You gotta love point and click. But point and click web sites? Apple made it easy with iWeb.
Rapidweaver makes it easier to build more capable web sites with more options, and standards compliant, too.
I’m convinced that there is no better tool for the web site builder who doesn’t want to learn HTML, CSS, and prefers to rely on point and click, yet demands a quality, attractive, professional web site.
iLife’s iWeb is a good tool to create simple, colorful web sites. Real web sites require more, demand more features, and conform to web standards for XHTML and CSS. Rapidweaver does, iWeb doesn’t.
To be fair, iWeb’s price tag is hard to beat. So is the drag and drop method for creating attractive web sites. Apple’s templates, while colorful and attractive, are not exactly standards compliant.
On the other hand, RealMacSoftware’s Rapidweaver is a mature tool for building web sites—so easy that beginners can get the hang of it, so precise that even professionals use it to create sites for business.
On the surface, there are similarities between iWeb and Rapidweaver. Both are mostly point and click, drag and drop. Both use templates—pre-designed themes of style and layout—to produce excellent results.
Daily blogs are a snap in Rapidweaver, including the all important RSS feed, done and upated automatically with each entry.
The photo gallery has the ability to produce Flash slideshows directly from your iPhoto albums.
Columns can be moved left and right, headers can be changed with a single click, and other content can be added within seconds. All point and click. No coding needed—unless you want it.
Rapidweaver comes with over 30 well-designed themes to get started. Some are elegant, others professional, a few gaudy, still others are simple attractive.
Even better, Rapidweaver has a large community of theme designers who provide additional themes in varying styles, colors, layouts. Other Mac developers have plugins which add columns, produce accordion text, or create drop-in blocks to add content anywhere on a page.
Rapidweaver also allows simple point and click publishing. Upload your finished site to .Mac, or FTP or SFTP to a web host, or simply save to your Mac, burn to a CD, and hand deliver your web site presentation, complete with photos and movies.
It’s tough to compete against free, and that’s what you get with iLife’s iWeb. Beyond free is a Rapidweaver world of more themes and templates and tools which create web sites faster and fully compliant to XHTML and CSS standards.
Most Rapidweaver themes validate as XHTML strict, which means the site will look great now, and look just as good for years to come.
Even if you don’t have iWeb, you can try Rapidweaver with the free download and 30 day trial. The newbie and casual web site builder will find ease of use to be excellent. The professional designer will love the ability to tweak Rapidweaver’s many themes to create a truly customized work of art.
It’s good, but what’s missing? Samples, examples, and more themes. Point and click is about exploring, so give yourself enough time to explore the feature set and produce your own web site.
Do you create sites? What’s your tool of choice? Share your experience with other readers in the Comments section below.