Plans for the repeater widget going forward

Dear Axure:

[start soapbox rant]

I say this as a long time user and as a friend:

I’ll be honest, the only reason I continue to use Axure is that it can help me to somewhat replicate the often messy details of dynamic data sets – those list / search / filter interactions that everyone takes for granted, but are poorly communicated through image-swapping prototypes like Figma and Invision. With every new Axure release I anxiously wait to see whether you’ll finally give the feature the shot in the arm it needs. Axure 10 was yet another disappointment in this regard.

Sadly, I get the sense that you’re sorry you ever introduced the repeater. The enhancements you’ve made to it over the versions have been minimal, and the fact that repeaters are still frustratingly limited in their ability to mimic real-world workflows like CRUD or popular patterns for list/detail management make me think that you’d rather not bother. I mean, it’s still a nightmare to try to get widgets below a repeater to move up or down when the repeater grows or shrinks. The notion that you can’t bind two rendering options to a repeater seems like a massive oversight … show me a UI that doesn’t have both a grid view and a list view of the same data.

What I can tell you is that over the last few years as Sketch and then Figma have eaten the design world and the entire design community has fallen into the allure of the Invision model of prototyping being glossy beautiful static images, the companies that I work for continue to abandon Axure as part of the toolset. I have to maintain a personal license just so I can help my teams solve and or see design problems from a data perspective. Now that licensing is by subscription, I’m likely done. It’s going to be easier for me to use something like Wappler or Appsmith, because these tools will let me validate interactions with dynamic datasets.

The big thing that’s always been missing in prototyping except for a few tools has been data awareness. I’ve posted about this before, but in my opinion you could crush the competition by focusing on making it easy to make fake webapps that work like real webapps. Whether that’s by connecting to an internal data source, like the repeater, or by enabling connections to APIs and providing good toolkits to map JSON responses to UI widgets, either of these would rock.

I get that one problem is how you bundle up a nosql database into the axure generation, and I’m sure there are a host of other technical challenges, but this is the sweet spot, IMHO. I don’t need another drawing tool, I need a web application prototyping tool. These are very different beasts. Axure used to be the go-to because of its dynamics and programmability, and now you’re in a catch up game with Figma and the gang. Screw them. Do what’s right.

With all respect,

Iain

[end soapbox rant]

4 Likes

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve used Axure for many years, but I’m still hesitating to buy RP 10, even with the big discount, for the exact same reason as lain.

I’m in a similar position, constantly fighting to show that “Imagine you’re filling in this form…” is not the same as “Fill in this form…”. In terms of educating people that prototypes that emulate the real world as closely as possible is hugely valuable, Figma has knocked the cause back.

But surely the bods at Axure HQ know they they’re going to be on the back foot and are looking at ways to differentiate themselves?

I’ve used repeaters an awful lot for things like search prototypes. They are so powerful, but so painful to work with.

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