We’ve been using Karelia’s Sandvox in beta for a few months. If you do web sites, prepare to be stunned. If you want to do web sites, but found it difficult, prepare to be stunned.
Sandvox may be the easiest, most attractive, web site development tool you’ve ever seen. Ever. That’s high praise coming from folks who always manage to do things the hard way.
No more. Karelia Software’s Sandvox will excite you and inspire you. I’ve never seen anything like it, Mac or Windows.
Sandvox combines power and fun in a highly competent, attractive web site tool. We had the opportunity to look at various beta versions last year but promised not to say anything until the public launch.
Now you can have as much fun as we had. Sandvox takes a little getting used to because you don’t have to know HTML, XHTML, CSS or anything about web site design and style.
Karelia’s little gem is point and click, drag and drop instant gratification. There’s no preview mode. What you see is exactly what you get.
All the tools reside in the tool bar or in the left column. Select a design from the template bar across the top. The page is created instantly.
Then, add new pages based on need; photos, text, links, movies, etc. Then, drag and drop the pieces into each page and position the way you want.
It’s hard to imagine why this type of web site design wasn’t created years ago, but it’s ultra simple. At least, it’s ultra simple on the surface. The work behind the scenes to make it happen took some effort.
You might remember the name Karelia Software. They’re the same folks who brought you Watson a few years ago, so they know something about cool Mac software.
Sandvox is cool. Very cool.
Page after page on a web site becomes nothing more than elements or containers that you point and click to, or drag and drop into a design. No preview. Add text. Add links. Add photos.
You can select a template, build you site with the “pieces” you need. Then, change the whole look and feel simply by clicking on a different template.
The whole site changes to match the new template. How easy is that?
You can also bring in content from other applications, such as photos from iPhoto, RSS feeds from NetNewsWire, content from Microsoft Word. Sounds easy, huh? It is.
So far, I’ve not seen an easier application to build very attractive web site designs. If you’re not into web sites, you could use Sandvox simply for presentations. It’s that easy.
There are a few dozen templates to start and the designs and superb. These are not hacks, they’re excellent designs, but you get to modify the look and feel by adding your content choices to the pages and moving them around.
Want to do a weblog? Easy. That’s one of the styles. Point and click. Start writing. Upload to your web site. Sandvox is so smart it also creates an RSS feed link so others can see when your site has been updated.
Inside each Sandvox template is the ability to drop in a “pagelet.” Think of it as a container which holds content. A movie. A photo. Scrolling text content. List of links. Plain old text you pulled in from Word. IFrame. Or combinations of the above.
Drag and drop the “pagelets” into a page and move around until you’re happy. Not much of a designer? Who cares? You can’t really make an ugly web page with Sandvox.
It’s just as easy to create a good looking photo album. All your photos show up where you want. Add titles, captions, and Sandvox creates a thumbnail. Click on the thumbnail, and a full size photo pops up.
Sandvox is so cutting edge that they’ve integrated the ability to create your own Podcast; video or audio. Use your Mac to record an MP3 and add it to a special page for your personal Podcast.
I’ve been doing Macs applications since the original MacPaint and I’ve not seen anything quite like this. Sandvox makes remarkably attractive web pages without doing much more than click, drag, and drop.
If you’re a pro user, check it out anyway. Why? You can customize a template with your own HTML, XHTML, or CSS, and even add custom PHP elements that really set your site apart.
Uploading a site to an ISP has never been easier. Well, let me take that back. I once had my server sitting under my desk. That was easier. For everyone else, Sandvox makes the whole process seamless.
I’ve read that Apple may update .Mac and iLife with a web page application. Maybe. I cannot imagine that even Apple can make a web page, web site design tool better than Sandvox.
We’ve been using it for a few months. It’s still in beta, but gets better with each version. Click Here for the Sandvox site, enter your email, and get a version to try on your Mac.
We got our first version back in November and found it to be a remarkable web site design tool.
Prepare to be impressed. There’s nothing quite like this. Sandvox sets a whole new standard.
Jack D. Miller
You gotta love a little competition. Tera’s always like Rapidweaver. Sandvox is another level.