Although they made it clear they would still be hosting sites built on version 5 there were a bunch of benefits that I wanted to take advantage of that would only be offered on v6.
Responsive Layouts and ImageLoader
Every website you build on v6 is automatically setup to dynamically switch layouts for desktop, mobile and tablet devices. On top of this, each image you upload gets converted into 7 different versions. Squarespace will automatically deliver the proper version of the image for whatever device is requesting it. A lot of my traffic comes from mobile devices, so this was a pretty big one.
As much as I could write every post in raw HTML, I don’t want to do that. We also now have a team of writers creating content for us. The WYSISYG editor in v5 was fine, but I still found myself needing to go in to their posts and edit layouts and resize images properly. The drag and drop nature of Layout Engine is easy and I don’t have to go in and change everyone’s posts.
Posting to Twitter and Facebook from the CMS
Yes, you can get services that crawl RSS feeds and post to Facebook pages, or Twitter timelines. I just liked that you can customize your message for each within the post and it’s done. With our writers, it’s easy for them to do too and that way I don’t need to give everyone our Twitter password, or admin access to the Facebook page.
Those were the big three, so we decided to switch. Before we did though, I needed to check to make sure we could make the switch fairly seamlessly. We have a bunch of custom code and scripts that power the site and these needed to work.
Things I checked before switching to v6
Guest Posts & Our Standings Page
Many volleyball athletes have their own blogs. We repost some of these as Guest Posts. Our workflow in v5 was built on AppleScript, NetNewsWire and MarsEdit. Every morning at 11:00 a.m. EST, Calendar.app triggered an AppleScript to go get new athlete blog posts, excerpt them and go post them to our site as drafts with images and proper titles. The problem is that with Layout Engine, all posting content to Squarespace via xmlrpc is gone. Therefore, I can’t use MarsEdit anymore. No worries, Squrespace said developers get “complete control” over my site with GIT or SFTP. I fired up Transmit and SFTP’ed into the my site to see that I do have full control of the layout, but not the content. You have to use the Squarespace site or app to get content into your site. I ended up finding a workaround and scripted Mail.app to send the content into my site via post by email (pbm). HTML works in pbm, and if you attach an image the email, it’ll show up at the top of the post. It’s far from perfect, but for what I need it kinda works. We have no way of tagging, categorizing or setting posts as scheduled or draft via pbm. We also have some scripts like this for our Standings page that needed to to be rewritten to use pbm as well.
Podcast Feed Redirection
We host our podcast on Squarespace and thankfully the blog posts create proper XML for iTunes. The feed url was /podcast/rss.xml and thankfully v6 automatically redirects that to their new url /podcast?format=rss. Easy.
URL Handling on Import
You can import your v5 site into v6, but in version 5 each post would put linked directly to a .html file. In v6, the post urls do not end in .html, so I was worried of all of our posts and links dying. Luckily the v5 import sets the custom url to that of the original post. This would’ve been a deal breaker.
So those were the things I checked. Here are the things I didn’t check and how I worked around them.
Things I didn’t check before switching to v6
RSS enclosures are not converted to audio blocks.
In version 5 podcast files are embedded in posts as RSS enclosures. In v6 they are audio blocks. The v5 import does not convert these over. This meant that while my RSS feed worked for the podcast, there was no media in any of the entries. I emailed support about this, and they said I would have to re-upload all the episodes of my podcast. 40 episodes wasn’t that bad, so I just re-uploaded them. It took a while, and I was kinda cheesed, but at least it’s over with now.
Photo Galleries Don’t Work
These are imported and the images show up in the back end, but if you want to have galleries in v6, you’ll have to upload your images again. Bummer.
Blog Post Excerpts
We often have long posts. For these posts, we’ll define an excerpt to shorten up what is visible on the homepage. In v6, excerpts can only be text. We often use YouTube videos, photos or HTML. I don’t have a solution for this yet.
Limited Editor Permissions Are Gone
I want to be able to go over some writers’ posts before they go live to the site. In version 5, we had the option of giving accounts a “Limited Editor” permissions. This would let them post to the site, but an admin or full editor would have to approve it for it to go live. This was great because for some of our authors, English isn’t their first language, and I’m making grammar changes. There are a bunch of permissions in v6 for member accounts, but nothing that matches the Limited Editor permissions of v5.
Mobile App Can’t Do Anything with v6 Posts.
I got a hint from Squarespace that the new version of their mobile app is soon to be released, but until then, we are all stuck with the current one. You cannot edit v6 posts on it. Posting new things is very limited. It’s basically just a mobile look at your stats.
Navigating Posts in v6 CMS
I’m often writing posts and linking back to things I have written in the past. The backend of a blog page only shows the most recent 20 posts and has no way of filtering, searching for or sorting stories. Before we could filter by tag, author and category. Now, whenever I have to link to an older post, I open up google and do a site: search and grab the URL. This is especially annoying when going back and editing posts from a while ago.
In v5, we could edit the post, or write a follow up right there as long as we were logged in. I want to link to updated stories, or update lists on posts from months and sometimes years ago. The only way I can do that now is by flipping through page by page, until I find the post then editing it. Very annoying.
Browser URL when logged in
This is my biggest frustration. When you are logged into the Squarespace back end, the url shown in your browser address bar is your squarespace URL. Example: I have volleyballsourcemag.com registered and properly pointing at my site but when I’m logged in the browser shows: volleyballsource.squarespace.com. But what if you use your own url? This means, that every time you go to copy paste your own link, it won’t grab the right url. Sure, it’ll still work, but you pay for a custom URL because you want that to be what people use and see. I’m CONSTANTLY copy pasting urls into forums, other posts, tweets, facebook status updates and emails. This is a massive oversight. I emailed Squarespace support because at first I thought I mapped my domain wrong. They said that this is just how it is and when you logout it’ll go back to your own custom url.
There are some things that drive my crazy about v6, but I have faith that they will be fixed, or a solution of some kind will come forward. The benefits are great and I’m loving some of the new features. It is just frustrating that things that I relied on daily to run my business were just left out, or are broken.
Do you have things that you miss from v5 that aren’t in v6? Lemme know via twitter.
Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO’s parent company Time Warner, said on Wednesday that the company has no plans to offer HBO GO without a cable subscription.
“We have the rights to do it and we would do it if we thought it was in our economic best interest,” Bewkes said, according to Deadline, adding that the market for a stand-alone HBO streaming service is “not sufficiently big enough now” in the United States.
Translation: We are too blinded by the money that we are making from the cable companies to realize that we are handing the future of the market to Netflix. That worked out really well for Blockbuster.
I first read Richard Williams’ The Animator’s Survival Kit in third year university when I took my first course on computer animation. This book is by far the best resource ever made for animation of any kind, hand drawn or computer. Things were very well explained and the diagrams and pictures illustrated examples and techniques perfectly.
You know how everyone has that one book from university they keep and refer back to on a weekly (some weeks even daily) basis? This is mine.
The best part about this book was that it was a book, not a PDF online. I’ve always been a big fan of “2nd Screen” usage when learning new subjects which is why I often prefer to have resources not on the machine I’m doing the work on.
The Animator’s Survival Kit is now available on iPad with frame my frame scrubbing and playback of over 100 different animation examples, principles and techniques. This, along with other extra content really makes the iPad version of this book the perfect desk side animation companion.
Check it out in the iTunes App Store.
When Facebook announced their social plugin to allow 3rd party websites to use Facebook comments everyone thought that it would bring an end to the trolls.
No more will people insult, flame or link bait because they can’t hide behind the shield of anonymity… right?
Go read any Facebook comment thread on nfl.com.