Over the past year, I've pivoted my development skills into focusing solely email development. Email development has always been very 1999 in regards to the html, however I was encouraged that email development could be simplified and potentially just as robust as websites when I found Zurb Foundation for Emails. Thanks to Zurb's Foundation for Email repo, I found the fun which NPM, Gulp, and other fantastic packages can bring towards email development.
Disclaimer: I'm a power-user, I do email every day and all my clients are email focused. I'm also huge about continuous improvement in code, workflows, skill, and everything else in life. Please keep this disclaimer in mind if you find yourself frustrated with my opinions towards the code, license, and community.
It seems as though to me that Zurb Foundation for Emails code has become stale. For many months I anticipated that a code update would be made, however based upon the documentation site - v2.2.0 - is the latest and no other official release announcement has been made. v2.2.0 was released in June 2016 (>12mths) and email client quirks and issues have changed drastically since then.
It appears Zurb has officially relied solely on community for updates, like all open source packages that come from organizations (i.e., Google). Zurb seems to now completely rely on community members to make patches and pull requests. It's great to see project maintainers encourage the community to write patches and make a pull request. However I began to question (+worry) how do maintainers verify and test the pull request? The pull request might fix one template, one email, however the use can vary greatly. I began to realize that merges were breaking previously resolved issues and commits were not well tested.
This leads into my first pet peeve about the project, I found the following quote is now a false statement.
Quickly create responsive HTML emails that work on any device and client. Even Outlook.
I realized in the past few months many device/client issues within the code of v2.2.0 and began to manually apply patches (which I found in the pull requests or issue queue), and they seemingly resolved the device/client issues in relation to my developed emails.
I realized that Foundation for Emails was putting together some very useful npm packages and built a robust development processor however the project lacked assistance with actual coding. I'm constantly finding issues with email clients getting updates however seemingly blocked by the Zurb mindset of doing "Responsive/Media Query". Attempting to debug issues with tables within tables (within tables), the lack of microsoft office conditional statements produced (i.e., ghost tables), td vs. th, and the unnecessary amount of inline styles inserted. I finally realized that all these coding practices by Zurb Foundation for Emails were seemingly making my emails less responsive (and more time intensive).
I've began to develop my own private fork of Foundation for Emails and have been hesitant in wanting to learn or rewrite templates into another framework (i.e., MJML), concerned that I'll just find similar issues. Having a wide range of experience in email development and seeing many working templates (Foundation or not), I've come to believe that many email developers (Zurb included) do not share openly their innovative templates and knowledge of quirks.