Friday, March 11, 2016

The Grid Beta Access: First impression

TheGrid.io has granted me Beta access to my account. You can see the account over at ShaineMata.com if you like. If you have never heard of The Grid, they are working to build a self-designing website that uses artificial intelligence. The idea is brilliant. I like the concept.

I think that when they iron out the bugs, The Grid should be excellent. I am not ready to make The Grid the home to any websites that are important to me quite yet. Here is why.

They are still in Beta


Obviously, being in Beta means that the service is not at full production capacity. There are things I expected would be available, which aren't. Watch the video to see more or less what I expected.
So, the first thing I expected was to be able to choose the website's purpose, which is not currently an option. Instead, there is a very rough posting process that allows me to share content from the web and to type up blog posts from the browser. At least, there is some control of the AI's design parameters.

Missing Content


When I publish some posts, for some reason the AI only publishes the photo and decides to not publish the text. To make things worse, making changes and reposting seems to have no effect. The best I could do is delete the post and try again, but even that is sketchy. I could not reliably edit posts and be sure that they will display properly, most especially when they have their own separate page.

One Page?


Posts default to a single page. You would have to infinitely scroll down to old posts if you ever built up a large repository of posts. There is no search feature. I would post to both the homepage and a separate page if the separate page weren't keen on deleting my content.

Inability to Change


I mentioned this before, but it needs emphasis. Making changes to a post, such as removing it from Navigation or making a Page from the post, seems to have no effect. Publishing the changes has no effect. Once an error is in place, it's permanent unless you delete the post and start over.

No RSS


At the very least, I thought I could use my Grid account as an aggregation site; but, I have not found an RSS feed anywhere.

I Won't Harp


I'm not going to harp too much on The Grid. They do warn users that it is in Beta. They are not running the meter on billing yet, so it's not like I'm paying for something I don't like. I look forward to improvements that they make to the back end to make publishing more intuitive and, quite frankly, effective. 

In the meantime, I will likely use my Grid site to point other content until I can reliably post to separate pages within The Grid. My experience demonstrates to me that they are putting all their effort into he AI and limited effort into user experience. I think this will improve over time. For now, I am content to use my account for experimental purposes. 
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