iWeb 2008, by Apple
Posted: 26-Jul-2008

5 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Apple Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Shari Jackson Class: PRODUCTIVITY

Overview
iWeb 08 is a component of Apple iLife 08. iWeb is the easiest way to create and publish great-looking websites. As you work on it, you can see what each web page will look like. You don't need to know web authoring languages or have programming skills to create a great looking web site. iWeb comes with web site templates that have style and substance that can be modified, personalized and customized to create a professional-looking website in minutes and then publish you website to .Max in one button click. iWeb provides a sophisticated web development toolset for the casual web developer and makes it easy to update and manage your website. Because iWeb is integrated with iLife, it is easy to showcase your photos or art, create a blog or podcast, and add special features like videos, maps, and ads to your website. It includes all of the tools to create a web presence, including themes, adding text, photos, hyperlinks, blogs, anything you want to include to make a web page/site.

Requirements

  • Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 processor; iMovie requires a Mac with an Intel processor, a Power Mac G5 (dual 2.0GHz or faster), or an iMac G5 (1.9GHz or faster; iDVD requires a 733MHz or faster processor.
  • 512MB of RAM; 1GB recommended
  • Mac OS X v10.4.9 or later
  • 3GB of available disk space
  • DVD drive for installation
  • QuickTime 7.2 or later
  • Extras:
    • High-definition video requires at least 1GB of RAM.
    • Burning DVDs requires an Apple SuperDrive or compatible third-party DVD burner.
    • iPhoto print services are available in the U.S., Canada, Japan, and select European and Asia-Pacific countries. Internet access required; fees and terms apply.
    • iWeb requires Internet and web server access (.Mac recommended).


Price
Packaged as part of iLife '08, $79 from Apple Store.

Installation
The installation is the standard Apple installation which installs all of iLife 08 and took about ten minutes. No configuration is required, and the DVD does not have to be in the drive while using the software application.

In Use
The application launch window appears as below:


iWeb Launch - Choosing a Template


The left side of the window lists the optional themes and the right pane shows the sample pages for the theme. The main iWeb tools are shown on the bottom, but are not active until the theme is selected. Navigation is easy as all of the buttons on the bottom are available during the development of the web site.

Once a theme is selected, then you can select which one of the pages you want to use. Normally, the Welcome page would be customized first and then additional pages added with text, photos, hyperlinks, maps, as you develop the site. iWeb provides the standard links to navigate to (interconnect) all of the pages of the web site on each page of the web site. If you prefer a simple web page or site, you can select the blank page to start.

The interface is simple to use. iWeb provides tutorials, easy to use interfaces, and a variety of options for building awesome web pages. The tutorials walk the user through the phases of web design and development and provide choices and informed decision making throughout the process. I highly recommend the tutorials, so that you are familiar with all of the features prior to using the application. There are some innovations in web development that I would have missed had I not started with the tutorials, for example, how to include the Google maps and photo albums.

For this review, I selected the Modern Frame template to develop a web page with photos.


The Modern Frame Template

Using the simple iWeb interface, I proceeded to personalize the page with my pictures and text.


My Photos Website


The above screenshot shows how each object can be selected. Once select, all of the standard resizing, coloring, and moves make customization very easy.

iWeb supports a number of different themes. For example, you can create a web page of photos, a multiple page website, a blog, and even incorporate a
Google map. If you have a photo, album or video captured in iPhoto you can select a photo in the theme pages to replace or insert a new photo. You can resize, crop, and use special effects. The album will appear in the page as a slide show.

Some themes have multiple pages, or you can customize the web site on your own. All of the themes can be added to, deleted from or rearranged to suit the design you choose. Tutorials step the user through all of the tools and submenus to familiarize the user with the options available. Tutorials also step the user through creating a blog and provide instruction on effective design for blogs. The tutorials also show you how to add a Google map to your web site.

iWeb is simple to use and for my usage, I was very pleased with the final results. I've used a lot of software for web development, including a previous version of iWeb, and find the new iWeb to be the easiest to use for creating professional looking web pages. iWeb provides all of the ingredients to design an appealing web site with a minimum of effort. The Apple interface is easy to learn and use, and the tutorials are excellent. For someone with a desire to produce a good web site with little web design experience and skill can use iWeb to accomplish that in an hour.

The iWeb interface is great. I could add / modify / resize / include / exclude easily, so I could try different looks without consuming a lot of time. I really enjoy the Inspector and the ease of finding all of the tools that are standard with the Apple interface. I felt like I had a professional web designer guiding me through the development, but not forcing me to find something I needed or going too fast or too slow. It was what I have come to expect from Apple tools, but was missing from previous versions of iWeb.

The only issue I encountered was that it was difficult to know when I was finished and ready to publish, a designer's issue. I found no issues with the software itself.

Documentation
iWeb provides tutorials that walk the user through the phases of web design and development, and provide choices and informed decision making throughout the process. I felt the tutorials were sufficient for any problems that were encountered. Apple provides additional support for the iLife product on their
web site.

Summary
iWeb is a web design and development tool, providing professional quality web pages/site with a wide selection of options for developing web pages. iWeb includes all of the necessary tools to create a web presence, including themes, text manipulation, photos, hyperlinks, blogs, anything you want to include to make a web page/site. The professional quality themes are designed with multiple page sites that can be easily customized with the users personal information. The web site can be published using this software. It is simple to use so that any casual computer user could design and publish a personal web page or web site of highest quality in a short time and with no web design experience.   


Pros

  • Professional looking web sites in a very short time
  • Standard Apple interface with the appropriate tools for web design and development
  • Tutorials that walk through web design and the toolset
  • Several awesome themes packaged with the application
  • Page options include movies, blogs, pictures, albums, podcasts

Cons

  • I encountered none


Overall Rating

5 out of 5 Mice