create. share. enjoy. (Part 2)

create. share. enjoy. (Part 2)

HTML Snippets let you place objects on your site pages that are actually served by other sites.

 

iWEB '08 - WEBSITE IN A BOX

We need to take a little reality check before getting into an evaluation of iWeb ’08, the second version of Apple’s WYSIWYG-only website design and management tool. It’s not intended for code jockeys, freelance Web developers, porn-site moguls, or anyone else who makes their bacon making websites. Like the other iLife apps, iWeb is intended to be the quickest, easiest way to organize and share the artifacts of your digital life - with output that you’re proud to share.

 

That said, iWeb ’08 has some righteous new features, like HTML code snippets, Google Maps, and of course some exclusive perks for .Mac subscribers. For nonsubscribers, the old all-or-nothing publish-to-a-folder system is back, and the workaround for the lack of custom domain-name support is downright shameful (see “At Least Say My (Domain) Name...”).

 

New Web Widgets. iWeb ’08 looks pretty much the same as its predecessor, with most of the new magic hiding behind the Web Widgets icon in the toolbar that accesses HTML Snippets, Google AdSense Ads, Google Maps, and any Web Galleries you’ve published to your .Mac account. Adding an HTML snippet is a breeze: Select HTML Snippet from the Web Widget pop-up, and either type the code in the pop-up window or paste in code provided at sites like YouTube to embed others’ content into your iWeb page (please heed the iWeb manual, which notes that piping in too much content will slow down your page, MySpace style). The toughest part was selecting and copying the embed link from YouTube, which shows you how not-tough this is.

 

iWeb’s own movie-controlling mojo is a little better than before - you can now specify a movie to play automatically or loop, and hide the controller, but that’s it. If you’re crafty, you can use an HTML snippet to embed your own QuickTime movies with custom parameters, like <palindrome=true>, to make your movie loop forward and backward. Of the other Web Widgets, Google Maps are a hoot, and if you’re looking to make some beer money from your blog, iWeb will help you set up a Google AdSense account and drop in the tags.

 

iWeb ’08 also adds a little Web 2.0 juju to your photo pages: You can now allow visitors to append their comments with attachments of up to 5MB, but only if you publish to .Mac. We were initially jazzed about iWeb ’08’s preview display of iPhoto Web Galleries, but the supercool effect of “skimming” through the gallery images by rolling the cursor back and forth across the preview box only goes so far. We were disappointed that none of the Graphic or Metrics Inspector adjustments (Rotate, Resize, Stroke, Shadow, and so on) affects the preview.

 

All of iWeb ’08’s themes (like the cool new Comic Book) now include a Blank template to design as you see fit. On the other end of the DIY spectrum, you can also switch themes on command to change your site from stuffy to fluffy, for example. The only catch with swapping themes is that if you strayed much from the original theme’s design, the new theme probably won’t fit perfectly, and you’ll need to massage it into the template.

 

At Least Say My (Domain) Name... Apple’s claim that iWeb ’08 supports custom domain names is, frankly, a load of www.BS.com. In this case, “support” means that you can publish to www.yoursite.com only after you transfer stewardship of your domain to Apple, which mirrors your .Mac site to www.yoursite.com. And yes, a .Mac subscription is required.

 

When One Site Just Isn’t Enough. iWeb ’08 limits you to publish just one website to one server. But if you need to go over that limit, try Clarkwood Software’s Multisite for iWeb 2.0 ($19.95, www.clarkwood.com/multisite), which lets you create, manage, and publish more than iWeb ’08 site. You can also decide which of your multiple sites you want to publish at any given time, instead of publishing them all at once. And even if you’re not a .Mac subscriber, Multisite for iWeb’s selective publishing is worth your $20.

 

The Bottom Line. We probably don’t need to tell you that if you need professional-level Web tools, you should look elsewhere. However, if you want an easy way to put great-looking websites on your .Mac space, iWeb ’08 is push-button easy, both for designing and uploading. If you’re not willing to spend $99 a year to subscribe to .Mac, your pages will still look great, but using iWeb ’08 will become a lot less appealing.

 

COMPANY: Apple

CONTACT: www.apple.com

PRICE: $79 as part of iLife ’08; free with a new Mac

REQUIREMENTS: G4, G5, or Intel Mac; Mac OS 10.4.9 or later; 512MB RAM (1GB recommended); 3GB free disk space; Internet and Web server access

More cool .Mac integration, such as Web Gallery previews and user-upload-friendly photo albums. Blank page templates and swappable themes.

.Mac subscription required for the best stuff. Custom domain-name support is weak, even with .Mac.

 

 

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Or, you could just leave open the Info tab of the Document pane of the Inspector - nice

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Or, you could just leave open the Info tab of the Document pane of the Inspector.

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