#1 Complaint(s) about Business Catalyst Missing Features

I am posting this as a relative newbie to BC but as a long time (since 1994) web designer and programmer.  I encourage others to respond with their own suggestions for improvement.
Business Catalyst's Missing Features

Business Catalyst’s Missing Features

1. The lack of responsive templates AND responsive menus  ( I find this so far behind the development curve for current design as to be almost unbelievable.   I normally learn new systems by taking templates and coding apart and putting them back together, but for non-coders esp.,  the system for creating flexible designs and menus is opaque to say the least.  Adobe has a habit of developing products targeted towards designers as end users, but fit only for coders who ALREADY understand and know how to use the proprietary code.  I suffered through 3 iterations of ActionScript (for Flash) only to finally give up trying to keep up with all the “improvements” which made it almost impossible for someone who was not a full-time programmer /coder to use.  There are no “plugins” or “extensions” to BC that allow the non-dedicated coder to easily implement basic features already readily available with other programs like Word Press, Bootstrap, Drupal, or with third-party extension makers for Dreamweaver,  like Project Seven (PVII) or DMXzone.   In addition, the available documentation, like that from BCGurus, is not simple enough to add complex features like responsive menus or designs).

2. Related to #1,  I have not found out a simple step-by-step tutorial as to how one might create a Dreamweaver set of templates that use responsive design and responsive menus, and make them work on BC.  For example, the dynamic menu system in BC will not use PVII JavaScript, and its inbred detection methods invalidate PVII responsive scripts, so that is a no go.  I went through an entire tutorial on BCGurus on creating responsive menus, but found them unhelpful because there was a complete gap on showing how to apply such menu systems to the BC CSS HTML menus.  Yes there was a tutorial sort of, but it did not deal with multilevel responsive menus, only top-level, which was useless.  What would be nice is a start to finish tutorial (for free on ADOBE), taking a Bootstrap or Dreamweaver template, with responsive design and responsive menus, and implementing it on BC.

If #1 were available, it might be simple enough to use the template as a structural code base and then edit the CSS of it to one’s liking; creating basically new sites with the template code, but even the BCGuru templates with responsive menus have so many levels of web apps embedded inside of modules inside of content holders inside of web apps, that trying to use those templates with custom designs (or client specific content!) becomes equivalent to a month-long African Safari tracking down the fabled wildebeest of Gnome.

I will not even get into, except mention, the lack of custom coding functionality of BC as compared to PHP/MySQL, or some of the basic features missing on the shopping cart available on most e-commerce sites today.

Anyway, that is my rant for the day.

5 comments on “#1 Complaint(s) about Business Catalyst Missing Features

  1. This review doesn’t make any sense. First of all, you can develop your own templates from scratch in BC. If you want responsive templates then develop responsive templates. BC gives you complete control over your HTML and CSS unlike the hosted versions of Drupal (Gardens) and WordPress(.com) which is what I assume you are referring to when you are comparing these. And,you can take full advantage of any javascript library like jQuery. Regarding menus, you can choose to have BC generate only HTML unordered lists for your menus. And, you can add classes to these lists. What else do you need as a starting point to make these menus responsive? If you are frustrated with the pre-fab templates (or lack thereof) then create your own templates.

    You understand that BC is a hosted CMS solution, right? Why are you comparing it to PHP and MySQL?

    • Hi, thanks for the response. I am used to working with databases for catalog displays and have been frustrated by BC’s opaque and hidden database system. I realize this is done for security, but when I want to reorganize data, the tags to do so are somewhat limited. It took me 4 weeks to find out that there is a browse-panel tag that would allow me to sort on price, sort of, but many queries to tech support over that period just told me to use js (which won’t work on multi-page displays)… Part of my frustration is learning how to interact with the new environment, and the other developers on the forums have been very helpful. However, I was told by someone that responsive design was so “new” that Adobe hadn’t really included features for it. That just floored me, since my client base is experiencing 30-40% of visits from mobile, and has been for the past few years. I was also frustrated because the detection scripts that are embedded in BC interfere with the responsive menus I created for mobile. So, you are right, I’ve got to develop completely CSS based menus with no javascript, as far as I can tell. That is a mark of my frustration, where another CMS solution like WP provides automatic mobile compatibility, or does so with a simple plugin… And the default lightbox application is a disaster on mobile for poplets. Because the js is not editable, I’ve not found a fix for the offscreen popup for their lightbox implementation…

  2. I understand that there are frustrations, but there will be frustrations with any CMS. For example, I get frustrated when I update WordPress and find out that a certain plugin is not compatible with the update. This can be a minor frustration or a major pain depending on how heavily I leaned on that plugin as a feature. I think the frustration you are having with BC and responsive design is that you are looking for BC to somehow make your sites responsive through some WYSIWYG feature. The responsiveness of a webpage is handled almost entirely through the CSS and media queries which is completely unrelated to BC. And, a responsive design is just one, not the only, solution for mobile websites. BC also has the ability to create separate mobile templates that are utilized through it’s detection scripts. You would use this feature for a separate mobile version of your website and not for responsive design. So, with BC you have the choice of using the responsive solution or creating separate mobile templates. That being said, BC and WP are completely different animals and comparing them is difficult.. If you are not familiar with PHP or MySQL then you shouldn’t even touch WP. Yes, it’s easy to set up a site in WP without any background in either, but what do you do when you get the white screen of death? What do you do when a bad plugin screws up your whole set up? BC allows designers and front-end developers with no knowledge of server side code to set up a dynamic website, and they can do so safely. If you are good with PHP and MySQL then why would you even bother with a hosted CMS solution when you can get so much more out of an open system like Drupal, WP and Concrete 5?

  3. Hi, I was using the the separate mobile templates, and that is where the detection scripts (deeper in the BC system) were interfering with my menu scripts…
    I am using BC is for several reasons:
    1. Clients want a simple interface they can use and update without a severe learning curve.
    2. The catalogs, products, secure zones, and forms are too numerous and complex for WordPress sites.
    3. Drupal is too complex for them to use easily.
    4. They want the convenience of CRM, Blogs, and Newsletters in a unified package, all linked to their social media. BC does that for them.

  4. OK – just so it’s clear for others, like myself, who found this site Googling reviews of BC: BC’s mobile template feature is not the same thing as responsive design. You take one approach or the other for a website.

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