[FEEDBACK NEEDED] Drag and Drop (DnD) vs. Snap to Place (StP)

Hi Thunkers!

Our vision is to make the Drag and Drop (DnD) platform our primary development platform - which I’m sure you’ve heard about a bunch in the last few months. We’re thrilled to see that so many of you have already built and published amazing apps using DnD!

To catch you up on our upcoming plans, we plan to continue improvement on DnD by completing the following:

  • Finalize our Converter, to help you easily convert your StP projects to DnD
  • Continue to add features on DnD to help you accomplish everything you can on StP and more
  • Continue to provide DnD resources on Youtube, and updating our Docs on DnD

We’ve noticed that there are some of you out there that are still using our StP platform (we don’t blame you, it’s pretty neat).

For those who have not switched over to DnD, we’d love to hear from you - what’s holding you back? Will the above plans suffice? What else can we do to help make the transition as painless as possible?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Best,
Cassandra

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Clone and Create are essential and I use them in many tasks in different apps. Not having them in DnD is a huge disadvantage.

Extended setting for labels and Text_Input and other components makes it very hard to use the DnD. Just imagine, I cannot change the ugly default shape of the Text_Input component.

I like the cloud variables to retrieve data from Firebase but do not like that I cannot test for errors and have to settle for synchronous data retrieval. This does not help at all.

Your Web Viewer in both UI(s) is heavy and buggy and it is always a blockade to add extra functionality to the app.

Web Viewer works when using an HTML file uploaded as an asset in iOS but not in Android. Again this is in both UI(s) and gives more troubles that providing a solution.

DnD emprovements:

  • Need auto alignment of multiple components in the screen.
  • Need a way to multi-select components and move them around or change a common setting.
  • Ability to resize a component by code.
  • Hope to have a better way to use fonts.
  • Hope to be able to use HTML tags to format text inside labels.
  • The Group component should have a better use and can change the general settings of components inside it.
  • The Group component should have scroll bars both sides.
  • Image component is still very basic in managing the image file in it.
  • The WYSIWYG needs a lot of work. I see a button with text aligned in the designer and in the phone screen it is not and the text wraps to the second line instead of the button size changes accordingly.

There are more but let’s start with this.

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I was going to write a bunch of reasons I still use the Snap to Place interface but @muneer has very efficiently summed them up and more! Here are two major issues for me:

And I would just elaborate that in addition to being able to specify certain properties of components in DnD, we also need the ability to set those properties via blocks. I know you may want examples and I’ll see if I can think of any – at the moment, my brain is full from teaching 1st graders how to build bubble wands in our makerspace! :stuck_out_tongue:

Edit: sorry, just reading over @muneer’s feedback more carefully and yes, groups just don’t feel useable to me. I don’t really understand them, I haven’t seen a decent tutorial or documentation that really explains them well (I could have missed something…). I rely on rows and columns but groups don’t yet feel like a proper substitute.

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Multi-selected components property change is necessary. If I want to set all the labels in the screen to have the same background color or the same text color then I can easily multi-select them and change the property once and all of them will have that change implemented.

This is what I mean about multi-select. Of course in addition to alignment (align all selected component to the left or to the right). I used this feature in VBA in the early 2000. I can’t image it is missing from the DnD UI.

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The Save My Screen feature in StP, although buggy but it saves a lot of extra work in re-doing the components and the code.

DnD does not have a similar feature. You can copy (duplicate) the screen in the same project and it comes without code blocks. Quite surprisingly, the first edition of DnD has the Saved Screen feature and then taken out.
image

Most needed feature in my opinion
Global functions. Why do I have to repeat the function in every screen and had to find names for each duplicate function.

When I use a Data Viewer List / Grid, it adds an extra screen to my project. Totally confusing.

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The title of this post should be ‘You can now do everything in DnD that you could in StP, Please use the converter tool to transfer your projects’.

The next line should be ‘We are now going to pause the developement of the DnD platform to focus on new features like the IAP, that we have promised for over a year’.

I only hope that, when the time will come to go further, to DnD interface, will have the option to convert StP projects to new UI. Personally, i prefer StP (just a matter of taste, i find it more organized) and all my work is in StP. :thinking:

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The only reason i am not switching to DnD is Because When i design something in DnD i have a 10% change that it Will look great.
And It Just sizes the way i want it.
And the other 90% Just looks terrible.
While When i use StP everything Just looks Great sizes the right way etc.

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Once you learn to use one interface, it is difficult to move to another. And especially if you don’t have the same options.
On the other hand, I would like to know if someday they will improve the map markers, like custom icons, and group them according to the zoom level, and more speed to set pins.

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same as everyone!

but one, how to add firebase Realtime DB in DnD mode

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This inquiry should go to the Thunkable Discuss. Any how, you can use cloud variables to read/write to Firebase RTDB in both StP and DnD. There are lots of examples and tutorials.

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ok

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This is probably the biggest downfall for me right now. I set up a public “playground” specifically to try out the DnD building. I just simply don’t get the Group component at all. With StP, I get the option to build my layout dynamically so that it looks the same on phones and tablets. The Group component gives me X/Y coordinates and pixels. How does this dynamically translate to a tablet? If my box is 500 pixels wide on a phone, it may fit perfect. However, a tablet is substantially larger. Without being able to use a percentage height/width component, no way I will use Groups to set up a layout.

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Feedback
StP UI is very good , Amazing ! I will give 5 stars :stars: :stars: :stars: :stars: :stars:
But,
DND I like that also but Why can’t you put a Realtime_DB in it , I know that the thunkable is saying to use cloud variable as Realtime_DB But it is not working like Aloha chat app I have saw it , it is working but when I remixes it , it doesn’t work ,why ? and in StP there is Advanced Tab But in DND it is not there ,why ?
And In DND when we make app and test it in THUNKABLE LIVE APP the shadow opacity is higher in Live test app rather then testing in PC or LAPTOP
I like the DND UI but I have these complains with it
But I will give 5 Star Rating :stars: :stars: :stars: :stars: :stars:
Just solve my Queries

Thank you
Regards
Rishabh

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They mixed the advanced tab with normal properties section. @rishabh_2008

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The DnD platform has great potential. I’d like better in-UI feedback about what the system is doing internally.

For instance, if I center a button, I see the red vertical line, which is great. In my properties, though, it just shows x,y, width and height, which is confusing to me because I believe the red line means it will center it in whatever size UI I end up in.

I also think percentages are used internally when items are dropped, but the properties don’t show those percentages.

I may be totally confused on this and missing some documentation. My suggestion though is to show more of the smarts that are happening internally in the properties screen

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Another suggestion on the Drag and Drop interface: make the “advanced block” default, or even eliminate the unadvanced version, for blocks like “photo from camera”. You always need to deal with “cancel” for instance, and I don’t think you gain much with novice users by hiding the more advanced block, and in fact it will cue them to deal with “cancel”.

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I’m not sure how I feel about this one. Thunkable is powerful and complex and yet easy to learn. So on the one hand, having simplified blocks makes sense – it invites and encourages new users. But the fact that there’s no visual cue on a block that it has an advanced section is problematic. Because many new users never realize that they have additional options. As a more advanced user, I agree that having the advanced section visible by default makes sense.

It would be nice to have a global user profile setting that enables all advanced block sections by default. At this point, I can’t imagine ever using a simplified block in my code.

And while we’re on the point, the Advanced blocks drawer should always be visible. It’s weird to me that it’s hidden by default. The title “Advanced” is already an indication to tread cautiously… we don’t really need to also hide them.

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I tried using the DnD but found it a bit frustrating. So I went back to StP which I definitely prefer.

Main issues I had were:

  • DnD slows down (A LOT) when you start having lots of blocks. I am spending significant time waiting while switching between design and blocks mode.
  • Resizing for different devices was really challenging. Little bugs or things that didn’t quite work meant I was spending hours trying to get simple UI stuff sorted.
  • Inprecise - Although using rows and columns can be a little bit tedius, I still prefer it because I know can work out why something is looking the way it looks. With DnD, things were resizing and shifting around in ways that didn’t make sense to me.

Something else which is a bit hard to explain… but essentially when I am making an app my brain is in ‘coding’ mode. Using drag and drop is a different kind of cognitive process I feel, and it sort of makes it harder to really get in the zone.

I used to use Bubble a fair bit, and also found the same issues with their drag and drop interface. I guess it make it easier for some people but yeah… I really like the StP. Once you get over that initial learning curve it seems easier in the long run to me.

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I vote for DnD. and that saves me a LOT of time.

and so my mom won’t kick me out for long screen time before my project’s completed. :grinning:

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