, well they can't. Of course it beats the purpose of "no-code", but giving users an option, a choice, is something every software should offer.
As a user, we trust the software we use to work and function properly. But most website builders aren't open-sourced, meaning the source code, how the software itself works, isn't publicly available. With this, how can users really trust their software?
That is the principles of Silex, allowing users to trust the software while knowing how everything works. Silex is a no-code website builder that allows anyone to create beautiful websites without having previous coding knowledge.
What makes Silex different?
Silex is an open-sourced, community backed website builder. Built by the Silex Foundation in 2003, it officially became open-sourced in 2009. Since then, they have believed in the principles of providing free and open-sourced software to all.
What features does v3 have?
v3 is Silex's latest version. While still in development, some users can have early access to it. For now, v2 still remains in editor.silex.me.
Silex's principles have changed. In v3, it's completely focused on giving users control and freedom, therefore it has let go of GitHub and Dropbox as hosting providers and connectors. If it isn't free and open-sourced, it doesn't follow Silex's principles.
Silex currently supports two ways to use it, through FTP and GitLab. If you have your own FTP server, then it would be more convenient overall if you used the FTP server, GitLab also works well for a wider scope of it's users. By relying on a user's server and open-sourced service, Silex can stay free without having to host user's files, stay along it's principles, and force users to choose to learn between the two.
Silex features a neater dashboard than it's predecessor. With a neat, and visually appealing dashboard, it creates a nice, user-friendly vibe for new users. For website agencies, they can easily and neatly find their projects neatly listed on the dashboard.
Silex features a powerful, no-code Style Editor similar to Webflow. Users can easily customize General Settings, Dimensions, Typography, Decorations and Extras without having the need to code. All they need to know is what each and every value does, as they're essentially still just CSS classes in a no-code format.
It has 5 different categories: General, Dimension, Typography, Decoration and Extra, each with it's own usage. General allows you to set the type of display, i.e.
display: flex;. You have the option of block, inline, inline-block, flex, and none. Choosing flex shows an additional category, Flex, which allows you to customize the css flex value further.
You can also use the position of the element, static, relative, absolute and fixed and adjust the top, left, right, bottom values too.
Dimensions allow you to adjust the size, width, height, etc, of the element. Typography allows you to set the font family, font size, font weight and more. Decorations allows you to set a background colour and a border along with its size and curve radius. Extra adjusts the opacity and additional CSS values.
With this, the Style Editor allows anyone to have full control of their websites by giving them control over all the CSS values, while giving a no-code experience/
Silex also has layers, and I, personally- probably recommended the idea. With layers, you can arrange elements on how they'll be written on export, so that your website will be structured properly. It's a feature lacking in v2, and we're happy with that being in v3.
Silex v3 also allows you to add fonts easily, while again, giving a no-code experience. Instead of having to put it in a
@import url('');, at least it's easier for users to add fonts, without having the need to code. Currently in it's beta, it's lacking the feature to use a CDN for the fonts, something that v2 only had. Hopefully it will be added back in the future.
Sadly some features will be stripped off. The classic Responsize won't be used anymore. Preview files, currently, won't be generated anymore, which may change in the future. Cloudexplorer2 and Unifile is obsolete, but with it we're also getting more freedom of services, with the talk of using IPFS and ownCloud.
Overall, 5 out of 6 stars. It truly can be the next-gen Webflow.