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Collaboration solution between client designer and vaadin developer

Sloan Clark
3 years ago May 22, 2019 12:20am

Hopefully, dumb questions are allowed here :-) Short Version: I am not a developer. I am the client/designer. It appears Vaadin has no way for the client of the developer to log into vaadin to do any kind of collaborative work. We do not want to use the Lumo look/feel for our consumer facing experience.

Longer: I run a saas company with a VERY well versed Vaadin developer who has the pro level subscription. He's made everything with the basic Vaadin presets, and now that we've got some customer traction and know what the customers want, it is time to dive into the UX. We currently have a relatively unattractive, perfectly effective "admin only" control system for our tech support to see.

I think I might have a gap in my understanding of what Vaadin is/isn't. As the "client" there seems to be no access path for me to use the Vaadin designer. He needs me kicking around options, saving drafts, etc. And ideally, the whole thing would actually work with real customer data, etc. I see no pricing for the type of access to the designer that the developer's client would need.

There are no results on the Sketch forums for "Vaadin" The only Google results for Sketch and Vaadin are a download from Vaadin if I want to make things that look like that "lumo" vibe (Maybe there is more to that download). I'm not finding any tutorials or discussions or success stories showing how any Vaadin developer collaborated with a non-developer.

What is the best way for a vaadin developer to set up a non-lumo world where a UX design oriented customer can work in a creative way to help build out the puzzle pieces. I do not want to be stuck with jpegs of what we wish things looked like. I want to make things Vaadin can use.

Last updated on May, 22nd 2019
Marc Englund
3 years ago May 23, 2019 2:06pm


This is actually a very good (and timely) question! ...and the answer to most good questions, including this one, is "it depends" – sorry ;-)

First of all it depends on 1) whether or not you're comfortable with CSS and 2) whether you are on Vaadin 8 or 10+ (I'm assuming the latter), but also 3) how the application is currently built/structured (since Vaadin gives you quite a bit of freedom of choice depending on your teams preferred way of developing applications).

Some pointers: The Lumo theme is actually surprisingly configurable; first take a look at how far you get by going that route. The Lumo editor will give you an idea: https://demo.vaadin.com/lumo-editor/

Tweaking Lumo will not help you with how things are laid out; this is what Vaadin Designer is for. Depending on how your application is currently implemented, you might not be able to open up existing views, though. You could still do the layout "from scratch", and your developer will be able to integrate your work quite easily.

Note however that

  • Vaadin Designer is not a drawing tool, it's a development tool, creating production-ready structured layouts. That is: there is a learning curve, at least if you're more of a designer (person) used to Sketch and such. We're planning to expand the target audience, but we've started from the "developer wanting to speed up layout work" (simplifying, but you get the point).
  • Though you can do the layouting and apply style names directly in Vaadin Designer, you still have to touch CSS when tweaking the visual look (if the Lumo editor did not get you what you wanted).
  • Vaadin Designer is a tool you install locally in your development IDE, and it does require a license.

Now the "timely" part of your question: You are right when you suspect we do not currently support the collaborative workflow you are ideally looking for. However, this is a need we are well aware of, and working to address. Your case sounds like a perfect example; we need to talk! :-) We are super excited about this topic, and would be very interested in discussing your needs, and what your ideal workflow would look like.

I realize this was probably not exactly the advice you were looking for; we have in-house Application Designers who work on Vaadin projects (our own, and consulting) every day – I'll ping them on Slack and see if someone wants to chime in with more specific advice.