If, unlike our esteemed editor, you don’t fancy coding an entire Web site in HTML, your choices are to spend hundreds of pounds on Dreamweaver or FrontPage, or to look at WebPlus. Serif has long championed quality, budget software and has never regarded asking price as a restriction on the feature sets of its products.
WebPlus 10 is a very competent Web design tool. You can take one of its pre-designed sites and customise it, create a site from its many automated tools and functions or design one from scratch, in a mixture of DTP-style design and HTML coding. With the new extras, the DTP route looks increasingly attractive.
As well as being able to add and edit lines, frames, text, tables and forms in their WebPlus and HTML guises, WebPlus 10 provides features such as the navigation bar tool. This little goody takes the names you want for the pages on your site and creates a horizontal or vertical menu bar with them, locking in all the hyperlinks behind. As you add extra pages, the navigation bar updates automatically with new buttons.
You can now sell things through sites created with WebPlus, using shopping carts from Roman Cart, Mal’s and the best known PayPal services. Though you’ll be charged a commission – PayPal charges around 2.5 percent plus 30 cents, for example – it takes the hassle out of transactions and provides an income stream.
WebPlus 10 also provides new facilities for bloggers, including a template for a blogging site and a blogging Smart Object. Smart Objects are items like hit counters and message pads, which Serif maintains for you on its servers, to enhance the experience of visitors to your site. You just drag them onto your pages and use them.
The Blogging Smart Object maintains the date of each Blog entry and offers facilities for visitors to comment on what you’ve written. It also keeps track of the number of comments. There’s a separate ‘shout box’ Smart Object, which enables simple chat live on your site, and a poll facility, which enables you to take spot surveys among your readers on subjects of your choice.
Serif has improved facilities for HTML coders, too, as you can now insert complete HTML pages into your site as well as the snippets of code possible before. You can’t directly edit the code behind the pages you create in the design view, though, so there’s still some reluctance to give you a completely free hand. Which is probably wise.
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