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forenoon filings

shiny, oh so shiny

early impressions of iweb


iLife '06 saw the introduction of a new web publishing package called iWeb - bringing the total number of bundled applications to six.

One of the most important things that Apple have noticed about the web publishing market, is that there are very few middle options - easy to use, powerful packages that allow a high quality site to be published. So what are the early impressions?


Positives
After taking this for a spin, this is really the strongest selling point of iWeb - you don't need to know HTML, or even have knowledge of the hows and whys of tags - yet the sites you can produce are incredibly slick looking. Importing your digital assets into your web page is simple as dragging and dropping. It will be interesting to see if future versions will add support for DHTML or Javascript.

If you have never created a web page before, then it is a near guarantee that after 20 minutes using this application, you will have your first web page online - such an achievement is one that must be commended.


Negatives
However, it must be said that for the more advanced coder, it feels that rather too many decisions have been made on your behalf. There is no way to hand edit your raw HTML code within iWeb - so adding extra stat monitoring tools proves impossible (if you were to rely on iWeb as your sole HTML editor).

If you do decide to amended some of the default page names, then when you come to publish, for some reason iWeb mangles the URLs to long alphanumeric strings "" for example - which defeats the object of having an easy to remember page name!

Image formatting also seems to be rather odd - try as I might, my welcome page photo has been rendered in TIFF format - even though the original iPhoto source is a JPEG! Not a good way to welcome dial-up users...


Looking Forward
Perhaps the aspect which upset most users, is how .Mac fits into this application. It has been noted that Apple are doing their best to leverage people into subscribing to .Mac - as all of their web publishing tools are heavily leveraged to this service. This is fine if you subscribe, but Apple need to be careful of forcing their own technical implementations on the wider web community (typical example is Safari's 'feed://' RSS URL notation).

A daring move would be work compatibility with other web publishing services into their software. As Apple is quite late to the self publishing ball, they have some ground to gain from such services as Flickr (highly unlikely now that it is owned by Yahoo!), Blogger (same reason, but owned by Google) and Six Apart.
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