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First Look: iWeb '09, webpage editor

updated 03:00 pm EST, Thu January 29, 2009

First Look iWeb '09

There are plenty of options for creating webpages. Professionals typically opt for editors like DreamWeaver, while hardcore designers may choose to dive into the HTML code. It's theoretically possible to use ordinary word processors, but the resulting pages are often too simplistic. For the average person who wants to create professional-quality pages without taking design classes -- or learning the vulgarities of HTML code -- Apple offers the much simpler iWeb '09, a part of the new iLife '09 suite.

The program mimics a desktop publishing paradigm, in which you paste and manipulate objects such as shapes, pictures and text boxes on a blank slate. Since few people have experience in graphic design, you can choose from a variety of templates to create a consistent look. While such templates make page layout simple, the latest version of iWeb adds only two new themes on top of those from iWeb '08. If you were disappointed by the limited selection before (26 templates), the '09 software won't change your mind.



The most visible new feature is the ability to add functionality to pages by dragging and dropping widgets. One interesting widget lets you drag a YouTube screen to a page, enter a URL for a particular video, and have your selected clip appear with no additional HTML coding.



Place the Google Maps widget on a page, type in an address, and you've added a map to guide viewers to a particular location. The RSS widget retrieves information from other websites, and there's even an iSight widget that lets you capture a picture or movie of yourself through your iSight camera.



Another long overdue feature is the ability to send pages directly to a hosting service other than MobileMe. In the past the only option was to export files to a folder, then use a separate FTP client to upload the content to a hosting service. Now you can enter your own FTP information, and upload a site without leaving iWeb.



When you upload your pages, you also have the option of sending a notice to your Facebook profile, so friends can check out the updated site right away. This feature, along with the YouTube, iSight, and RSS widgets, makes iWeb '09 especially well-suited to crafting personal material.

If you just want to have fun and post a personal page on MobileMe, or another service such as GoDaddy, you should find iWeb '09 easy to use. If you want to design a business-oriented website however, iWeb's latest features (such as the iSight widget) may prove to be fairly useless.

In the context of the $79 iLife '09 suite, iWeb fits in perfectly as a tool to make Macs more fun for individuals. You probably won't want to buy iLife just for a copy of iWeb, but you'll find the program a pleasant, if limited, tool for novice web design.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Fool me Once

    Does this one completely s**** previous 08 iWeb files like the 08 iWeb screwed the 07 iWeb work?

  1. JonathanBadeen

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Transmit driven

    Also to note about the FTP feature. They are licensing an ftp framework from Panic called TransmitKit. TransmitKit isn't in Transmit or Coda. My guess is that will be driving Transmit 4. I want to know how I can license it for one of my apps because everything else sucks by comparison.

  1. macvette

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    FTP upload???

    I wonder if iWeb '09 transfers the entire contents of your site every time you make a change. iWeb '08 seems to "touch" (date & time stamp) most of the files when the site is published to a local folder. This complicates uploading only the updated files. It would be great if iWeb '09 had the smarts to only upload what was truly modified since the last upload.

    Working with multiple web sites in iWeb '08 is also a pain. Hopefully that has improved.

  1. chas_m

    Joined:

    0

    re: macvette

    I agree with you that those features you mentioned would be nice, but it seems to me that if you really NEED such features (particularly the "multiple web sites" feature), it's a clear sign you've outgrown iWeb.

    Might be time for you to move on to Rapidweaver, Freeway or Sandvox, et al.

  1. Stuke

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Multiple Sites Review ??

    You didn't mention anything about multiple sites in your first look review. If I'm not mistaken, this is also a KEY new feature of iWeb `09.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    Re: Fool me once

    Well, on Macintouch, one user reported it screwed up his site royally. So it probably depends on the site.

  1. MattJeff

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -6

    F***s up your site

    If you had a 08 site... this will more then likely F*** your site up when you publish

    >:[

    Apple you better fix this.

  1. msadesign

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    ftp?

    I just don't see where 09 has internal FTP? In the Help file it still talks about a 3rd party client? what am I missing?

  1. bhuot

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Microsoft's fault

    The way to add formatting to a website is through CSS and images. The HTML should only be used for structure. The big reason why we cannot get pixel perfect precision on the web when assuming a certain resolution and monitor proportions or that we can't use SVG to solve the problem of different resolutions is because Internet Explorer doesn't allow this to work when creating only one version of your website without doing CSS or Javascript hacks for each version of Internet Explorer you want to support.

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