Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
With the looming demise of MobileMe, plenty of folks are casting about for Mac-friendly ways to host their website, and Karelia Software is positioning Sandvox 2 as the next step for “iWeb Graduates.” Professional web developers and designers might use it for rapid prototyping, but at $77, Sandvox doesn’t pretend to go up against the likes of Dreamweaver ($399, adobe.com).
Setting up a new site in Sandvox is about as simple as it gets. Select a design theme, and Sandvox creates the new site and drops you into the home page template, ready for editing. Zones for text and images are placed for you, so getting the content in is a matter of clicking into a box and typing. Images can be dragged and dropped, though unlike iWeb and Freeway ($69 and up, softpress.com), Sandvox does not allow layers or arbitrary object placement.
Sandvox 2 features lovely designs, and does the heavy coding necessary to build a clean, functional site.
One of the product’s strengths is the range of commonly used website features that can be added with a single click. Adding a Facebook “Like” button or a tweet counter is simply a matter of selecting it from the list. When you insert the RSS badge into your page, Sandvox creates the RSS feed automatically and invisibly—a nice convenience for users who want to offer RSS without having to manage it. You can also specify Google site verification, site map submission, and analytics per website, and Sandvox will automatically insert the appropriate code for each page in the site. Adding custom HTML code (say, for widgets that aren’t built into Sandvox) requires inserting a raw HTML object and pasting your code.
Sandvox can publish your website to a hosting provider using FTP, SFTP, or WebDAV. Locally hosted sites can be saved to the website documents folder in your user account or at the web server root. By default, Sandvox only uploads the files that have changed since the last time you published, but you can force it to post the entire site if you wish. Subfolders for images and page groups are automatically created as needed.
Occasionally, Sandvox didn’t work the way we wanted it to. The ability to see but not edit raw HTML is frustrating. Even the custom HTML we inserted through the design interface is untouchable in the HTML view. Given Sandvox’s target user base, we can see the wisdom in preventing manual code changes. But if they’re not going to let us edit the code, don’t tease us with it.
Minor annoyances notwithstanding, Sandvox is a joy to use. Macintosh design standards are well executed throughout the product. Indeed, Sandvox 1.2 was the runner-up for an Apple Design Award a few years ago. We found it to be stable and reliable even on an aging MacBook Pro.
Mac OS 10.5 or later
Easy to use. Wide range of utilities included.
Odd update behavior. No direct editing of HTML.