Do you have a hobby and want to start a blog on a particular theme, in order to offer your friends a place where they can see your works or where they can simply get in touch with people sharing the same passion? Or you are so proud of your new born baby that you feel the need of sharing thousands of photos with your relatives?
How about designing a snap presentation for the latest version of your product? You don't have more than a couple of hours to do that but you know it will have a greater impact that any other form of conference call, especially on the colleagues that, for a reason or another, have to work from another location. Wouldn't it be great to have a tool to publish and edit your presentation anytime you want, so that it could be accessed from anyone who has a broadband connection?
Well, for all those problems, a website seems to be the perfect solution. But what if you have never designed something like this before and you don't have the time or you are not in the mood to learn how to do it from scratch right now? Then get yourself a smart application like RapidWeaver. It will teach you how to assemble your first application, in an easy and interactive way.
Forget about the tons of documentation your boss said you had to read before starting to build your own website. Just download RapidWeaver and you will find that there are plenty of templates to start with. You don't have to be a computer scientist to understand the code behind them. Simply choose a basic home page model and begin playing with it.
Mastery comes with practice!The Looks
When you open a new project, you can choose the following types of pages to add to your Website: Blog, Contact Form, File Sharing, HTML Code, iFrame, Movie Album, Offsite Page, Photo Album, QuickTime, Styled Text.
The main window of the application is divided by default into three areas: the sidebar on the left hand side, plus an editing area; the themes area on the right hand side.
In the sidebar, you can see and edit by double clicking the names of the pages you have already added to your Website.
The edit area will show you, in accordance with the option you have selected in the View menu, the latest element added to the website, the source code or a preview of the website in its actual form.
Above all these areas, there is a toolbar including three groups of three buttons each. The first group, placed on the top left corner of the window, provides you with the buttons that allow you to quickly modify and visualize the content of your website, namely the "Add," the "Edit" and the "Preview" buttons.
The second group offers you the possibility to open or hide three of the most frequently used working windows, displayed in the following sequence: "Themes," "Snippets" and "Media Inspector."
Finally, the third group allows you to quickly open the "Setup," the "Publish" and the "Page Info" pop ups, in order to let you easily complete the data related to the server you plan to upload your website.The Works
Let's say you want to build a new blog. Then, all you have to do is hit the "Add" button on the top left corner of the main page and select the "Blog" option. Next, you can give a title to your blog by choosing the "Save" option in the File menu.
By default, the pages in your blog will be added in the website tree, displayed on the left side of the main window, as "Untitled" pages, along with their associated icons. If you want to rename them, simply double-click on the titles.
To change the inner elements of the website, such as the title, slogan, footer, e-mail address or the web address, you will have to open the General tab of the Setup menu.
After you have added the rest of the elements to your page, you can come back to the Setup menu and customize the advanced options as, for instance, those related to the external links, to website security or to other services as Google Analytics.
Populating a webpage with content is relatively simple: if you want to add some text, simply type it in the top area of the right panel. The toolbar that separates this area from the Themes one provides you with buttons for changing the font, style, alignment, or the color of the text. It also includes a drop-down menu that offers you shortcuts for adding headlines, new paragraphs or subscripts.
Below the toolbar, there are plenty of themes to choose from. To see how a particular theme dresses up the content of your website, you have to highlight it with a click of the mouse and than hit the Preview button.
For the moment, the built-in themes are categorized as follows: thirty of them are for 3.5, seven for 3.6 and four for 4.0, as revealed by the vertical menu that opens when you click on the rectangular black button, next to the zoom icon, in the statusbar.
Adding a picture is even simpler than adding a text: you can drag-and-drop it from your Desktop or choose it from any folder on your disk. Any detail of the picture, including its size or colors can be modified if you highlight it and then open the Media Inspector window.
After you have added all the content you want, you might be curios to see how your website looks like online. For that, you have to enter the server name and the authentication data in the form that opens when you hit the "Publish" button.
The Publishing Settings two-tab sub-menu can also be opened from the main File menu. In the General tab, you can specify whether you want or not to clear the page flags when activities as exporting or publishing are being performed.
Furthermore, if you want to see or edit the source code of the elements added in your blog, you can choose the Show Source option in the View menu.The Good
You don't have to be an HTML guru to be able to build your own website. In fact, you don't have to know anything about HTML and webscripts to assemble a pretty functional and user-friendly website from your very first try. All you have to do is fill in some data into the standard forms and provide a valid server location. RapidWeaver knows how to transpose your requests into HTML code and it will return a compact, well built and easy-to-access or edit webpage as a result.The Bad
You can only have three pages per Website in the unregistered version. If the beginner's enthusiasm overwhelms you and determines you to quickly click on as many options as you encounter just for the sake of the experiment, you will probably be disappointed of the constraints. If you don't choose wisely the first three pages, you will be limited to a number of very few features and you will not get the taste of building your own website from scratch.
RapidWeaver is as easy to use as a WYSIWYG application can be. It is intuitive and helpful, as it provides you with over forty template themes. Besides, it leaves you room for expressing your own creativity and for testing the results as many times as you want. Moreover, if you don't understand how you should use an option, you can always go to the application online page, where you will find a quick video tour and a short tutorial.
All in all, if you need to quickly build a presentation website for your clients or simply a personal blog with basic functionalities as a feedback form, RapidWeaver could be the perfect option for you. You will see how, within seconds, your website will begin to look like a professional one and how, with just a couple of clicks, you can basically add everything you need to make it ready for the Internet.Here are some snapshots of the application in action: