Simple Web Design on the Mac: A Comparison of I-Web and Rapidweaver

Below we’ll look at some of the standard software that is bundled with a new Mac to explore how these programs shape up in terms of their cost, friendliness, and efficiency.

I-Web is Apple’s latest addition to the I-Life suite and probably the least developed of the programs to date. I-Web is a simple and intuitive web page design program aimed at the beginner. As part of the suite, it costs about $79 which is pretty cheap considering the quality of the programs that make up the suite as a whole: I-Photo, I-DVD, I-Movie, Garageband, and of course I-Web. Rapidweaver, was the tool of choice for Mac users before I-Web was added to the suite. It is not unlike I-Web in that it offers similar templates, but includes a few extra features too and costs $39.95.

Limited templates

Certainly, both programs can produce rapidly and simply a range of different basic web sites without previous knowledge. The operative word here though is not simple or rapid, but basic. And this is where the two programs begin to show their differences. I-Web has a number of functions that make it so easy to use, but after a while the templates and options become limited. This is always the trade-off with such programs: simple one-click functionality inevitably means limited customization.

I-Web templates offer a small, but tasteful selection to get going with. Rapidweaver, on the other hand, provides uninspiring templates, but with more customization potential and plenty of 3rd party examples to use or to buy. All Rapidweaver templates can be edited from the standard theme edit within the program or via the HTML code or CSS option outside.

Image editing and size.

I-Web offers a wonderfully simple interface for adding graphics and text, with desktop publishing-like interface and drag and drop settings. But it falls down on not reducing image size (just a crop function) which makes for larger file sizes and therefore slower upload speeds. If site size is important for you then consider this: The same site designed in I-Web at 24mb, in Rapidweaver, totaled under 8mb.

Rapidweaver partially does this by allowing a re-size function but does not allow the range of page layout tools that I-Web offers unless you use a 3rd party add on like Blocks. Both programs work alongside the I-life suite and integrate well.

Perhaps more importantly for bloggers looking to include HTML links in their sites, I-Web does not allow for HTML editing, as it made up of Styled Text. This means the addition of Google Adsense or other adverts necessitates a 3rd party ad-on, specifically I-Web Enhancer.

HTML

Finally, I-Web rewrites the date each time it saves your site so that you will need to upload the whole site every time you make any changes, whether it is just a comma or a complete site redesign. Combined with the need to use the I-Web enhancer, this makes uploading changes a laborious affair, something that hopefully Apple will address with I-LIfe 07.

In the meantime, Rapidweaver uploads quickly allow for HTML coding, template changes, but perhaps lacks the panache of I-Web. In the long term I-Web could be a great new design, but in the short term, if you want to get your site up and edited the way you like it, all on the same day, then maybe Rapidweaver will have to be the choice of the moment.

Featured image credits

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