Squarespace Update


December 20, 2013

Yesterday, I posted about my experience with Squarespace support. It’s gotten quite a bit of traffic, and Squarespace was one of the entities that noticed (It helped that I tweeted them). They’ve been in touch with me and have clarified some of their positions on their support. I received the following email from Josh Kill at Squarespace:

Hi Caitlyn,

Following up on your tweet and post about your Squarespace experience. Thank you so much for taking the time to write out your experience… it is so helpful to understand areas where Squarespace still needs to grow and improve.

First off, just so you know, we are very purposefully moving to be able to provide full developer support that will be helpful in times like this. Currently our customer care team is trained on the non-developer side of the Squarespace world, but we are actively training up a new team that will be knowledgable enough to help with any developer platform issue.

That said, one thing that has worked for others in your situation (where you want to update your dev version of a template with the latest template fixes) is to create a new site using the template you want to reference, then enable dev mode and pull down the fresh template files. Then you can compare and merge in the template updates.

I hope that helps and I would love to discuss further if you have any other questions that are beyond what Customer Care can properly address!

best, Josh

To which I responded:

Thanks Josh. If I understand it correctly, I have to pay for an additional site to gain developer access and download the updated template. That’s something I’m unwilling to do.

I understand the challenges of providing comprehensive customer support for all of your customers, from small business owners to designers like me to developers. That said, not having any system in place to push out bug fixes to your developer customers is unacceptable in my opinion. It’s not a difficult procedure to develop and maintain, and I find it inexcusable that you do not implement such procedures already.

Thank you for your time and response.

Josh’s final reply:

You do not have to pay. You have full access to developer mode (and template files) during the free trial. J

If you have a site in developer mode, you can create another account, enable developer mode, install the template, access the repo and download the template files there. This is usually doable in 5 – 10 minutes, which is a quick fix. I didn’t realize that you could create a Squarespace site in sandbox mode and keep it in a trial until you’re ready to go live, at which point you pay for the full account at the subscription level you need. It’s still a bit of a pain in the ass, but it’s a quick way to get what you need.

Squarespace has been great to deal with, despite my extreme frustrations with them (and my minor tirade). For the record, I had spent just under 2 hours on the phone with Comcast trying to get DNS settings changed on a domain purchased through their business class before I got into it with Squarespace. Don’t ever buy a domain from Comcast. It just wasn’t my day, and I feel bad that I was that agro with the support people – Ron A., I’m sorry for my temper. Seriously, they have all been incredibly gracious.

I think my biggest beef (still) is the lack of education on the part of the support personnel, which Squarespace has said they’re working to address. The support personel didn’t mention that I could create an additional account that was free in trial mode through which I could download the template files, and that would have made all of the difference. I ended up inspecting the code of the template, downloading the site.js file and copying it into my repo, which worked like a charm. Took all of 2 minutes. If you want the file, you can get it here.

I now know Squarespace is working to improve their process for developers, which includes better support for updates to template files. I still don’t understand why that hasn’t been implemented yet – it seems to me that each theme should have its own status blog that talks about updates, feature additions, bug fixes and details what was done, how it was done, why it was done and where to go to easily access the files. That’s the most significant support implementation Squarespace can integrate into their platform that will make developer life much easier.

I may use Squarespace again, after all.