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New Features \ MAR 24th 2010

HTML Component – Progress Report

HTML Component Progress Report
Let’s start with the good news: we’ve reached the last stage of development and at this point are fully capable of integrating HTML into the editor. Here’s a ‘how to’ video that demonstrates just that – adding a Google calendar and a poll widget to a Wix flash website.


So what’s been keeping us back?
First of all, we’d like to apologize for the delay. We know how badly you need this feature and realize how long the wait must feel. Here’s what’s been keeping us back.

System (Re)-Architecture
Due to all kinds of technical issues, which are mostly related to security and system stability, we had to put HTML integration off the table for a while.  The HTML component needed a new infrastructure to support it, namely, our new “Always On” model. Our prime focus was on performance and scalability, and now that we’ve started deploying a new system, we feel that we’ve come a lot closer to creating the optimal conditions necessary for this feature.

We had to be sure that no one could use the HTML component to destabilize Wix.
HTML has its malicious potential and as a start-up company we need to be confident that we can stomach issues like security breaches and copyright infringement. In that respect, integrating HTML is a dramatic milestone in Wix’ development: we are making a big vote of confidence, first and foremost in our members, but also in ourselves.
This is why we had to come up with a safe way of adding HTML to websites rather than just letting folks hack their own code into our servers. We’re still hard at work on adding more HTML functionalities into Wix, and we we’d happy to hear from you guys about missing capabilities or any other stuff you want to do that won’t be made possible with this feature.

Product Complexity & Support Issues
Communicating the complexity of code and the way it behaves in a visual environment is a challenge that brings forth interesting questions.  New functionalities mean – by default – new challenges, new problems, and *sigh* new bugs.  Allowing members to use any code that’s available on the net means some serious restructuring: it necessitates the creation of new support resources and leaving enough margin for trial and error prior to release.
HTML is very error prone and extremely sensitive to browser variations.  Connectivity with Flash is even trickier.  Some versions worked with Firefox but not with IE; others worked on Chrome but not on Safari, on Mac, etc. We were genuinely worried that due to issues out of our control like users embedding ‘pirate’ widgets, members will experience compatibility issues that we won’t be able to support. Good intentions aside, we can’t provide support for the entire web code base.
In order to circumvent this we created a team that reviewed the most popular widgets /web apps and created tutorials for integrating them into Wix. We’ve made sure that widgets like Google calendar, PollDaddy, and Meebo are easily integrated and safely available for your use. This team will continue to expand the recommended ‘white’ widgets list and eventually create automatic integration. This is important as our terms of use for the HTML component will clearly state that we won’t be able to support widgets other than the ones authorized and approved by us.

So When is the HTML Component coming out?

We‘re planning to release a final version to be tested by our pioneer group within the next month.  Unless they find critical issues, we’ll make the HTML component public a couple of weeks later. We’d appreciate any feedback on your favorite and trusted widget repositories, things you’d like to do with the HTML component, and any ideas you might have on last finishing touches.

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