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Squarespace Fluid Engine

Does the new editor from Squarespace cut the mustard or is it a step too far.


 

Touted by many businesses as the best web builder around, Squarespace has built a reputation for its professional quality templates and an easy to use, no code editor which automatically builds a version of your site for viewing on mobile devices.

The latter may all be set to disappear now that Squarespace have introduced their “Fluid Engine” editor. This is currently available on version 7.1 sites. The good news is that it doesn’t break any existing layouts or designs but if you start adding new sections or click on the new Upgrade button in edit mode, you’re going to be presented with a new grid system. On the face of it, to me at least, this seemed like a good move. You can drag elements around and place them more or less where you want without the restrictions imposed by the old style editor. This makes it a lot easier for example to centre an image on the screen without using the horrible spacer elements.

Talking of images, you no longer get the image styling options - like Poster, In-Line, Card etc. You now have to do it yourself. So if you want an image with overlapping text, you add the image element then add the text element and drag it around until it’s in the correct position. What you gain in flexibility though, you lose in consistency, so if you have several images with overlapping text, you’ll have to make sure you get the text boxes aligned the same or you can pretty soon end up with a sloppy looking page.

As far as the mobile version of a page is concerned you’ll have to consider this as almost a separate exercise. Okay, it will contain all the right elements but not necessarily in the right order ! I’ve heard that it sticks them on the mobile page in the order they were added using the desktop editor rather than in the order they appear on the page. I haven’t verified this but they’re certainly not going to look as you intended first off. You will need to move things around until the layout is right. This its only if you have chosen to use the new editor though - it won’t break existing layouts, so don’t panic too much.

I’ve just changed the home page of this site. There wasn’t too much to it and didn’t take too long to organise the mobile version, but doesn’t this somewhat undermine Squarespace’ reputation for being simple to use ? I think there might be a few complaints coming forward.

Do you have to use Fluid Engine ? Well, not really. For existing sections you can carry on using the old editor. If you create a new section you will automatically be using the new editor, You could also create a new section by duplicating an existing one and then editing the new one. This will use the old editor.

Fluid Engine has only been released recently so we might see some changes in the pipeline soon. I’m told that at some point in the not-too-distant future Fluid Engine will be the only method of editing. Let’s see what happens.

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