4 Reasons I Hate iWeb

Since 2008, we’ve been managing the Diabetes Hands Foundation web site and my wife’s Evolve Art Studio web site using iWeb. Today, after the second overhaul we’ve made to the site is done I find it to be a web creation platform that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. Here’s why:

  1. It’s NOT web-based. So ironic that a product called iWeb doesn’t offer a way to manage your web site on the web. ALL you can do with it is dependent on the client that is installed in the Me.com account associated with your web site. This means if you happen to have two accounts set up on the computer where you run iWeb from (the case of my wife, who is in charge of our web site changes), better get ready for a lot of closing applications, logging out and logging back in just to make a simple change… PLUS, who’d imagine they wouldn’t make it available via a web interface!
  2. It doesn’t separate content from presentation. This is another way of saying, if you want to change the way your links appear on all pages, from blue to orange, you have to do it on EVERY page. There’s no central place where this change can be made (it’s called CSS!) so this makes for a very painful process redesigning sites build on iWeb.
  3. It doesn’t like Google Analytics too much. First, because there’s no single place where you can paste the Analytics Tracking Code, so you LITERALLY have to paste it on EVERY single page you want to track. Second, if you take a look at your Google Analytics traffic data, because of the way the pages are served, you have to really make an exercise in URL analysis to figure out what page’s data you’re looking at.
  4. Horrible URLs. I can’t say the pages built with iWeb are not Search Engine Friendly. They do OK, but the URLs rendered by iWeb could use some love. Example: when you type www.diabeteshandsfoundation.org and get to our home page, the URL becomes… ta-ta!!


So next time you are tempted to get iWeb, avoid the temptation and look for another option. As for us, by mid-year we plan on migrating our site to WordPress, which reminds me:

Can anyone recommend a good WordPress developer that is willing to give a small nonprofit a good price for a migration project like this one? If so, please drop me a line at manny AT diabeteshf DOT org.

Whole Foods Market Missions app: a HealthSeeker ripoff?

Aug. 18, 2010 Whole Foods Market launched the new Whole Foods Market Missions iPhone app. Read the app description below, taken from the iTunes Preview page (the bolded words are mine, to point out the coincidences between this app and another app we launched on Facebook two months ago):

Get on a mission to better health! The Whole Foods Market Missions (WFMissions) app will help you broaden your palate by introducing you to a range of delicious, nutrient dense foods. Learn more about healthy eating and start a conversation with your social networks about the road to good health.

Missions — Complete steps of varying difficulty and earn badges through fun and healthy Missions.
Tips – Get simple, practical advice on cooking, nutrition, green living, food storage and more. Save your favorites for easy reference.
Profile – Keep track of your accomplishments and brag about them via email, Facebook, and Twitter

More than two months before, the Diabetes Hands Foundation launched HealthSeeker™, a new Facebook® game, with the goal of helping players make specific lifestyle changes that focus on healthy eating. While the benefits of the game are available to anyone, HealthSeeker™ specifically helps people with diabetes make more informed lifestyle decisions in an innovative way that complements their daily use of social media.

There are MISSIONS and ACTION STEPS to help players achieve LIFESTYLE GOALS and create an opportunity to advance in the game. These LIFESTYLE GOALS include eating more healthfully, achieving or maintaining a healthy weight, improving one’s diabetes control and lowering cardiovascular risk factors. As ACTION STEPS are completed and players return to report their progress, they receive experience points and other awards for their achievements.

HealthSeeker™ combines a supportive social networking environment with important information on managing diabetes. The game utilizes the player’s own Facebook® friends as sources of inspiration and support on the road to better health.

On HealthSeeker game, missions are made up of action steps as shown:

This is how a comparable screen looks on the Whole Foods App:

When you complete a mission on HealthSeeker, it appears as follows:

This is how it looks on the Whole Foods App:

This is how my achievements page looks on HealthSeeker:

This is how the badges tab looks on the Whole Foods app:

Has Whole Foods Market been patterned off HealthSeeker™? Is it a ripoff? I would like to hear your thoughts…

All I can say is: there seem to be a LOT of similarities. Considering how broad this space is and how much resources Whole Foods should be able to put behind developing a truly innovative and groundbreaking app, I would have imagined that they’d try to avoid repeating the same thing that others are already doing out there… but I digress. What do YOU guys think?

LaLa: Over and Out!

Today, subscribers to the 5-year old service LaLa received this email message:

The Lala service will be shut down on May 31st.

In appreciation of your support over the last five years, you will receive a credit in the amount of your Lala web song purchases for use on Apple’s iTunes Store. If you purchased and downloaded mp3 songs from Lala, those songs will continue to play as part of your local music library.

Remaining wallet balances and unredeemed gift cards will be converted to iTunes Store credit (or can be refunded upon request). Gift cards can be redeemed on Lala until May 31st.

I have been writing about LaLa since it’s Used CD trading times and through their dramatic change in business model. Like many other LaLa users, I have been wondering exactly how would Apple incorporate the LaLa service (basically streaming music from the “cloud” for free once and unlimited if you pay 10 cents per track) into their iTunes strategy since they purchased the Palo Alto-based company back in December.

The news today gives SOME idea of what those plans may be. Here are my two cents:

  • Not unexpected to see LaLa (as a separate entity) shutting down. No surprises there.
  • What is a surprise is that they are crediting users for all web song purchases. I assumed that there would be “something” ported over into whatever incarnation there may be on iTunes in connection with any account you may have there, to extend the experience. Now, although I am not losing money on this change, I have wasted time… If I wanted to purchase the same songs for streaming (assuming that they are offered in streaming format and that they are offered at the same price through iTunes or whatever Apple’s new service ends up being called), I am going to have to scroll through my 9,000+ library to figure out which ones are web songs that I care about and which are downloads (that I keep anyway).

Why did they do things this way? Perhaps developing the technology to bring “in-house” the collections of current LaLa wasn’t worth it, in Apple’s mind (with Apple’s new role as the IBM of the 21st Century, it could be the case). Porting over data from a “handful” of fanatic users like myself wasn’t worth their time… and they may be right, sadly.

While I don’t feel “betrayed” as I did when Last.FM sold out to its parent company CBS, I do have VERY mixed feelings about this move. I know Apple will come up with something in June and that something will likely have its home in the “cloud” as FastCompany accurately assesses: think “web-based iTunes or something”.

I keep thinking: the only way you can REALLY control the way things work for you is you do them yourself. But then, you will find yourself spending time and energy developing/hosting solutions to make things work your way. Is it worth it? Probably no. Does it dissapoint me when I things change on me overnight? Still does… anyway… End of rant! Happy Friday to you all!