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Rebuilding a simple Drupal site in Squarespace

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I am investigating rebuilding a simple Drupal site on thequarespace platform.

If possible this would be a major time saver for us in the long run. We would no longer have to worry about our web host Linux OS updates and Drupal CMS updates and in terms of backend UX it would be a much nicer platform for our comms team etc to use.

The site I want to rebuild is a simple brochure type website (no client login etc). The URL is:https://www.sciencegallery.org/

As a quick test in just an hour or so I've built a pretty close approximation of the home page using an out of the box Squarespace theme:https://endive-cranberry-fnhp.squarespace.com/

We could probably live with some limitations if it meant a significant saving in time and effort.

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Some questions:

  1. Will Squarespace Dev tools let me get even closer to the theme I am trying to rebuild (the header and menu layout in particular)?

  2. When creating a custom squarepace theme can I modify a base theme or do I have to start from scratch?

  3. I'm wondering if more experience Squarespace users/devs think this is doable/advisable.

  4. Does squarespace let me define specific content types with custom fields that I can then style anyway I want?

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Hey there. Looks like you might have already solved for this as I can see your new website is already in Squarespace.

I come a Drupal background as well. I also use Squarespace for the assistance it gives with a simple CMS. That being said, the CMS is very basic. The Dev Tools are also very basic. As far as I can tell - there is only 1 single comparison operator and from what I have discovered over the last several months is that the syntax of JSON-T is very limiting - BUT - it can surprisingly solve many templating requests if you think it through far enough (although it can get silly hacked after a while whne you combine Block.Fields with custom Queries and JSON-T iteration loops). For the brochure site you are talking about - I bet you can do fine.

One thing to notice is that Squarespace will limit you to a 3 tier menu system. I use a custom 3 tier menu system on a site I am working on and trust me - this was not an easy customization. The Dev Syntax is just weird, but it can be done with enough patience, JSON variable injection and Javascript.

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Will Squarespace Dev tools let me get even closer to the theme I am trying to rebuild (the header and menu layout in particular)?

Yes - but its definately not as easy and robust in code structure as Drupal. See above.

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When creating a custom squarepace theme can I modify a base theme or do I have to start from scratch?

Both. I modified a Brine Family theme for a client by adding Custom Post Type with Custom Fields and custom CSS and Javascript to display things the way we wanted and mimic elements that were native to Squarespace to make it all feel homogenous. 

Starting a theme from scratch is my preference now that I know the overall Framework and Theme scaffolding. I am not a huge fan - but again - it works.

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I'm wondering if more experience Squarespace users/devs think this is doable/advisable.

YES. Go for it. It really will save your DevOps sanity. No more endless patches and security threats. It's also wonderful way to give designer proficient clients an easy access to a visual CMS with an inherent Grid System. This is one of the biggest draws towards the platform that I can think of. 

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Does squarespace let me define specific content types with custom fields that I can then style anyway I want?

Yes. The custom fields are limited to basic inputs:

  • Text Field
  • Text Area
  • Media
  • Text with super basic WYSIWYG (only Bold, Italic, Link)
  • There might be an HTML field too
  • You can also use the main body of your Custom Post Type for more opportunity. This is the same Editor you get with a normal Squarespace page so client can easily add Galleries, Text, and so much more that is built into Squarespace. The main problem is that it is no longer displayed inline with your page - instead it is built into a popup modal. This may be a bit frustrating for the client - but it can be done.
  • You can also access any of the pre-built Squarespace variables that are available. You can discover a wealth of variables by viewing the JSON of any page/content => http://sitehere.com/page-here?format=json-pretty

I would really appreciate if you took the time to detail your journey here as well. Maybe it will help other fellow developers (especially you Drupal Devs. Cheers mates!)

 

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