This week at Pagestead HQ: Sites dashboard improvements, final tests for 200 additional blocks and prepping v1.0.4

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Revamping the Sites dashboard

This week we broke ground on what’s the first of many improvements to the main Sites dashboard. Currently every site shown on the dashboard contains a thumbnail of that site. However, this is not actually a thumbnail; rather it’s the entire homepage (!) of the site loaded inside an iframe. Pretty crazy right? Talking about a heavy footprint! As reported by many of our dear customers, when the application starts to fill up with users and sites, the Sites dashboard load speed slows to a crawl. Obviously not a great situation!

We will start improvements to the Sites dashboard by removing the clunky iframes and use regular image thumbnails instead. This poses some interesting challenges though. If SB Pro / Pagestead were a regular SaaS application and we’d control the infrastructure on which the application runs, we’d simply install some code on our servers which would facilitate taking screenshots when a site/page is saved. However, since we don’t control the servers on which SB Pro / Pagestead runs, and code required for rendering webpages on the server and taking a screenshot is not typically installed on your average server we needed to come up with a different solution.

The solution we came up with is an external API which takes the screenshots. External implies that the screenshot code resides on an additional server, this would eliminate the need to install screenshot  code on the servers running SB Pro / Pagestead. With this workflow, whenever a site is saved, the server running SB Pro / Pagestead communicates with the screenshot API which takes the screenshot and sends it back to the server running SB Pro / Pagestead which can store the screenshot for future use.

Final tests for the additional 200 blocks

This week we’re in the final stages of doing tests on the additional 200 blocks we’ll soon be releasing to our Enterprise customers. In addition to releasing these blocks to our Enterprise customers, we will also make them available for Starter and Professional customers (for an additional fee which will be decided later).

We have got a lot of ideas for additional block features which we’ll start working on as soon as we’ve release these 200 blocks. Some features we’re contemplating/testing are:

  • color overlay backgrounds
  • parallax backgrounds
  • video backgrounds
  • countdown timers
  • basic animations
  • many, many more

Prepping v1.0.4

Updating the Sites dashboard is the last main feature we’ll be implementing before releasing v1.0.4. We still do have a number of small enhancements and bug fixes to complete, however as far as new features go, we’re drawing a line in the sand. Of course we’ll continue moving towards v1.0.5 right away with additional features. But we know a bunch of customers are anxiously waiting for Paypal integration, so we figure it’s time to get it out there!

 

About the author

Matt Naus

I have been building web applications and other digital products for more then a decade. Currently on an exciting journey discovering the ins and outs of content marketing while growing my newest business. Dedicated to helping digital agencies and entrepreneurs around the world succeed!

16 comments

  • Questions:

    1.
    When you scroll some section down, you can’t go out from section if you don’t scroll all the way up back.
    Especially All blocks, Headers, Processes etc. – At least green bar should be sticky.

    2.
    Can you adjust the design of administrator area in according to new canvas area?

    3.
    On mobile, Android on the tablet – Components are acting as images – you can’t move them to an empty container.
    Blocks are acting normal.

    4.
    Are you testing on Windows too? I am asking because of strange behavior when choosing some component div.
    Sometimes is hard to find editable div for Form or something else.
    Maybe is more accurate on Mac, so you didn`t notice.

    5.
    Is it possible to decrease the number of info? It`s 3 times more clicks.
    eg:
    “Success!
    The site has been saved successfully!” Cancel&Close… Why?
    “Site Preview
    Please note that the preview will always show your latest saved version; changes …” etc..
    I understand that new user has to read that once, twice.
    Maybe to have check/uncheck – “don’t show this message again” on all that kind of messages?

    6.
    What about YT and Vimeo /video in PREVIEW which has fixed proportion from YT embed source? Bad for using it in a responsive environment.
    What about adding:

    I am adding and it works for me.

    7.
    I can check and double check everything, and change if something doesn’t work, but it`s not the good practice because of updates.
    (And especially because final users, which are supposed to be without any experience, so they will go away on first strange behavior of platform)
    Would be much better to have fewer blocks which are super-tested.

      • Hi Goran,

        Thank you so much for sharing this valuable feedback. Let me address them individually:

        1. We’re aware of this not being ideal and we have it listed on our internal roadmap; expect improvements soon.

        2. Changing/improving the administration area is something we’re currently working on (as mentioned in the blog post). Or are you referring to something else?

        3. I assume you meaning using the page builder? If so, we have not fully tested the page builder on mobile devices, so for the time being we’d advise using desktop browsers to build the sites.

        4. We do test on Windows. What was the specific browser you were noticing these issues in?

        5. Good point! We’ll discuss this and see if we can make some improvements to this moving forward.

        6. Not entirely sure what you’re referring to here? Would you mind clarifying?

        7. I totally agree! Which is why we spend a ton of time testing our blocks. I am not aware of any open issues regarding the blocks, however if you were to find any, please report them and we’ll deal with them asap!

        Thanks again for the feedback!

        • Thank you, Matt, for your fast response.

          2.
          I am referring to the design-wise aspect.
          When I am in canvas side, the left side is perfect. When I am in the administrative area, I am trying to change it with small CSS interventions (too much box shadows, insets, too big and too weighted font). I see that you made a good improvement, so it should cover all.
          Also, I`ll go with more columns for sites.

          3.
          Maybe you didn`t try, but you can conformably work on the quality tablet (except that problem I mentioned above).

          4.
          Mostly on Chrome, but on Mozilla too.

          6.
          Videos are not responsive in sb pro demo when I preview.
          (Same is in sb lite). So I added in all HTML for video:
          div class embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9
          And it works smoothly.

  • 1. CKeditor/google fonts/text editor is a critical functionality that you might want to look at.

    2. For image editing, Aviary is probably amazing to be used.

    • Thanks Ash,

      We have considered CKEditor, however we decided to go with the Froala editor instead, due to less bugs/issues, better support and a cleaner code base.

      Google Fonts can already be used with Pagestead.

      As for image editing; we have implemented resizing and cropping using a different tool which will be released with the next update.

  • For the users area why not just have a table of info for easy searchability? Instead of the tiles which takes a long time to load.

    Also there needs to be a ‘lifetime’ plan option or something that doesn’t renew.

    On my setup I have people signup for a ‘demo’ and they if they buy I change the plan to whatever they bought. But when you do this is automatically disables their account, so I need to enable the account again. This is pretty aggravating especially when I have a few hundred users that need to load each time evertime I change someones plan. (I do this because I use another payment provider over the built in one in SBPro)

    • Hi Rob,

      Absolutely agree regarding the Users panel and we’ll be definitely implementing improvements there soon!

      Regarding the lifetime plan; I assume you mean for support and updates? (since the software license is already valid forever). Although we don’t currently have any plans for a lifetime support/updates plan, we’ll definitely look into this.

      As for the demo/update issue, I am not entirely sure what the issue is?

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