Friday, January 13, 2006

iWeb - Hands on Review

I received my copy of iLife '06 today. I installed it after I got home. It took about 25 minutes to install, and required an additional 3gb or so of space. I had it upgrade my old iLife. I know some of have hesitated to do so, but I figure if you going in, go all in.

So, having played around with iMovie for a few, and iDVD, I thought I would try iWeb out. I didn't buy iLife for iWeb. Really had no plans on using it, especially after reading all the negativity from everyone. But I like to keep an open mind, and I judge things for myself. Good thing too! This software is great!

Now, I write software for a living, particularly web based software, so I have a good grasp on best practices, etc when it comes to developing for the web. I have also had to deal with my fair share of web-standards-compliance-pitfalls. I always try to develop in a manner that suits the majority of browsers out there, and that doesn't mean only IE. I usually do all of my testing in a non-IE browser, in particular Flock, or Firefox, as they seem to follow the standards more closely. Once it works there, I work on getting IE compliant.

But enough about that. I have been toying with iWeb now for an hour or so, just trying out the various layout functions. Every so often, I would take a peek at the generated source. And let me say, it ain't pretty! But I am not complaining. Why? Well, for one reason. This editor works. I don't need to view the source. See, that is where so many of the complaints seem to stem from. These folks think they need to look at the generated source. You don't. It works, and it renders properly. I don't have to sit and tweak until the layout is right. I just drag it around, and it works. I love it!

It's got this great feature for showing alignment markers so you can align items with other items on the page. You can rotate text. You can use any font you like. Any font! It generates images from them. Now, I am not a big fan of images for text, but I won't to clarify this. I don't like them because they are a maintenance nightmare. Normally, but not so with iWeb. While you are editing, it is just like text, but when you publish, you get images. Brilliant!

You can define opacity for images. You can add drop-shadows. You can change the angle of images, and text, and drop-shadows. You can add reflections to images. You can change the colors of everything, including shadows. You can adjust the z-index of everything. It's very simple point-n-click that works, and works the first time.

I could go on and on and continue to praise this software. It is really wonderful. If you haven't tried it, I suggest you do. This software will change the way you approach website design. In the not so distant future I am going to move this blog and begin maintaining it using iWeb. No, I am not getting a .Mac account. I don't need that. I have a domain, and I have web space, and now that I have a nice piece of software to manage my content, I am going to change.

Blogger has been great. But I think I want to move in a new direction for my blog, and iWeb is going to provide me a means to do so. When I make the switch, I hope that I can simply point this web address directly to it. I am pretty sure I can, but if not, I'll at least post an entry on where to find me. Until that time, I will continue to use Blogger.

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