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Apple iWeb 06

Create and publish your personal website with Apple?s new web design program By David James Rockingham III

iWeb 06 is the newest addition to Apple Computers popular iLife consumer software suite. Along with iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, iTunes and Garageband, iWeb 06 was designed to provide consumers with the ability to build and publish a website with just a few clicks of the mouse.

My main concern about the product was if I had to sign up for a .mac subscription for iWeb to work properly. I had some web space available with my internet service provider so I used that to test my iWeb pages. Here is what I discovered about Apple Computers iWeb 06 application.

Point and Click Web Design
Apples iWeb 06 software was designed to provide individuals with the opportunity to build and publish a personal website with just a few clicks of the mouse. The program sports the typical brushed metal interface that you find in all Apple software products. When you launch the program, you are given the opportunity to choose the type of website you want to build such as an about me page, a personal blog, image gallery and more. Apples pre-built templates are designed with different themes in mind to suit most occasions.

Once you have selected a template, the program will generate a website folder for you in your Documents directory. Here is where all of your files will be stored. Once you have your chosen template opened, changing the elements within is as easy as dragging and dropping your files onto the template. All of the sample elements on the template are interchangeable. For example, if you dont like the template but dont like the fonts used, you can just click on that text until it becomes highlighted and select a different font type. You can place your text and images almost anywhere on the template. Similar to other iLife programs, iWebs user interface is very simple yet elegant.

Apple iLife 06Now once you have input your media and have made your text changes, you have two options for publishing your website. If you are a .mac subscriber, you can simply click on the publish button in the lower left part of the iWeb interface. The program will then prompt you to enter your .mac account information and then continue with the publishing process. If you dont have a .mac account, you can still utilize iWeb to build your website though. You can choose the option to publish to a folder. This will export all files, scripts and images to their appropriate locations. From there, you can use any FTP (file transfer protocol) application such as Fetch to upload the files to your web server. You must upload the files exactly as iWeb has exported them or you will encounter errors in displaying the site.

There are some really nice features in iWeb such as the one click publishing for .mac subscribers, RSS feeds and the autoarchiving of old website content. I understand that the product is geared towards .mac subscribers only, but it still wouldve been nice to have some form of file transferring (FTP) capabilities as an option.


The Final Word
Now I was curious in trying iWeb 06 because I wanted to find out if this software was only compatible through Apples .mac storage solution. While iWeb 06 does generate all of the files necessary and .mac users will appreciate the one click publishing capability, there is no option to set up a FTP connection to your web server. If you dont have a .mac account, you will have to publish your site to a local folder then upload all of those files to your web server manually.

Apple iWeb 06

Even though this manual process takes a little more effort, the displayed results will appear the same way. Surprisingly, the website I designed using Apples About Me template displayed beautifully on my Mac and Windows computers using various web browsers. On the Mac, I used Safari 2.0, Mozilla Firefox 1.5, recent build of Camino and Opera. In Windows, I tested my site using Internet Explorer 6, Mozilla Firefox 1.5 and Opera 8.51. I also tested the sites appearance in the latest Mac and Windows versions of America Onlines internal web browser. To my surprise, my iWeb presentation appeared fine in all browsers and on both platforms.

The programs interface is sleek and very easy to understand. You can build a basic website within minutes and importing content such as images and video clips is aseasy as dragging and dropping it to its assigned areas on the webpage. The image editing features only require you to select the image on the page. Once selected, you can modify the images appearance with iWebs image controls. Change the brightness, contrast, color and more can all be done through the programs interface.

While inputting text areas onto your webpage, be mindful of the number of textboxes and the locations of each one of them because you dont want to leave any of them blank on the page. Even though you may not see them, you will notice a bunch of question marks on your webpage where those empty text boxes are located.

Apple iWeb 06Although Apples file naming structure works for a basic website, I would like to see them change iWebs default file naming to something more web friendly. For example, I created an About Me page using their template. When I saved my webpage and all of the corresponding files to my local folder, the main page was named ?About Me.html. Now this doesnt seem like much of problem now but if a visitor tries to reach your webpage and types in ?aboutme.html, they will just receive a page not found error message. While this is not a major problem, it would be one less problem that visitors to iWeb sites could avoid.

Overall, I found Apples iWeb application to be very intuitive while providing some of the most popular website features. Although iWeb is only available by purchasing the iLife 06 software suite, it is an excellent addition to the package and should help build that personal or family website that youve always wanted. Subscribers to the .mac service should take advantage of this software to spruce up that web space. Even if you know absolutely nothing about web design and had no interest learning HTML, Apple has taken all of the guesswork out of the process and provides a true point and click web design program.

You can click HERE to purchase Apple Computers iLife 06 software suite.


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David James Rockingham III is a former radio disc jockey and network administrator. An avid gamer and technology guru who enjoys rock music, sunsets, Star Wars video games, Visual Pinball, classic hot rods and superhero movies (except The Hulk). You can find David James answering questions on DMN Forums (http://www.dmnforums.com). His articles appear on Consumer Electronics Net (http://www.consumerelectronicsnet.com) and Digital Media Net (http://www.digitalmedianet.com).
Related Keywords:iWeb 06, apple computer, apple web design program, .mac account holders, one click web design

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