I'm leaning towards Squarespace

August 25, 2012

After that 2200-word piece earlier this week about wanting to make the move away from WordPress to either Jekyll/Octopress or Squarespace, Squarespace reached out and gave me access to their Template Developer Kit (TDK), which likely will be released soon to everyone.

After having spent quite a bit of time hacking away at the template files and learning my way around the system, I can say that you have control over pretty much everything. This is great news, and was kind of a requirement for me (and surely many others) to even consider the platform.

I’m still trying to determine how to handle the photoblog, and my decision will depend on figuring out how to style separate and custom Squarespace “collections,” or at the very least query for category names.

One thing I’m still a little uneasy about is getting my data out of Squarespace should I ever decide to move the site. A few days ago, they wrote a blog post titled, Your Data, Everywhere, which went a long way towards easing my concerns. The take-away quote:

As a platform, we’re fully committed to both data extraction and portability, so you can move as you wish and get your data to where you need it.

That’s exactly what I like and need to hear. That said, I just tried the WordPress exporter and have a few issues with its output. It’s nothing that can't be easily fixed, but it’s just one of those things that gives me slight pause.

The first issue is that for linked-list posts, the source URL isn’t exported at all, and there’s otherwise nothing to distinguish it from a regular post. I realize that WordPress doesn’t have native support for linked-list posts, and so for this to work at all, Squarespace will just have to decide on a convention for distinguishing its “passthrough” posts from regular posts in the WordPress export. This could be as simple as adding a <passthrough> element to linked-list items, whose content would contain the external link.

The second issue is that the slugs include the permalink structure you’ve chosen. For example, if your site’s permalink structure is /year/month/slug, then the export defines the slug as the slug + the year and month (i.e., /year/month/slug). This obviously will present a problem when moving to a new system, where, if you define the permalink structure the same way, you’ll end up with links that look like /year/month/year/month/slug.

The final issue I saw is that the export injects some HTML crap into the beginning of each post’s <content:encoded> section, though it seems to do this only on Markdown posts (you have to write in either Markdown or Rich Text), and not on the posts that I imported into the system, which were all in HTML. This is what I’m seeing at the top of Markdown posts, right before the actual content:

div class="sqs-layout sqs-grid-12 columns-12" data-type="post" id="post-50348b0384aea193bcb76b8d"><
div class="row sqs-row"><
div class="col sqs-col-12 span-12"><
div class="sqs-block markdown-block" data-block-json="&#123;&quot;html&quot;:&quot;

Like I said, all of this stuff is relatively easy to fix, so it’s not the end of the world … but it must be fixed.

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