Building a web site used to be a pain. Who could remember all those HTML codes? CSS? Another pain.
Enter the world of point and click web sites. RapidWeaver, SandVox, iWeb. Is there a winner?
Actually, the real winner is anyone who needs a simple web site, doesn’t want to code anything, and loves point and click.
For the ease-of-use crowd, all three Mac applications will build a web site of sophistication within hours. Photos, Blog, Movies, Pages. Point. Click. Done.
More remarkable is the price tag for such graphic and navigational web site sohpistication. Rapidweaver is $40, Sandvox standard is $50, Apple’s iWeb comes as part of each new Mac, and in iLife ‘06 for $79.
Never has such ease-of-use, point-and-click affordability been available for creating complex web sites on your Mac.
All three are similar in that the end result web site is attractive, graphic, looks like a sophisticated web site, and hides the underlying complexity of building an attractive site.
In the end, the Mac360 crew has a favorite, and it’s RapidWeaver, followed closely by Sandvox, with iWeb a good way to start but lacking in many areas.
What’s wrong with iWeb? To be fair, not much, though that will depend on your needs, your level of sophistication, your .Mac account, or lack of, how much you want to spend to create a web site, and your tolerance for a learning curve.
iWeb is considered by most to be the easiest of the three to create a web site.
Select a template from Apple’s stunning collection, select a page type, drag and drop photos, movies, etc. Write some text. Click to publish.
What could be easier? That’s pretty much the curve with iWeb. Apple hides all the complex code so all you do is point and click. The end result is a beautiful site.
Apple also assumes that the iWeb user doesn’t want to learn more, won’t have more sophisticated or complex needs, and will remain comfortable with an initial site production.
Those assumptions are overcome by RapidWeaver and Sandvox, both of which provide more tools, more options, more organizational capability, though the end result is roughly the same—a very attractive web site with mostly point and click action on your part.
Not all web sites are created equal, and neither are Rapidweaver, Sandvox, or iWeb.
The latter has typically attractive templates (themes) from which to choose, but the number of selections is thin. That goes for Sandvox, too, as the templates (themes) tend to look like variations on a theme.
That same complaint can be raised about RapidWeaver, but this is the more mature application of the three and features many built in templates (themes), as well as a cottage industry of template makers.
Variety is the spice of life, so iWeb loses again with a limited variety of themes and tools for modifying the content of each web page. Both Sandvox and RapidWeaver excel with additional built in tools to add, place, and modify content on each page.
Just as the iPod commands the market by cultivating a cottage industry of accessories makers, RapidWeaver has add on utilities which make it the more capable web site builder of the three.
For example, dozens of quality templates (themes) are available for RapidWeaver vs. a few for iWeb, a few more for Sandvox. The same goes for utilities which enhance functionality of RapidWeaver.
One RapidWeaver utility publisher has tools which let you drag and drop objects anywhere on certain pages. Another tool extends the photo album functions. Yet another provides multiple columns.
None of that sophistication is available in Sandvox or iWeb. That cottage industry of cool tools is important to the point and click crowd. Why? Because we continue to learn, grow, require more features.
If you’ve never done a web site and want to, iWeb is fine. So is Sandvox; though it’s more complex it also does more. RapidWeaver is the most sophisticated point-and-click web site building environment of the three.
Do you want to build a web site? Do you build sites? If so, what’s your tool of choice? Share your experience and perspective in the Comments section below.