Plasmic vs. other tools

What sets Plasmic apart

In short:

  • Focus on cross-functional collaboration. Empower marketers, designers, content teams to ship, and free up developers from pixel-pushing.
  • Deep integration into website and app codebases. Plasmic aims to be a visual builder that you can plug into any environment.
  • Unparalleled visual control and power. While it’s easy to start with, Plasmic gives you tools never before been seen in any design tool or page builder to let you create maintainable frontends at scale.

Plasmic vs. drag-and-drop site builders

Examples: Wix, Webflow, Squarespace, Shopify.

These are end-to-end platforms. If your needs fit within their box for the foreseeable future, they are a great solution.

However, many orgs have requirements preventing them from committing to such platforms for their website or app, or they want a more open-architecture solution. Plasmic focuses on flexible integration into arbitrary codebases and complex environments.

This flexibility lets you:

  • Integrate flexibly and incrementally into projects involving existing codebases and development teams.
  • Maintain freedom over choice of hosting, CMS, SEO, analytics, frameworks, CI/CD, and other infrastructure.
  • Build arbitrarily complex applications and websites (such as Plasmic itself, which is built in Plasmic). Plasmic is designed to work seamlessly with custom code.

Beyond integrations, Plasmic as a design tool gives you greater power than seen before in other site builders.

Plasmic vs. vector drawing tools

Examples: Figma, XD, Sketch.

These are great vector drawing tools for exploratory design and mock-ups. You can use them together with Plasmic—when your designs are settled and you would normally hand things off to developers, you can instead build them in Plasmic. For Figma specifically, Plasmic provides a Figma importer.

That said, you can absolutely use Plasmic starting in the design phase. Plasmic’s UI is designed to be familiar to users coming from vector design tools. You can even start all the way from simply drawing wireframes without worrying about layout—Plasmic gives you a smooth path to refining these into production-ready assets.

Plasmic as a design tool has a number of advantages:

  • Take designs all the way from mock-ups to production. Publish directly and eliminate handoffs.
  • Design within the real constraints and capabilities of the web medium.
  • What you see is guaranteed to be what you get in production.
  • Build rich, responsive designs with a full set of layout features.
  • Use a full system of tokens and mixins to build maintainable designs at scale.
  • Design complex components in all of their states / variants.

Plasmic vs. content management systems

Examples: Contentful, Sanity.io, Strapi.

Plasmic is quite different from (headless) CMSes—it has a page builder rather than a structured content editor.

But like CMSes, developers use Plasmic to enable non-developers to publish changes to a website or app. Drop a Plasmic integration into your site’s codebase, and from then on, content teams can directly publish pages or parts of pages.

Plasmic complements CMSes well. You can manage your blog posts in a CMS, while designing your landing pages in Plasmic. You can even design your blog page template in Plasmic, and plug in your blog posts as dynamic data.

Plasmic vs. design-to-code tools

There exist various open and closed source tools that try to convert designs from design tools (such as Figma/XD/Sketch) into code.

These are one-shot tools that let you copy/paste the generated code into your codebase. As soon as you add your own logic, you diverge from the original generated code. You cannot iterate further on the design, which highly limits their applicability for most real-world products.

While Plasmic can also produce plain React code to let you eject, Plasmic’s primary codegen scheme lets you continuously make changes both to the design and to the code.

Beyond this key difference, the quality/fidelity of the converter is also another significant factor. What you create in Plasmic is guaranteed to reflect exactly in production. Furthermore, Plasmic’s Figma plugin lets you import from Figma into Plasmic with extremely high fidelity.