XtGem Blog

Search


blog post Page content quick-setup wizard and new block types

It's a very exciting day for us at XtGem today as we have just launched a sizeable update that we have been working on for the past couple of months!
Screenshot
We have added a large number of new building tool block types, covering a very vast range of functionality: starting from click-to-call and click-to-email links and all the way up to a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, form builder.
Here are some of our favorites:
Poll - very handy for figuring out your visitor opinions regarding various topics.
Maps and vCard support - Display the location of your business on a map and allow users to easily import contact details to their phone address book.
mCommerce - Implement PayPal and Google Checkout buttons to sell various services and goods right from your XtGem site.
Image gallery - makes maintaining an image gallery a very straightforward task.
Contact form builder - allows building custom multi-purpose contact forms using a WYSIWYG interface.

We have also launched a page content quick-setup wizard in the web version of XtGem. You can now go from zero to a functional, fully customized multi-page site in less than 3 minutes.

We are very eager to hear your feedback - please do let us know your thoughts on these new updates!

-Read -622 comments
blog post MyWibes, Containers and more!

A number of weeks ago MyWibes users were informed that the service was shutting down. In light of those news, we have gotten in touch with their staff and offered to continue hosting MyWibes accounts on our servers and integrate them into our building tool, to ensure that the sites remain available in the future and users can continue to maintain them. We have completed the move and MyWibes users will be glad to know that they can now login into their sites via http://xtgem.com/mywibes

In other news, we have a meaty update for XtGem planned within the next few weeks. Namely: Updated site templating, container support and a completely rewritten markup parser.

Color preset preview

Markup parser is the core technology of XtGem, providing the link between the building tool and text editor. Current parser, while does it's job, has not aged well - it has been in use since the very first day of XtGem. More advanced XtGem users are well aware of it's negative nuances - having to use the text editor exclusively to ensure that the building tool does not mess up their markup. Those same users will be very happy to hear that, after a lot of careful planning, we have rewritten it from scratch. Once it is deployed into production, building tool and text editor will work in harmony and you will not have to worry about losing code indentation, whitespace or, in extreme cases, code.
Since this is an update to a very critical part of XtGem, we will be running a beta test to make sure that it works as expected and we have the opportunity to squash the remaining bugs. Keep an eye out on XtBoard for more information once it becomes available!

This updated parser has allowed us to expand the functionality of the building tool as well - and the very first thing that we focused on is container support. Containers are basically separate builder blocks that can contain blocks within themselves. They allow for a better separation of page sections - for example you might want to have a container for header elements, another one for navigation items and the third one for page content. You will be able to collapse them and have complex content hierarchies, which will speed up content maintenance by a lot.
But we did not stop there! XtGem will be able to recognize block context from the parent container and support blocks that are specific to it. You will, for example, be able to create a navigation container and add navigation items to it, or set up a gallery container and add images to it using a dedicated UI.

Containers

Given the support for more markup structures and blocks, we have spent the past couple of months working on another huge feature - updated site templates.
Currently site templates simply apply a basic CSS file to the whole site - which works fine, but leaves something to be desired. Updated site templates will be a lot more sophisticated, providing professional-quality look, vast configuration options and device-specific functionality. You will be able to tweak template look on the fly (or choose from a bunch of predefined presets) and XtGem will generate cross-device-compatible markup and CSS - including appropriate containers, stylesheets and code that will make your site work on a variety of devices, from feature phones to smartphones to desktop browsers. Site templates and containers will launch shortly after the updated parser hits production.

Color preset editing

We are very fortunate to get as much feedback and suggestions as we do. Since adding support for PHP, some of the most-requested features were FTP and MySQL support. I won't disclose the specifics yet, but assure you that we are currently testing various ways to implement these two technologies into XtGem. Stay tuned! ;)

-Read -631 comment
blog post Next up: Revamped WEB version

It has been quite a year since we incorporated last October - we have completely re-written the backend (the inner workings) of XtGem, introduced paid options, opened the widget marketplace, launched a rich mobile version, re-worked the standard mobile interface and as a result of all the hard work we put in, XtGem's traffic more than quadrupled!
We have now spent the past month working on the next iteration of the WEB interface and we cannot be more excited about things to come.

Teaser

We are ditching the dated web-service feel and are going for a fully-featured web-app. It will allow for a more streamlined site building experience, as well as contain many significant user interface tweaks.

It is not live yet, although we plan to do a closed beta test in October. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be notified!

-Read -681 comment
blog post Touchscreen-friendly XtGem

I would like to announce the next significant improvement of XtGem - a touchscreen-friendly mobile version of the service.

Screenshot

As iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad) and Android devices continue to gain traction globally, it becomes apparent, that there is a need for a mobile web experience that is more rich than ordinary mobile sites, yet not as complicated as a full web experience.

For the past couple of months we have been working on XtGem experience targeted at touchscreen-centric devices to address this niche. While it is not yet ready for prime-time, we are hoping to release it in May.

This template will sport completely... [Continue reading]

-Read -312 comments
blog post Current state of XtGem

You might have noticed a lack of updates and new features lately. That's becaue we're hard at work building the next version of XtGem.
When I started XtGem almost four years ago, it was built as a personal project. I had never imagined it would attract such a huge amount attention. However XtGem has now reached a point at which we have to take a good look what we have been doing so far and decide what goals we want to pursue next.

The new version of XtGem will allow for much easier maintenance of the service and allow for new features to be added with ease. In other words, it's calm before the storm. Once we have the new version up and running, expect a much more steady stream of... [Continue reading]

-Read -59 comments