Listen to this story
Wix has risen to prominence over the past few years as a no-code WordPress alternative. However, as the platform grew and added more features, it became more difficult for webmasters to adapt over time. To combat this issue, Wix released a new visual integrated development environment (IDE) called Codux.
Due to its nature as a visual-first IDE, Codux has proven itself to be a go-between for developers and website designers. While not built to be a standalone IDE, Codux comes as part of Wix’s strategy of creating a growing arsenal of developer tools.
Wix <3 React
Codux is an IDE built specifically for coding in React, Wix’s go-to JS framework. The platform is also extremely visual in nature, providing an in-IDE renderer that will show a visual preview of what the code would look like on the website. Most of the platform’s power lies in making quick modifications with UI elements, with coding mostly being relegated to the sidelines.
In fact, Codux wasn’t even made to be a standalone IDE, instead being designed to work alongside the main IDE. Nadav Abrahami, the co-founder and head of innovation at Wix, said, “[Codux is not] a replacement for your IDE. Currently, like most developers, I use an IDE of my own choice set up just the way I like it. I won’t quickly replace it with something else, and I wouldn’t expect you to do that either.”
Instead of replacing a primary IDE, Codux aims to provide a new way to interface with pre-written code. Moreover, the visual interface shows code changes in real-time, allowing for closer collaborations between designers and developers. The IDE has support for TypeScript, Git, Sass JS, and, most importantly, React.
This comes as no surprise, as Wix is invested in the development of React through the React Native Partners program, further incentivising them to build out a React-powered accompanying tech stack. The web development platform has also contributed to the open-source community with projects like a navigation package for React Native.
Codux comes as a part of Wix’s effort to expand the scope of their website development solutions. In the recent past, the company also launched Velo, a full-stack web development platform, and Stylable, a CSS preprocessor for managing visual styles.
Moreover, when viewed against WordPress, one of the biggest competitors of Wix, the open-source website builder begins to show its age.
WordPress’ Worst Nightmare?
WordPress first grew to prominence in the late 2000s as a way to get websites up and running with minimal code. It is an open source project built on PHP and MySQL — a far cry from the React and Angular-powered custom websites of today.
Not only are modern JS frameworks faster and lighter, they are also built for modern web development practices like lazy loading. There are also a vast number of unoptimised themes and plugins available on WordPress, resulting in many WP-powered websites becoming slow and sluggish.
With the tech stack built up by Codux and Velo, Wix provides an accessible solution that goes beyond simply a no-code website builder. These offerings also place Wix in a different market when compared to products like Squarespace and Shopify, elevating its target demographic from citizen developers to full-fledged web devs.
This is a sentiment shared by Codux users, as stated by user no_wizard on Hacker News Forum, “One [thing] I’d like to use it for, is to take the React components created for our design system and give designers the ability to run with it to create mock ups. This would cut alot of translation overhead and boilerplate significantly while keeping design and engineering on the same “page”.”
Apart from bringing teams on-board, it seems that developers who were getting into React also found Codux a perfect environment to learn the language. Pavlo Lisovyi, a part of the Codux development team, said in a blog “While learning React, I needed a simple sandbox environment — and I found it without leaving Codux. I just created a new board and started coding, with a preview of rendered output and all the tools mentioned above.”
Going back to Abraham’s quote, it doesn’t seem like Codux is out to take over traditional IDEs. It is just another step in Wix’s product strategy to increase their market share and provide a fuller stack of web dev tools to citizen developers and professional developers alike.