RapidWeaver 4 Review


There really are two kinds of web designers: the ninja coders and the unwashed masses like myself who actually loose IQ points just from looking at css code.  Strangely, I'm okay with that.  While I like tinkering with Applescript and Cocoa, I've got no interest in learning to code websites.  So, as I thought, I was left with one option, iWeb.  Don't get me wrong.  I really like iWeb.  It can take you from zero to fifty very quickly.  But what if I want to go faster than 50?  Enter RapidWeaver.

Booting up RapidWeaver I did my usual bit of zero preparation.  I didn't read any manuals or watch any tutorials.  I just went for it.  Once opened I quickly was able to open pages of various design types and templates at will.  You can make a blog or add static pages. You can quickly fill your site with pages and sub-menus to your heart's content.  Additionally I was able to drop in html snippets that I dowloaded from RapidWeaver's site.  This runs deeper though.  You can also add custom javascript, CSS and PHP to your RapidWeaver pages.
Once you are ready to publish, RapidWeaver 4 again rescues us neophytes.   You can publish directly from RapidWeaver to .Mac, FTP, SFTP or even your local drive.  You simply fill in your details and click the publish button.  It even does this cool bit of coverflow animation where it shows you each element being published.

A lot of people don't realize that different browsers have different standards.  Internet Explorer, for instance, does not read all the wizbang features in the most current versions of Safari or Firefox.  This fact drives web developers crazy in that they must code their sites so they may be read by all browsers.  RapidWeaver takes care of this problem for you, publishing your site to work exactly the same in every browser, even Internet Explorer.

RapidWeaver 4 ships with 40 templates and there are a great many more available for download and purchase.  The RapidWeaver web site is nicely organized with available themes, css, code snippets and other addons that allow you to improve your site.  Some of these require purchase.  Others are free.

Version 4 is uses several of the most recent OS X technologies and requires that you run Leopard.  The interface is pleasant and intuitive.  I spent very little time looking for options.  Everything I needed was where I would expect it to be.  I think the ideal customer for this product is anyone who feels constrained by iWeb but doesn't want to consume a 1,000 page CSS treatise to do it.  RapidWeaver is a chocolate coated iWeb, with sprinkles. 

A license for RapidWeaver 4 will cost $79.  You can learn more and purchase RapidWeaver at realmacsoftware.com.