Thursday, August 31, 2017

New personal page, and a review of new Google Sites

Google has being slowly promoting their new Google Sites for about a year now, and recently I've moved most of my website to this new platform. Behold:

https://sites.google.com/view/khakhalin

Pros:

  • It looks really pretty, with these large sliding images on top and everything
  • Looks perfect both on a wide screen and a mobile phone (old google sites couldn't cope with a phone screen at all). I was critical of this feature at first, as I thought they were pushing the phone layout a bit too aggressively, but it turns out that I was just formatting it wrong. If you just add one block of text below another, sure, it will look poor, kind of like mobile wikipedia, when opened on a computer. But what you should do is add columns, or put images on the side. Create a matrix. In a mobile format it will nicely reshape into a column-vector, so that's the best of both worlds.
  • Intuitive interface: it totally feels like Google was inspired by the recent development of Paper by Dropbox (which is awesome by the way), as the interface is clean, clear, and easy to use. It may be a bit harder to move large blocks around, but still possible.
  • If you know html, you'll appreciate that the blocks you add follow <div> mentality, and there's a logic behind div-embedding. While it is not shown to the user explicitly, if you ever worked with divs, you'll immediately recognize the structure (and beauty) of it.
  • I like the little magic thing they do when you put images behind text (they adjust the color of the font and the lightness of the image)
Cons:
  • For now they don't support tables, and I need tables to publish protocols. But I think the Google team promised to eventually introduce them.
  • For now they only allow 1 level of subpages, but this thing they explicitly promised in one of their blog posts, so it should, theoretically, come live within about a year.
  • Very few styles for now, and it's impossible to create your own styles, but then again I think it will be changed in the future.
  • Impossible to attach files to the page, which was a very nice feature in old sites, both for hosting large-resolution images, and for uploading pdfs. I'm not sure whether they plan to implement it; I hope they would, otherwise I'll have to use external ftp storage for files.
But overall it definitely wins over Wordpress and Weebly, in my opinion, and hey it's free!

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