Posted by Greg Mills
Back a few years ago, I invested in Dreamweaver and bought a manual the size of the New York City yellow pages required to understand how to do things with it. I built a few web sites with that cumbersome software, but it seemed like a Windows sort of program that had been ported to the Mac as an afterthought. It really didn’t have the drag and drop Mac sort of interface and the learning curve was of galactic proportions. The notion of having to take a 3 credit hour college course to learn a software program is so Microsoftish.
I was thrilled with Apple’s iWeb when it came out a few years ago. Suddenly, building and maintaining web sites was a whole lot easier. I have build and launched about a dozen web sites using iWeb since the program was launched. I always updated it when a new build was issued by Apple. Further meaningful updates of iWeb may not be on the horizon.
I have had my share of problems with iWeb, with strange things happening now and again. Basically, for a simple web site without a lot of bells and whistles, iWeb just worked fine. Then, Apple announced that the .Mac or MobileMe iDisk hosting program was going away with the launch of iCloud and that iWeb wouldn’t support hosting on the Apple servers anymore.
The iWeb program is also able to publish web sites to a file or manage hosting on any web server in addition to the .Mac servers. I have used GoDaddy on all my sites so far and while the advertising and constant attempts to up-sell you gets old, the hosting works pretty well. I use my .Mac account to build the site and get it up and running and then launch to the GoDaddy servers once my customer is satisfied.
Graduating to a more robust Web builder program is certainly interesting as a number of features that are common on cool modern web sites are not happening in iWeb. How much support for iWeb independent of the soon to be discontinued iDisk hosting aspect Apple will provide is unknown. The most recent update to iWeb was most likely to allow it to work with Lion.
I loaded a number of Web builder programs onto my MacBook a month ago and played with them. One of the more promising is Sandvox. See: http://www.karelia.com/sandvox/ I loaded the program as free trial-ware program and began to play with it. I contacted the company and got some more information from the folks at Karelia.com, the company behind Sandvox.
There is a learning curve with transitions from one program to another and going from iWeb to Sandvox has a few bumps. The folks at Karelia are keen to offer a more modern and fairly compatible web builder to folks like me that are ready to graduate to more robust web sites.
Drop-down menus and number of other features iWeb doesn’t offer are often asked for by customers of web designers. I also had a request to have a form on an Alumni page for a school web site where people could enter information and mash a button to send information to an email account. That is something iWeb can’t do that can be done with Sandvox.
There is a transition guide for iWeb graduates found at http://www.karelia.com/sandvox/help/z/Transitioning_from_iWeb.html Sandvox is free to download and tryout. If you decide to purchase it you have to pony up $77 for a one user license. Try it out and see if it meets your needs.