MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2008 (#39)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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106 MacDirectory REVIEW | CREATIVITY If you are like most computer users, chances are you know virtually nothing about creating a Web page. If you are curious enough to download a demo version of the Web giant Adobe Dreamweaver, the power and complexity will probably terrify you. On the other hand, Apple's iWeb may be okay for blogging or an online photo album, but it doesn't really have very much to offer. If you are a mom-and-pop business owner with limited skills, neither solution is acceptable. An excellent middle ground solution is found in Freeway Pro and Freeway Express from SoftPress. The first thing that stands out with Freeway is its ease of use. Freeway operates much like a standard layout application and has a friendly, accessible feel similar to Apple's Pages. To create a basic site just place things where you want them and then preview the site. Freeway automatically generates optimized code for you. You never have to worry about the code and you don't have to worry about the clutter of overworked code, as everything is regenerated whenever you preview or export the site. On the other hand, Freeway Pro provides full support for standards, including cascading style sheets –and you can create a full-blown CSS site. You can also jump into dynamic content via JavaScript or SSI. While Freeway is not an HTML editor per se, you can also insert HTML and edit it via the HTML Markup Box. An additional feature of Freeway is the ability to apply enhanced functionality via an actions palette that makes it easy to do such diverse things as add a photo frame, apply various compositing and photographic effects, insert an e-buy button, create a rollover, or even an iPhone map link. You can also apply functionality to multiple pages via folder actions. Actions can also be saved and shared, many of which are downloadable from the web as freeware and shareware. There are many other appealing features large and small, such as automatic masking of email addresses; optimization for iPhone and iPod Touch; support for RSS, Google Maps and AdSense; antialiased overlapping content, transparent compositing, text and object styles, Unicode support, automatic on-the- fly image slicing; and such features as master pages, e-commerce, and generation of standards-compliant HTML and XHTML. One thing that is lacking is its inability to import existing sites, but considering the benefits of Freeway's layout-oriented approach this is understandable. If there is any other issue worth mentioning, it would be the need for the user to pay attention to their mousing, as the combination of contextual palette content and double-clicking on objects can be a bit confusing to newbies. For $79, Freeway Express does not offer the bells and whistles of Freeway Pro but it does offer some support of CSS, various actions, and other subsets of Pro capability but the price is very affordable and the results are good enough for most personal sites and many small business sites. With a SRP of $249, Freeway Pro offers serious professional features at a reasonable price. This is about $150 less than the leading web authoring application, but for those who are not fire- breathing web monsters, Freeway Pro offers a lot of power and at a reduced learning curve. It should be stated that Softpress knows how to do things right. Along with the application CD, the oversize CD case accommodates a, 118 page, full-color, glossy, spiral bound manual with tutorial that makes it very easy to get up and running. Spend Saturday on the tutorial and you can easily get an enticing site of your own up and running in a day. As for support, the manual and online help are great, and the email support service is both responsive and hassle-free. While Freeway Pro holds its own in the easy-to-use category, it does have a lot to offer, which involves a learning curve and requires time spent with the manual and tutorials. In contrast, those who are new to website design, Freeway Express provides a great introduction and can produce some nice-looking sites. FREEWAY PRO AND FREEWAY EXPRESS > WEB AUTHORING FOR THE REST OF US, REALLY Product Freeway Pro and Freeway Express Made by SoftPress Price (Pro) $249, competitive upgrade $199, educational/senior $169; (Express) $79, upgrade $69, educational/senior $59 Pros Great balance of power and ease of use, great documentation Cons Can't import existing Web sites, single undo's Rating HHHH WORDS BY TREY YANCY

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