3. Web Site Design and Management on Linux

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I’m a web designer so I use a number of web site Content Management Systems (CMS’s) to get my work done. I could just plug these all in Station, but I’ve decided to keep that for my “lighter” applications like social media. So I continue to load my web site platforms into their own browser tabs. Considering how important this is to my day-to-day work, I needed to make sure that switching to Linux would not hamper that part of responsibilities. I was pleasantly surprised.

Squarespace

I manage more sites with Squarespace than with any other CMS, so that needed to work. I noticed absolutely no issues working with Linux. I’ve read online that people have had issues with alternative browsers (Waterfox, Chromium, Opera), but those are not strictly supported by Squarespace on any operating system. Sticking with Firefox and Chrome, everything worked as expected. Actually, it was better than expected.

Accessing Squarespace on the Linux computer seemed to be more zippy. This certainly wasn’t a hardware difference, because my Windows PC outclasses my Linux Mint computer by a bit, but doing tasks side-by-side, the Linux computer was clearly faster. As for networking, they are on the same switch, equally far away and using the same cables, so that’s not it. My guess is that the Windows computer has more software bloat that is slowing it down.

If that’s the case, than perhaps in a couple of years, the slowdown will be similar, but my guess is that this being Linux, it also tends to stay more unclogged over time. This will have to be confirmed over time, but this is where Linux should outclass a windows computer and in this case, it involves daily tasks. More on this below.

Wix

I’m not a fan of Wix, but some of my clients prefer it, so I dabble with it as well. Fortunately, Wix was trouble free as well. That is, only with basic Wix work. When I tried the Wix Artificial Design Intelligence feature, an add-on wizard that automates the site creation process for people who are new to Wix.

There isn’t much info online about the issues with Linux, but looking at some of the forums, it seems to be a fairly uncommon issue. I don’t use ADI much because I manage existing sites, but I can imagine that this would be a show-stopper for most people starting out.

Weebly

I also manage a couple of free sites on Weebly. Maybe this is a warning that I should upgrade to one of the paid plans (lol), but I did run into a few issue. For the most part it worked fine, but drag & drop wouldn’t always work. Sometimes it would look like it worked, but then nothing was copied. It was rare, but certainly something that could be frustrating to some. I use Weebly infrequently, so it didn’t bother me all that much.

While not a knock on Linux, I did notice that there is very little online about running Weebly on Linux. Those people who did have issues used non-standard browsers (which are often installed on other Linux versions). It you’re going to run Firefox or Chrome, then Weebly is passable, if you don’t mind occasionally having to repeat a drag & drop action.

Wordpress.com

I also support a few sites on Wordpress.com (the online hosted CMS, not the self-hosted Wordpress.org). This worked without a hitch. Since Wordpress.com grew out of the original Wordpress product, which was intended to be a downloaded and then self-installed platform typically installed on Linux servers, it is likely that managing this was naturally done from a web browser also on Linux. As such, Wordpress is probably still the most popular platform for Linux folks, so there is a long history of synergy there.

Workpress.com also doesn’t have such a drag & drop graphic type of interface, so those usability issues aren’t there. The folks that created Wordpress.com were more concerned with providing maximum configurability rather than a WYSIWYG way to do things. While it is considerably easier to use than the old Wordpress and even the Wordpress.org platforms, you will still have a check-box type of interface to get your web design done. If you’re OK with that, then Wordpress on Linux is a natural fit.

Conclusion

While there were issues here & there, mostly with actions that I don’t typically rely on too much anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that my most important tasks (managing websites) was not going to be hampered by Linux.

As a matter of fact, the extra speed that I experienced with Squarespace, was the case in all the platforms. It was most pronounced in those applications that I think have a lot of graphic overhead, like Squarespace and Weebly. This leads me to believe that Linux seems to be a little more lean & mean when it comes to getting tasks done. It doesn’t allow for as much software bloat.

Steve Jobs thought that computers shouldn’t force the end user to go through too many steps to get basic work done. While Linux is more distant from Apple than Windows in people’s minds, I also think that in many ways Linux has become much better at being task-oriented and efficient in the way that Apple is. As I continue working with Linux I am reminded more and more of this important fact: computers should be there to get work done, not make you work to get them to work.

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