Time and again, my enjoyment of the major websites I use has been negatively impacted by factors beyond my control. I've complained. I've gotten angry. All I ever ask from an upgrade or redesign is to make things better, but all I ever seem to get is something different, which throws out the baby out with the bathwater and attempts to raise a new child that bears some resemblance to the first one. When Exfanding Your Horizons (powered by Blogger) went on indefinite hiatus, I chose Weebly as the platform where I'd continue blogging: I was tired of Blogger's unwelcome changes, and equally importantly, I wanted something consummately simple.
I know enough HTML and CSS to make some simple changes to a website without breaking it—Exfanding's visual design is the result of my liberal tinkering with a basic template—but I find it exhausting to work with code. Gimme a GUI and I'll treat it like a playground; gimme HTML, CSS, or even a DOS prompt, and I'll treat it like a playground where I have to perform extensive research before I can identify the slide and the swing set, let alone use them. Weebly didn't have all the features that Blogger did, but it was hard to argue with an interface where I could drop text boxes, buttons, and divider lines into place without ever touching a line of code.
For almost two years, Weebly was a safe haven where I could be creative without compromise. If I sat down to write a post or add to my Series Opinions, I could trust that 100% of my time would be spent doing what I wanted to do with my site, and not spent muddling through reorganized menus or updating my settings to work around unwanted new features. The few updates I noticed were both innocuous and welcome—Weebly gave me a toolkit and left me the heck alone. Then, sometime between September 23 and October 1, everything fell apart.
A new post editor interface was introduced. Now an obtrusive white box was taking up space at the bottom of the screen, post-related options were spread all over the place, and the clear distinction between writing a blog post and modifying the website in general was lost. Once again, things were different, without any obvious or compelling improvement. I was irked by the sudden intrusion and inconvenience, but everything still worked as I needed it to.
Shortly after my first blog post with the updated interface, I got a message from one of my e-mail subscribers notifying me that the e-mail subscription text—normally black against a white background—was light pink. I hadn't changed any settings in Weebly or Feedburner for at least a year. My subscription text was spontaneously illegible. As of this blog post, it still is.
One Feedburner message board search and two Weebly support tickets later, I determined that anytime I add a new text box or make any changes within an existing text box anywhere on my website, a bunch of unnecessary HTML tags get added to the text box. These tags force the text box to be a particular color, overriding whatever's in the CSS. If I create a text box while my website's global paragraph text color is set to pink, any new text boxes will show up as pink. If I decide to change the global color to green, only the text boxes created after making that selection will be green; anything before then will still be pink, unless I manually change the color. And anything before that September 23 - October 1 window is completely unaffected by this mess and will globally change colors as usual, unless I touch them at all, in which case they'll sprout the same HTML tags that lock the currently selected color into place. Weebly being less robust than Blogger, I can't go into the HTML for individual posts to fix this myself.
So, my e-mail subscription text color is being overridden by whatever the HTML tags say. I either pick a text color that miraculously looks fine both against the dark background of this blog and the light background of my e-mail subscriptions, or I wait for a fix that may or may not ever come. That's part of why I've written so little on this site in the last month: the more I write, the more I probably need to manually correct if this issue is ever resolved. I give credit to Weebly support for being friendly with a can-do attitude, but it's worrisome that someone at the company essentially broke my website during a routine upgrade. This isn't an isolated incident, either; I set up a separate test blog and was easily able to duplicate the issue.
I understand that this is a free service I have elected to use over a plethora of other services, but I am getting really tired of people messing with my stuff, on purpose or not.