Insert HTML code in HEAD without developer tools

Welcome onboard @rogerb !:slight_smile:

I’ve been using Sparkle for a while now so have seen both sides of this story…
Sparkle’s story is to offer us Users a no-code platform allowing us to “design” and Sparkle takes care of the rest.

I have also seen the more code savvy Users asking for code access to Sparkle. If I was in the Sparkle Team’s shoes this would have caused me sleepless nights knowing I was serving up a no-code platform.

I think it is something you could discuss further with the Sparkle Team at, but for me I can see that the Sparkle Team has gone out of their way to satisfy the needs of savvy Developers. To me the price says this is not the norm but we have taken it into consideration.

When it comes to me having the need of the Developer Tools I’ll be AOK to pay for the additional functionality. In the end it is a one of cost.


OK thanks for your reply. Well so far I’ve managed to get over most problems but I already have a list of bugs/issues that I’ve stumbled on so far and that if fixed would make life easier for not just me!
Even though I might complain can I make one clear:

I’ve tried/purchased several and this is the best piece of software that I’ve used so far!


Hi @rogerb, welcome. Please do email us the list of issues. We do have a long list of improvements and a pretty clear idea of where we are going, but there are likely things we have missed.

Sparkle focuses on being a visual website builder, and integrating vertically from the design aspects to the deployment and optimization aspects. We kind of draw the line at more advanced coding because it breaks many assumptions we need to make in order to vertically integrate. We would remove the embed element if it wasn’t for the long tail of small code snippets that many websites need.

Injecting code in the head is advanced coding because of the potential side effects, for performance or even basic functionality of the site, so we want to discourage people from buying them.

As you have found out most code embeds have no need for going into the page <head> and should not go there.

On the other hand people who have an understanding of what developer tools will do, and say how placing code in the <head> interacts with Sparkle’s coding, will find them worth the price for scenarios that truly need them.

Hope this helps.


I have a request from my client’s digital media/social campaign manager to add code within the “global header” of every page in order for them to track visitors through the Contact Us button. I was able to imbed their code successfully but apparently it’s only partially working because it’s “placed outside the header.” It sounds like I might need to purchase Developer Tools in order to place code in the header. I don’t mind doing that but I couldn’t locate a place on the website to do it. And before I purchase, is adding code to the header an obvious process or is there documentation that comes with it?


You can buy the developer tools from the “Your License” window in Sparkle.

This page shows the screens you get access to:

6 posts were split to a new topic: Insert code in the body

Personally, I think it is unbelievable the Sparkle want me to pay $149 to add PHP and HEADER code to my Sparkle websites.

All you have to do is open the page you want to insert the code in and paste it in the required area.

This feature DOES NOT warrant an additional $149 for Sparkle users.

It’s time this feature no longer be put behind a paywall.

I just paid another $90 to upgrade to Sparkle 4 less than a year after purchasing Sparkle 3 for $90. Wow!


Sparkle is a visual designer and not a coding tool and this is not supported.
The $149 for the devloper tool is for all the headache you would create for the support when you screw up your Sparkle project with code and the support has to fix it.
If you need it you will pay for it.

Just an heads up, i was signed up with a cloud visual designer that has less to offer than Sparkle and I paid $90 PER MONTH, with cloud space though.
You can also subscribe for Sparkle then you don’t pay the $90 for every update.
I did not paid $90 for the Version 4 it was free for me because i pay monthly.

All PHP and javascripts I need was implemented without the Developer tools and it works.

So please calm down, Duncan and his team does a great job and they deserve to get paid for that awesome tool that we use to make money as well in good case.


I don’t think it’s simply opening the page and adding code. You add an imbed box for the particular area of the page, and add the code that you want.
The mission of Sparkle is to present a visual designer for Mac. Sparkle is a small group of developers that need to be supported through purchase of Sparkle 3 or 4. If Sparkle wants one to purchase the developer tools so be it.
If you don’t use it, don’t buy it. It’s not our decision. It’s Sparkles decision.

I disagree.

Having to pay $149 to put a simple meta statement is simply not right.

And yes it is as simple as adding a line to the of the page you want to add the code. And as long as Sparkle is charging $149 to provide that functionality then I will continue adding the code I need to Sparkle webpages. Besides, if Sparkle is properly structured HTML output added META statements to the of a page shouldn’t break anything.

I tried using the Embed box and it does not put the code in the proper location in the HEAD of the pages it was placed on.

It places the Embed box in the middle of the page inside a bunch of DIV tags rendering it useless.

I still do not see how adding code to the HEAD of pages needs a $149 upgrade. Many other products similar to Sparkle do not hide this type of functionality behind a $149 upgrade.

Hi, if you don’t want to pay for the dev tools, you can still tweak the exported code to your wishes with a good text editor (Cot Editor is free for example).
Concerning the 149,- bucks: I compare Sparkle with the tools of a good handyman: You need good tools to get a good job done. I personally would never try to do good craft with poor tools.
I am in the craft industry. We produce handmade souvenirs and you can not fulfill good quality with a 5,- bucks hammer to name an example.
Its just my 2 cents. Duncan and his team is doing an awesome job. He is always reachable and I have personally received great support even on sundays. 149,- is much money, but for me it is worth every single dim.


Hi @mliving, you might not be in Sparkle’s target audience, if the cost of using Sparkle cannot be justified. By the way none of the Sparkle upgrades are required, anybody who’s happy with the license they own can upgrade the software for free and not unlock the new features.

We do not bundle the developer tools for free because we would much rather people tell us what they want in Sparkle, and we add it in a way that works with the rest of the Sparkle features and editable with a GUI by anybody, rather than having to support random issues because of what has been copy/pasted. We already get that more than we should for the regular embed element.

In other words, the vast majority of Sparkle users wouldn’t even ever think of putting PHP in the header. For those that live in code, they have many other great website building tools to pick from, we aren’t going there.

We also find that the vast majority of web coders overestimate their ability to understand the implications of the code they’re adding to the page, either in terms of proper functionality, performance, privacy compliance, security or accessibility.


I think if you took a step back @mliving and see what Sparkle is all about you’ll see that the price for the Developer Tools is more of a deterrent than being expensive.

I might need to use PHP in the header with a client to allow an embedded CMS gallery to work and I checked out the price today. Very reasonable for what I would need to do and then charge the client appropriately.

Well said, I can not agree more with what you said Duncan,
Thank You!

I’m sorry but I have to disagree with the premise that you want to discourage users from extending their websites and increasing their knowledge of website building and basic HTML by charging them more money for basic functionality. Putting code like meta refresh statements in the header of a webpage is NOT advanced HTML and Sparkle should have a W3C compatible method of doing it. Embed elements do not work for HEAD elements and add a ton of messy code beyond the actual code you want to embed.

There are plenty off similarly priced visual website builders out there like CoffeeCup, Blocs 4, EverWeb, RapidWeaver, SandVox and many more. Most of these apps do not charge users extra to extend their websites using basic HTML.

I can somewhat agree with PHP, but it’s been my experience that most applications were PHP integration is required are usually well documented and offer a good knowledge base for such integrations.

I think most users who want to learn and extend their websites would be more likely to move on to another product once they understand just how much a simple line of code will cost them. I would propose that Sparkle offer the code extending feature with the caveat that there is no free support for such features.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Sparkle is a good visual website design tool but it not necessarily as good as it should be. The web is built on standards and any product that creates websites that uses proprietary code or paywalls to restrict users from learning more about the web and the sites they create is doing a huge disservice to it’s users.


You seem to imply that there is a path from beginner=non-coder to advanced=coder, and no that’s not the case.

You’d be surprised at how many professional sites are done in Sparkle, in fact many commercial songs, feature movies, highway billboards are also done in WYSIWYG apps :slight_smile:

The Sparkle user interface appears simple, that’s by design. The implications of clicking a checkbox are not simple, we spent thousands of hours on ensuring the resulting code works on as many browsers as possible or gracefully degrades when it doesn’t, on making sure the PHP code Sparkle generates works across server versions and configurations, on keeping that pagespeed score up every time they raise the bar, and so on.

In fact I posit that the real amateurs are the “fake it till you make it" people who never build a properly engineered website, again in terms of proper functionality, performance, privacy compliance, security and accessibility.

Yes Sparkle doesn’t do everything, but the fix is not to add the ability to add code, it’s to create visual tools to allow more people to create their professional site, rather than restrict who can be defined as professional.

In fact the left brain/right brain dichotomy suggests people who are more skilled at creating great designs are going to be less proficient with the symbolic nature and detail oriented busywork of code. So who’s the real design professional there?

I guess the market will decide whether competing tools are better than Sparkle, right? A couple or three of the ones you mention are already dead by the way.


Hello mliving,

I don’t quite understand your frustration. It seems to me that you are doing exactly like me :

1° you consider $149 is too much regard your small needs, the productivity of your workflow becoming secondary.

2° you directly edit the files generated by Sparkle to add your code. The only constraint is to have to give it to each publication, copy/paste is your friend.

3° You are not going to ask Duncan to debug your own code or why it does not work.

4° You are aware of the risks, particularly in terms of security.

In my last project I use this method with PHP and JS for:

  • Save contact form data in MySQL database
  • Send acknowledgement mail to Contact
  • Personnalise the « thank you » page with the Contact first name
  • Automatically close the « thank you » page past 5 seconds
  • Optimize the Google Map API behavior (zoom, tools…)

So, where is the concern? La vita e Bella !

Sparkle is a design tool, and I’ve joined them for the ride. The developer tools are just that; but one always have to be aware of breakage. I code on a very elementary level; and if I wanted to know anymore I would.
Use Sparkle for what it’s designed for.
As @Duncan mentions in the Sparkle philosophy …
“ Some ‍day ‍every ‍designer ‍will ‍use ‍a ‍visual ‍tool ‍for ‍web ‍design, ‍just ‍like ‍we ‍no ‍longer ‍write ‍PostScript ‍to ‍create ‍a ‍leaflet ‍and ‍we ‍no ‍longer ‍use ‍the ‍command ‍line ‍for ‍routine ‍file ‍management ‍tasks”

I’ve bought into the Sparkle philosophy. Enjoy the ride.

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