In considering the numerous CMS frameworks available for building the Ark, I decided to take a sidetrip from my tech know-how into the realm of the WYSIWIG systems that are hosted. I figured now was as good a time as any before the project starts to scale up.

My devolving curiousity stems from the fact that not everyone that’s going to be involved with the project is familiar with a CMS system, let alone a blog in any incarnation. Chalk it up to poor desire or outright fear on their parts. Regardless of the reasons, I figure in a lot of ways it’s up to me to deliver a solution that’s comfortable for the novice yet powerful enough to scale and tweak for the geek in me. So burdened by the responsibility I started my quest.

The first stop is Squarespace which Gadgetopia declares to be the “best CMS…ever seen within its class” and the WSJ says people have been “crying” for this. Oooo-kay. Superlatives aside, I read over their FAQ to get a feel for what it was: a hosted blog+ solution with inline editing and reporting tools for admins. That’s the nutshell. The official FAQ speak is…

Squarespace allows you to create complete, fully-featured websites with multiple pages and advanced administration tools. If you wanted to host a blog, that’s great! We’ve got that too, but it’s just a part of what Squarespace can do. We also have advanced discussion forums, picture hosts, and integrated Amazon functionality based on our underlying module platform. If you’d like to see some of our features in action, check out our feature chart to get a better idea of how Squarespace works.

Great. However you wanna put it.

Somewhere on the site I thought I saw a refernce to usability and accessability but maybe I was hallucinating. In fact, a quick search of the words accessability and usability return zero hits. Hmm, not too comforting when your company doesn’t have some kind of stance on this.

Then it gets worse. Here’s their browser compatibility statement

Pretty much anything released within the past year or so, and some much older. We support the latest versions of Mozilla, Internet Explorer, FireFox, and Safari. See our browser support page for more information.

(Btw, that “browser support page” fragment is suppose to be a hyperlink to here but you can’t tell from the piss-poor usability they’ve implemented.)

Past year or so? How do you quantify that in Net land? Clicking on that hidden link eventually takes you to their “Browser Support Page” (which, ironically, has a well thought out URL of http://www.squarespace.com/browsersupport — go figure) to give you the official list of browsers supported…

  • Microsoft IE 6+ for Windows — Download
  • Safari 1.2+ for Macintosh — Download
  • Camino 0.8+ for Macintosh — Download
  • Mozilla Firefox 0.8+ for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux — Download
  • Mozilla 1.4+ for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux — Download
  • Netscape 7.1+ for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux — Download

…followed by a plug for Firefox. Dandy. I ike Firefox, too. But Opera is what I’ve been mostly using recently thanks to its speed on a 500Mhz G4 at work.

Well guess what folks, Squarespace no likey the Opera when it comes to the editing backend of the system. The WYSIWIG editor vaporizes and you’re stuck with raw HTML or Textile. That’s fine for me but for my content novices? Forget it.

Alright, so Firefox it is then. Damn slllooooowwww browsing we will a-go on the frontend and all those popups to edit inline? click…click…click. Damnit! After finally getting the WYSIWIG editor up I typed in a few lines of content and hit save. Waited. Finally refreshed. Noticed a misspelling. Repeat. Wait. Wait. Wait. Ack! Forget it.

So Snailspace has hit file 13 in my head. Good luck to those who use it, you’re gonna need it.

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