The folks at Mac360 like Mac tools that are elegant, efficient, classy, and valuable.
RapidWeaver, to bring you up to speed, it a point and click web site construction kit. You don’t need to know anything about Web 2.0, AJAX, XHTML, or CSS to build attractive, functional web sites.
It helps if you have some taste and understand web site layout techniques, but even those are requirements you can forego by using the right tools.
First, give RapidWeaver 3.6 a try. The download is free and you can use the tool for 30 days with no charge.
What do you get? All the point and click tools to let you build a web site with any kind of content—blog, photos, movies, whatever—and a dozen or so themes. Themes? Yes. You have to start somewhere, and RapidWeaver starts with themes. Think of them as templates, styles for a site that includes color scheme.
RapidWeaver is sophisticated enough that you can build a fully unique web site from the ground up—or, you can choose a theme and modify it to fit your own tastes and requirements.
Is there a drawback to using pre-built themes. Yes. For the most part, RapidWeaver themes, as it is with most pre-built templates and themes, tend to have the same boxy look.
Header on top. Content in the middle. Navigation to the left or right. Extra column opposite navigation. Breadcrumbs and footer.
Change colors and add a logo, but themes tend to make all pre-built web sites look about the same. Until now.
I’m a long time Mac user and a collector of anything that makes my job easier on the Mac, hence the attention to what’s free. However, value is important to me, so when it comes to RapidWeaver themes, I look for what works better than the ordinary.
Enter the themes from Rapid-Ideas, the home of Christoph Richardet. Check out his pre-built RapidWeaver themes. Compared to most themes I’ve seen, those at Rapid-Ideas are stunning examples of technical art.
RapidWeaver 3.6 has a unique method for modifying themes—colors, styles, element locations, etc.—by using a careful blend of XHTML and CSS elements. Rapid-Idea’s themes “get it” and make child’s play of complex and well-designed sites.
For example, the theme Blendit looks like no other point and click web site you’ve ever seen, yet is merely one of many variations which completely change the look and feel of the theme.
Need an artistically designed site that’s only minutes away yet has nearly infinite color and design possibilities? Check out Camillo. Serious, sites like that can be produced in minutes in RapidWeaver with the right theme.
One of my favorites is the new Roman theme which is artfully showcased in a variety of styles, color combinations, header effects, navigation tools, and all the things you expect of a modern Web 2.0 web site—except for the thousands of dollars required to create such a site.
Bambi and I are big fans of elegant, classy tools on the Mac. That’s one reason we use a Mac. To RapidWeaver, add a few themes from Rapid-Ideas, and then a few of the tools from Your Head, and you’ve made yourself a Web 2.0 guru, sitting atop the world of point and click heaven.
There was a time when standardized, pre-built themes and templates were scornfully inappropriate in the web site building business. Those days are gone.
Themes do have limits and are not for those web site developers who demand specific designs and site components. This is a case where you don’t get what you pay for, as custom designed sites can cost many thousands of dollars, yet a fully equipped RapidWeaver site with Web 2.0 elements from Your Head and creative use of themes from Rapid-Ideas can produce a similar quality site for less than $100—minus the point and click time.