Celebrating seven years of helping you build websites

We launched Perch on the 31st May 2009, which means that today is our birthday! We are celebrating seven years of helping Perchers create beautiful, fast websites and delighting their clients with an easy to use Control Panel.

Perch has changed a lot since those early days, and so has the web. We took a look back at what was happening in May 2009.

- 2009 was the year that Yahoo! closed Geocities.
- Embedded web fonts were just becoming possible, Typekit didn’t launch until September of 2009
- CSS Transforms and Transitions were available in WebKit and Chrome, we were just starting to see the possibilities of animation on the web.
- We were just starting to think about Getting Ready for HTML5 (which is why Perch has always enabled XHTML or HTML style tags)
- CSS Media Queries were available but it was not until 2010 that Ethan Marcotte coined the term Responsive Web Design in his A List Apart article.

This last point is particularly of note for Perch. We launched in a world where the idea of people editing their sites and managing content on a phone seemed unlikely. The original Perch UI was pre-responsive design and it has really only been in the last couple of years we have seen any demand for true editing of Perch sites from phones and other small devices.

Perch 1 UI
The Perch 1 User Interface

We’ve always focussed development effort on what would make the most difference to the most Perchers, and while we have tweaked and updated the UI, in various places it doesn’t work well as a small screen experience. In the last year we’ve felt that the demand for a better experience has reached a point where it makes business sense to put time into it, so Perch 2.9 will feature a redesigned interface, one that aims to work as well on our phone as on our desktop.

Doing this kind of work to the interface of a product like Perch is no insignificant task. I’ve started to write some posts on my own site about the process, in the first I noted that,

“Making changes to something that thousands of people use every day is daunting. While the Perch UI is getting long in the tooth it does work very well. We only rarely have reports of browser bugs; we don’t have issues of janky scrolling or other front-end weirdness. We need to be sure that by making one thing better, we don’t inadvertently make other things worse!”

If you are interested in our thought process as we planned the redesign you may enjoy reading the rest of my post Rebuilding the Perch UI – not your usual redesign and the follow-up post about how we chose Pattern Library software to help manage the process.

The new UI is starting to come together, and we should have things to show you very soon. We’re aiming to release something that still feels like Perch, there is no tearing everything up and starting over here. We don’t expect that you will all have to go and retrain your clients, however hopefully any sticky issues you’ve reported will seem much improved.

Thank you for your support

In the last year we’ve been able to bring you Perch Shop, it is great to see stores starting to be launched on Shop and there is always more we want to bring you. We can only do that if you keep supporting us with your license purchases, and with your recommendations of Perch to other designers and developers. So a heartfelt thank you from Drew and I to everyone who has supported us in the last 7 years.