Monday, July 03, 2006

iWeb: The good, the bad, the ugly

I've been experimenting with iWeb. I publish to a local folder then upload to server. I'll update this. I am using it only for small projects because of 'the ugly'. I don't know of good alternatives on OS X, or for that matter, for XP either [1]. Sandvox is the obvious alternative, but the lack of documentation suggests that its future is very limited. [2]

The good
  • iLife integration is pretty darned impressive, particularly iPhoto integration.
  • Suppose you want to link to a local file. Click create link, then choose the file. iLife copies the file to its store and creates a local reference. Elegant.
The bad
  • Fixed width pages.
  • Does it ever empty out its database store? I opened the package and found lots of unreferenced stuff from deleted pages. Maybe there's a garbage collection? This could get ugly.
  • No importing of existing web pages.
The ugly
  • You can't switch templates. The template you start with is the template you live with. (And this is a database driven application?!)
  • Template customization is insanely hard.
  • Your work is stored in a proprietary data structure. You can't migrate your work easily to other environments.
[1] Things were much better in the mid 90s. The consumer web publication niche has since been supplanted by professional products, blogs, Ajax web-apps and minimalist tools like iWeb.

[2] Documentation is to software as facial symmetry is to humans. It's costly to do and has no obvious immediate survival advantages -- so it's a marker for an optimal genome that can afford to "splurge" on hard to do things. Hence the value in mate selection, or so the evolutionary biologists claim. The pathetic state of Sandvox documentation tells me that, no matter how good it may be, it lacks the capital to compete and survive.

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