Website builders are mainstream, and now there is a free software alternative

The word “website builder” may have multiple meanings but it has evolved today toward something different from the tra ditional CMS.

Wikipedia’s article about website builders states that

   Website builders are tools that typically allow the construction of websites without manual code editing. They fall into two categories:  
- online proprietary tools provided by web hosting companies. These are typically intended for users to build their private site. Some companies allow the site owner to install alternative tools (commercial or open source) - the more complex of these may also be described as Content Management Systems;  
- offline software which runs on a computer, creating pages and which can then publish these pages on any host. (These are often considered to be “website design software” rather than “website builders”.)  

So it clearly does not include Wordpress, Joomla and the numerous members of the CMS family, which are usually free or open source software. They require quite a bit of coding in order to do design but they are great tools to edit websites with a lot of content (hence the name, Content Management System).

At one point, the term "website builder" meant the desktop applications like BlueGriffon, Adobe Dreamweaver, which run locally on your system, they need to be downloaded and installed, the require updates, releases and sometimes interact with the cloud. But today the website builder world is clearly dominated by web proprietary applications like Wix, Squarespace and co. These are SaaS and Freemium services, which offer a great way to design websites with the mouse and little technical knowledge. They have the tendency to lock the users in a solution and force them to use their paid and expensive hosting. In some cases, the company monetize the visitors of the websites created with their tool, either sacrificing their privacy or exposing them to ads.

So now let’s be serious, this kind of tool, which puts the internet users in a position where they are the product, need a free and open source alternative -and libre would be great.

Please note that

So now there is this other French non profit organization Silex Labs, where we have developed collaboratively a tool to teach people web design, and it turns out that it is a very good free software alternative to proprietary website builders. I present to you Silex, the free and open source website builder.

Silex has a small growing community, we create free and paid templates, and nice websites. We also have a way to crowd fund features. This is a great way to co-develop a software and make it fit your needs.

Note that Silex does not let you publish your website on its own, you will need a third party to host your website like Indie Hosters or Gandi, and since Silex generates static HTML websites, any hosting company will be able to host your sites.

Come on and jump in!