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A guide to web building software

A guide to web building software - 

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Other Software

Building your own web site has become increasingly easier as the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) software programs have improved over the years.
Peter Bargh compares at a range of options.

A guide to web building softwareNVU

Nvu (pronounced N-view) is an easy to use open source product developed by the chief architect for Mozilla Composer. Open source means it's free to download and use. Originally built for Linux users, the program has been widened to the MAC and PC operating systems and is a serious competitor to programs such as FrontPage and Dreamweaver.

It's ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding.

Not quite as flash in some areas as Dreamweaver, but it's free so you can't complain!

Ease of use: 4/5
Features: 4/5
Value for money: 5/5

Serif WebPlus 9

  • Price: £59.99
  • Tel no: 0115 914-2000
  • Web address: www.serif.com
  • Platform: PC

WebPlus 9 comes with a wide selection of pre-designed and editable templates called themed Web Styles that you can change with one click. You can drag & drop text and photos into place for speedy page designs. It's really easy to use and requires no programming skills, but does have limits, which basically means you're stuck with static html pages with a few effects, such as mouse overs. Anything more complex needs to be done manually.

The program gives you a decent web development tool to create personal pages or a small business web site, but there are limitations.

Ease of use 5/5
Features 4/5
Value for money 5/5

A guide to web building software

VCom Web Easy Pro 5

Web Easy Pro 5 is very easy to use with optional pop-up tips to help you find your way around. There are a large number of built in step-by-step, interactive tutorials taking you through the process from basic to more advanced aspects of web design. You get plenty of templates to use and example websites to look at and copy or adapt, along with a collection of buttons, banners, clip art, video and sound clips and animations, to help you build a simple web site in a very short space of time.

There are even tools built in for e-commerce, ready for when you start to sell your photos online.

Ease of use 4/5
Features 3/5
Value for money 5/5

A guide to web building software

Macromedia Dreamweaver 8

Without doubt this is the Photoshop of the Web design world. If you want the best look no further, but, like Photoshop, don't expect to walk through this with ease. It's a far more complex program than most and does need a degree of knowledge to get you into serious web build...and serious it can be. Fortunately Macromedia provide some superb tutorials to get you going and their web site has a fountain of knowledge to gleam from. The web designer’s favourite has a cascading style sheet option, so all the page styles and fonts can be set up from the outset and applied throughout the site to give consistency and a professional look. You can also check cross-browser compatibility and fix any problems before you go live.

Photos can be cropped, resized and resampled without switching to Photoshop and you can paste in Word or Excel content with formatting intact, and connect to FTP with ease.

If you just want a simple web site and have no desire to become a web developer this may be too much, but for those who want to take complete control you won't buy better.

Ease of use 3/5
Features 5/5
Value for money 4/5

A guide to web building software

Microsoft FrontPage 2003

FrontPage was one of the first WYSIWYG programs for web design and the latest incarnation includes professional design, authoring, data and publishing tools that you can use to produce a sophisticated website with dynamic features.

The layout and graphics design tools will help you produce a good looking site. While built-in scripting and coding tools to ensure you write the code faster with greater accuracy.

Using dynamic web templates means you can updated the master template and changes will be made automatically to all linked pages.

Overall a competent program for beginners through to more advanced users, but not offering much more than the free NVU one, other than superb support on the Microsoft web site.

Ease of use 4/5
Features 4/5
Value for money 3/5

A guide to web building software
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