Realmac RapidWeaver 3.6

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Realmac RapidWeaver 3.6

RapidWeaver's great variety of themes makes it easy to build a good-looking website.


When it comes to Web design, many Mac users turn to a simplistic application, such as iWeb, over the heavyweight Adobe Dreamweaver. But another choice falls in between those two apps: RapidWeaver. Version 3.6 is the first paid upgrade since the software debuted three years ago. Naturally, the question is whether it packs enough new features to warrant the upgrade price.


RapidWeaver comes with a range of page types, from the versatile Styled Text, which allows you to enter and style text as you would in a word processor, to pages dedicated to photo albums, movies, or even raw HTML. Once you’ve chosen your pages, you add your content in the Edit tab and then click to the Preview tab to see how your site will look. A pop-up browser allows you to pick from a wide range of visual themes. Once you’re happy with your choices, hit Publish and RapidWeaver uploads your site to .Mac or any FTP server.


Sound easy? It is. RapidWeaver takes care of the troublesome technical details, picking the right character sets so that nonstandard characters render properly across platforms, generating an RSS feed for your blog, and the like. But just because it automates some actions doesn’t mean RapidWeaver is limited. If you know the syntax of CSS, you can create your own themes (or tinker with existing ones) and it happily renders any snippets of HTML—for advertising or visitor-tracking—that you throw at it.


The most exciting new feature version 3.5 users should know about is Theme Styles. Here you can edit the colors of text, links, backgrounds, and more directly from a palette, without having to mess with hex colors in the stylesheet—as long as the third-party themes developer has built in a provision for the functionality into the theme. Better yet, the theme developer can define color relationships; changing one color will knock out the others.


Next up is Snippets, another great idea. Snippets is a way to provide a scrapbook in which you can store snippets of text ostensibly for code. If you save, for example, <a href=“”>Mac|Life</a> in your Snippets collection, you can drag and drop the code into your page whenever you need it. Snippets is a great time-saver, and spares you the monotony of typing out code again and again.


The new Flash slideshow offers transitions and the Ken Burns effect, and background audio works brilliantly with pictures from iPhoto. You can also pull photos from Flickr via an RSS feed. Publishing has been beefed up with a detailed progress output, blog posts can be assigned to multiple tags and categories, and the long-overdue ability to create bulleted or numbered lists has been added.


The bottom line. Ultimately, RapidWeaver still does what it has always done very well indeed. If you’re a new user, don’t hesitate to try it out. If you have version 3.5, upgrade now.



COMPANY: Realmac Software
PRICE: $49, $25 upgrade

REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.4.3 or later
Easy to use. Very flexible. Superb Theme Styles. Great price. Univesal binary.
Heavy-duty websites may be better suited for Dreamweaver.





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