Weebly on first of October 2015 released a major update to its site building platform calling it as a Carbon a third generation Weebly update. One of the important features in the upgrade is the introduction of app center allowing third party developers to build apps and sell it on Weebly platform. In this article we will discuss what Weebly might be trying to do with the new app center and what you as a Weebly user will get.
History of Weebly Changes
When you look back into how Weebly evolved as a market player in the site building arena you can find a simple fact that Weebly unfortunately is not a market leader in announcing changes. In fact, there is a clear lagging of management strategy on how to handle the change management process without impacting millions of live sites both for premium and free users. The so called Carbon – a third generation update is not an exception to Weebly’s monotonous approach of implementing changes without any prior notification. You can view responses from users here expressing how many bugs are there in the new update and how it was impacting the user experience.
Weebly Introduces App Center
As part of the bigger update Weebly introduced an app center – a market place for selling apps to users. Most of the site building companies like Wix have their own market place long back and it is expected Weebly to follow the suit.
How Weebly App Center Works?
There is a new tab “Apps” added under site editor to differentiate default elements and the apps. Below is the definition of “App” as per Weebly:
App shall mean any application, element, theme, and/or software service created by Partner and made available to Weebly users through the Weebly Marketplace and/or any other Weebly Services.
Under “Apps” tab, when clicking on “App Center” you will be taken into the market place showing all categories of apps for your site.
There are many useful elements like simple table, pricing table, accordion, FAQ, etc. which you can add it your site. Once the app is added it can be seen as an element under “Elements > Third Party” also under “Settings > My Apps”.
What is the Impact of New Weebly App Center?
Well, at the outlook this looks like a great concept of allowing third parties to sell their apps through a channelized process. But there are lot of concerns considering the way Weebly handles things.
Problems and Support with Third Party Apps
As of now we tested as many as apps introduced and none seems to be working fine as explained in the instructions. Let us take as example of “Simple Table” app which is offered as free in the app center. Below is the first review of this app which is self-explanatory:
It’s well named: “Simple Table” – too simple to be of much use. Rows can’t be inserted into an existing table. Is there some way to customize the width of columns? I couldn’t find a way. When I experimented and uploaded a table on an existing page, the page failed to open (in Chrome). Overall very disappointing.
Though Weebly will fix this there are two questions for the webmasters:
- Why such a simple things are not tested and introduced to millions of users with bugs?
- How does Weebly will handle these third party apps in future?
As of now Weebly does not handle any third party related support queries even for a business users and there is no documentation found how the third party apps in the app centers will be supported henceforth.
Default Elements Vs Third Party Apps
Under elements tab you can find lot of third party elements like Forum offered by Tal.ki, PollDaddy Poll, YouTube, Google AdSense, Scribd Document Embed, etc. With new apps are getting added as third party elements we really do not understand what are the default Weebly elements and what are the real third party element.
App Center is for Developers
The major benefit of new app center is for the developers who wanted to sell Weebly apps and themes. Weebly also introduced a developer platform to allow developers to use Weebly APIs and sell their products on official Weebly platform.
Weebly should understand the bottom-line of why users want to use their platform – it is just because of the easy to use interface. What we noticed is that Weebly always forgetting this point and making simple things complex like replacing multicolumn element with spacer, limited membership feature for pro users, etc.
Introducing an app center is definitely a welcome move from Weebly at the same time it will be much appreciated if Weebly addresses the hard core problems like backup (especially blog posts), additional blogging features like tags, more social media sharing, etc.
Not to mention, Weebly should handle the change management in more professional manner by informing the users in advance and give them enough time to accept the changes.