Subform Beta Invite

almost 6 years ago from , Sr. Product Designer @ Elastic

I received an invite to the Subform Beta program this morning. This is probably the first time I've seen a company charge such a steep price for beta access. $25/mo. And there's really no way to know if the tool fits my workflow before forking over the money.

Has anyone given this tool a run for its money yet?


  • Sacha GreifSacha Greif, almost 6 years ago

    I for one am a big fan of their logo. Very inspired!


    30 points
  • John Jackson, almost 6 years ago

    The concept intrigued me, but I wouldn't necessarily drop $25/mo to beta test a product. Invision Studio is coming out next month and Sketch is progressing forward with somewhat better support for responsive design.

    I'll probably try it sometime in 2018...maybe.

    10 points
    • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, almost 6 years ago

      It's unclear to me how Studio will have any better responsive design support than Sketch. As far as I can tell from videos and UI screenshots it is essentially the same controls. No web awareness or concept of box model or even CSS grid.

      1 point
      • Kilian Valkhof, almost 6 years ago

        They have a concept of (horizontal or vertical) flow layout, so it's not a full layout engine yet, but getting there.

        0 points
      • John Jackson, almost 6 years ago

        It's logical to assume that both Studio and Sketch will improve and expand upon their existing "responsive" support. From what I have seen, Subform does a much better job at that right now, but I'm not sure I could justify a transition to that tool for that alone. At least, not right now.

        0 points
  • Andrew Washuta, almost 6 years ago

    I'm probably a bit biased because I backed them on Kickstarter and was actually a part of their alpha testers, and I also don't pay a monthly fee. They truly have a promising tool on their hands in my opinion, hear me out. Not to mention, they're pushing updates usually bi-weekly that are some significant updates and additions to the tool. They're listening to users about features that need to be added and implementing them. Plus, they've got an image feature that they just pushed with their December 4th update that's unlike anything in other tools.

    Just a bit of background, I use Sketch, Illustrator, After Effects, Balsamiq, Figma (occasionally), and hopefully InVision Studio soon, in my daily workflow. I'm still experimenting with how I fit Subform in that workflow, but I'd love for it to replace other tools I've got, so I'm waiting for it to be out of beta before fully incorporating it. It will also need some added functionality as far as linking up with other tools / transitioning design to implementation, but I know they have some goals for this on their roadmap.

    In it's current state, Subform is finally getting the functionality that we, as designers need, in terms powerful grid features that do not exist in Sketch or elsewhere, and responsiveness that is next-to-none, among other features that they are continually pushing. They are also looking at using real-time data and pulling that into design. That's a beautiful thing for us as designers.

    Good products take time, this doesn't happen overnight — most of you should know this... As for the beta access price, I do wish it were a flat fee, but you have to understand the $100k or so that was injected into their business isn't significant at all, so there absolutely have to be other revenue streams. It's the same as any other product/software.

    I trust where Kevin & Ryan are taking the product, whether you like it or not, they're working their butts off to make this work and building on the product every single week.

    9 points
    • Davey Holler, almost 6 years ago

      I really regret not backing it on Kickstarter back then... I spent quite a few years as an Architectural designer before making the move to digital. I was spoiled by Building Information Modeling tools like Revit. Design software is so far behind the curve and I feel like Subform's approach is a real promise to get us to where we need to be.

      Regarding price, I'd be much more willing to drop the cash on it if there were even an 8 hour free trial. But I totally agree that these things take money to build.

      2 points
  • Ethan Sherbondy, almost 6 years ago

    Subform is the product of just two folks working hard on pushing design tools forward. They don't have a marketing department or millions of dollars of runway to keep the project afloat sans real paying customers.

    I understand that we live in an era where most people expect software to have a free-to-use model baked in, but I really respect that these guys are trying to bootstrap a sustainable business.

    Kevin and Ryan are devoted to making tools for professionals. They are trying to bring ideas from the CAD realm into digital product design. Subform's main point of differentiation is giving designers the ability to unambiguously describe layout and see how a design dynamically responds to different screen sizes.

    One great thing is that if you purchase Subform, even if you only pay for a single month, the software will continue to work as-is indefinitely. Unlike many other software vendors these days, they do not try to impose an artificial limit on your use of the tool on your local machine. Once you have a copy of Subform, it is yours!

    By paying $25/mo, you are supporting the development of future versions.

    I backed their Kickstarter and have been adamantly following the developments in each release. A new version comes out every ~2 weeks with substantial refinements. It's true, they still have a long way to go. And the tool will probably never succeed at being all things for all people. But it already offers a compelling way to specify and explore responsive designs free of the quirks of getting mired in CSS early on or code up the layout for a specific platform just to end up throwing it away if you design yourself into a corner.

    I think sending a few bucks their way and trying out the tool contributes to a healthy design ecosystem. Even if you decide it is not for you, I'm sure that the fruits of their labors will prove influential on the rest of the design community, and maybe you will end up indirectly using some functionality conceived in Subform from within the design-tool-du-jour a few years from now.

    6 points
  • Account deleted almost 6 years ago

    So, they want more money eh...

    I do used Subform. Got it from kickstarter. It's a promising tool. I can say that It's still in really early stage. Their approach is actually the selling point of this tool. Right now, the tools that we are using (yes, even your precious shiny orange sketch) is actually a version of print publishing tool GUI. You don't need a pen tool for digital design. You don't draw rectangles or stars all over on your canvas when developing with just one click. Or move everything with just drag and drop. That's not digital works.

    The actual output is responsive though. The program itself pushes the designer to think like a developer. Which is a thing that every single digital designer and 'ux designers' should have already. I think that's why no one would bother to use it.

    Sad thing is actually they are pretty slow and I can understand why. It still needs a looooooooooooong way to be a decent product.

    Oh about the pricing model, I have no word on it. Actually yeah I do have one. It's bad. And always been bad. Back then when it was BoxBox instead of Subform, I remember that they were asking for 200 dollars or something for beta without any proof of the actual product. I guess they just ran out with our kickstarter money lol.

    5 points
  • Xavier BertelsXavier Bertels, almost 6 years ago

    I paid to test the Beta, but in my opinion, Subform is not Beta software yet. I e-mailed the guys and they were happy to refund me, no problem.

    I think their heart is in the right place, and comparing this to a well-running business like InVision is a bit unfair. They’re trying something new, with limited resources and a limited team, which is great. But it's just not worth a $25/month investment at this point, the ROI doesn’t make sense to me :-).

    2 points
    • Davey Holler, almost 6 years ago

      This is almost exactly how I feel about it. I'd love to support these guys. I got on the Sketch bandwagon pretty early on almost entirely because they were going head to head with Adobe. I liked that. The fact that their tool was superior to Photoshop for my workflows was almost icing on the cake at that point.

      I LOVE the idea of a CAD approach to design software. But at $300/year... Its a tough justification to make this early on in the game.

      1 point
  • Harish KumarHarish Kumar, almost 6 years ago

    why do i have to pay to test your product? it's like disrespecting the users who might use the product in the future..

    2 points
  • Todd FTodd F, almost 6 years ago

    The thing to me about Subform in general is that they never specify what the output is. If it's not spitting out code, what's the real value? Just prototyping? There are already lots of apps that do that.

    2 points
  • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, almost 6 years ago

    Beta program is $25/month

    That's a bit unusual, isn't it?

    1 point
  • Henry MoranHenry Moran, almost 6 years ago

    I backed them on Kickstarted, but when I received the product that they how showed in their promo video it was no where near as good. That was more than 6 months ago but I very disappointed with the direction the product going.

    I'm on a Mac and the demo they had wasn't native, unusable for a real project, and clunky. It's possible that they have a better product now, but I do regret invested money on them.

    I really wishing them well, but I won't be wasting my time using it.

    1 point
  • João FerreiraJoão Ferreira, almost 6 years ago

    Same here. Deleted the email and moved on.

    1 point
  • Joshua TurnerJoshua Turner, almost 6 years ago

    Yikes, that is quite a bit, especially compared to similar tools.

    If you do end up giving it a try, let us know what you think of it.

    1 point
  • Orhan O., almost 6 years ago

    It didn’t make any sense when I read the email. Aren’t they aware of Sketch, XD and especially Invision Studio?

    Very disappointed. I was waiting for it since June.

    1 point
    • Alex ChanAlex Chan, almost 6 years ago

      Figma as well.

      1 point
    • Account deleted almost 6 years ago

      The product team is more than aware of those tools. That's why they are making this product. Did you even read any article they have been publishing? Not only the headings, the actual content they have been writing.

      Do your home work and then leave a constructive comment please. Because no body cares some random internet kid's disappointment.

      4 points
      • Mkhokheli M, almost 6 years ago

        Theres no need to be so condescending, adjust your tone.

        Clearly the failure lies with their marketing team if they haven't been able to communicate the value of their product effectively to their target audience.

        11 points
      • Orhan O., almost 6 years ago

        Whoa there! Some random internet kid :)

        I understand your empathy and sentiment but it's just very judgemental and rude. You don't even know who I'm.

        I read every article and features on their website couple of times and check regularly their Medium and Twitter accounts. That's why I was eagerly waiting for it since June!

        Let me try it first. Let me see if it works as promised and fits into my workflow. Let me contribute to the development of the tool so everyone can benefit.

        I don't have problem forking over $25 every month as long as I can use the finished product. Not the beta.

        If they would choose pay what you want model with at least minimum $5, that would have been much better and I wouldn't be writing this right now.

        Also I wish they were more clear about how their beta phase was going to work because I emailed them and ask when I can expect an invite. They would have told me this or publish it on Medium.

        I really like how Figma did with their beta phase. They could have done the same without scaring people of right from the start.

        1 point
  • John PJohn P, almost 6 years ago

    beta access. $25/mo

    I pay less than this a month for a professional 3D render engine... that isn't in beta.

    0 points