Just spent a couple weeks putting together a long form project in StoryMaps Cascade, thought I'd share some thoughts and feedback.
- We worked on the project locally, cloning the source code from github, altering as needed and hosting the finished product on AWS. All in all the experience was solid and the whole team is happy with the outcome. In particular, I really enjoyed the map integration and the capacity to guide the reader through map-based data, an otherwise complicated endeavor.
- Perhaps the most frustrating element of development with Cascade was the inability to work with HTML directly. There were circumstances where we needed to do simple things like add bullets, wrap text in a DIV, created an element ID for reference that weren't possible. Even a simple WYSIWYG would have been such a huge help. Without this capacity, I don't know if we'll use Cascade again.
- It's also quite frustrating that iFrames are stripped of all their attributes and URL parameters by the frontend templating system. Thus, cascade simply decides for you how tall an iFrame will be based on the width specified (it also does this for HTML page media). The result is that sometimes there are massive gaps at the bottom of the iFrame or content gets cutoff. This problem is compounded by the fact that there is a mobile bug (showing up on all iOS and Android browsers we tested) that fails to account for the height of the iFrame and results in paragraphs with the 'block' class getting loaded atop the iFrame content (which is loaded with 'position: absolute'). Eventually we had to abandon loading iFrame content for this reason.
- Related to the above two issues, it is frustrating that there is no system for loading in script tags. Often, we'll solve the issue of responsive iFrame's by using NPRs pym.js, which allows for dynamic loading of an iFrame via a element ID and some JS (other third party products we often use, like infogr.am, also use scripts to produce the same result). We had to build a separate handlebars template locally that allowed for the loading of script tags into Media sections.
- Image and video content, in my opinion, needs some sort of max height setting. It's great that you can load content in that expands to fit the whole browser window horizontally, but this immediately loses its value if the window width is narrower than it's height.
- When adding Vimeo videos as backgrounds, they're muted by default. It be great if this was optional.
Thanks for such a great product!