Workflow issue - Local and Workspace documents

I have some feedback.

I think it is a big problem that Local files and Workspace files are separate files (and it makes my workflow inconvenient).

Having 2 versions of a file is bad because (1) it creates confusion about what is the correct file I should be looking at and (2) it requires me to keep both files up-to-date and synchronized (which will fail eventually).

It would be much better if there was 1 single file that could be saved locally and viewed online as well.

This would be similar to how Dropbox works: You can save a file to your local computer and that automatically updates the version stored in Dropbox.

You may be wondering why I would ever need to have both versions of a design file. Or why don’t I just save a file to workspace in the first place? Here’s why:

  • I like to design LOCALLY because it is super fast. I don’t want my designing speed to be affected by the internet connection.

  • I like to share WORKSPACE document with (1) clients so they can view the design in browser and with (2) developers so they can get the CSS and spacing easily.

I hope Sketch prioritizes users who want to work FAST locally. It’s the main reason I like to stay with Sketch instead of Figma. I hate loading times because it kills creativity or getting into that designer-flow-state.

Many thanks!

I think that Workspace files are saved locally while you are working on them but in some specific folder Sketch keeps to cache the files. They only get synced to the cloud occasionally. Similar to what Dropbox does, but the files are not so easy to find. That’s why you can use Sketch in offline mode as well. So the speed should not be affected while you are working on a file. Only initial loading of the file can sometimes take a bit more while it syncs from the Workspace.

At least that is how I understand it working. Let’s see what Sketch team has to say.

1 Like

Thanks for your input @wwwedran

You have reminded me of another way our workflow is effected.

File management

In my business, each client gets a folder on our computer. Everything related to that client goes into that folder. E.g. web design sketch files, branding assets, copywriting, business agreements , etc etc etc.

This makes it easy for anybody to find files.

But if it works like you describe…that we don’t get to choose where on the computer the design files are saved… that will mean (1) our clients sketch design are stored in a different location to all the other client files and (2) all client sketch files are located in the one folder.

To me, this seems unorganised, inflexible, confusing and risky (in the sense that you can loose track of files you have a professional obligation to store).

I hope Sketch look at how Dropbox does things.

Is there something I’m missing?

I think they had to go down the route of keeping files on the cloud to be able to compete with Figma with collaboration features. You can argue there are some workflows like yours for which this is not the greatest approach, but you can always share file with the client using Workspace and they can download it from there. I doubt Sketch will ever support something similar to what you are suggesting as the industry shifted completely to cloud. Sketch is at least still allowing you to choose whether you want to use cloud or keep everything locally and works offline which is not possible with Figma.

@wwwedran I think you are right.

Still … i’m not sure why this would preclude users being able to save the file locally where they want. Dropbox figured it out.

PS - I really hope Sketch doesn’t go down the exact same pathway as Figma and require users to use the software in browser. The reason I use Sketch over Figma is because it ISN’T in browser which means (1) it’s not affected by internet connection and (2) it’s super fast and clean. If Sketch switched over to browser, I would probably switch to Figma.

Hi Thomas :wave: thanks for sharing your use case here in the Forum!

Like @wwwedran mentions, Sketch keeps a local file to allow you to work offline or recover from a network outage, so when you edit a Workspace file, changes are saved locally and then synced to your Workspace.

We think this is a good approach since you’re not affected by your connection speed as the sync happens in the background and if syncing is not possible due to a slow or lost connection, Sketch will simply inform you that you’re offline and that changes will be saved to your Workspace when your internet connection is available again.

Now, loading times are more nuanced, for example: if you’re working on a shared Workspace file and you open it, Sketch will check if there are changes that you’re missing, and if there are any, it will download them, this can take some time and it depends on how large or complex is your file.

Another case are libraries, when you edit several symbols and then update a file that has dozens or hundreds of instances, it can take some time to sync and display the edits you just made.

The file managment use case you describe fits perfectly in a Workspace context → you can create a Project folder or Collection for each client and add all related files and libraries there, and all your team and customers can have access to the files when necessary.

And no worries, we love being a native Mac app and plan to keep it that way :smiley: