Must-have applications for iWeb designers

Ok, so I admit it. iWeb 08 is a fantastic, simple to use web design tool but it is lacking in some departments. So today I am going to write about and give you a bit of an insight into some of the free apps you should be using to improve your iWeb sites. All of the apps I talk about in this post are available to download and should be included in your ‘iWeb Toolbox’ if you are serious about designing a web-site that works.Before I begin, I want to stress that I use all of these tools and have done since I first started using iWeb. Some I have used since I started web design. They are not listed in any particular order, so no favourites, they are all as good as each other and each has their own strengths and weaknesses.

Although there are many more applications available to the iWeb user, the list I have provided here is aimed at the tools that are created for web designers in general, rather than just iWeb users. I will be running another post on iWeb specific apps within the next few weeks.

1. MassReplaceIt I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this little application is a fantastic bit of kit and can save you loads of time when you are inserting HTML code into the pages on your site. Imagine you have a prewritten <head></head> section that you add to your site before each publish. All you have to do is perform the function manually once and MassReplaceIt’s inbuilt save function allows you to save that particular search and replace, ready to run again the next time you update your site. Only you don’t have to go through the nause of having to add all your pages and code again!! Priceless.

2. Cyberduck One of the easiest FTP applications I have come across and you can have your site uploaded in minutes with this useful tool. Obviously you don’t need this one if you publish to MobileMe so you have your own problems, but Cyberduck’s easy to use interface, ability to ‘synchronize’ rather than ‘upload’ so you don’t have to publish the whole site again is a godsend, as is the selective publish function (which I found really useful when testing my in-line comments tutorial).

3. FireFox Now in version 3, FireFox is the world’s most standard compliant browser and fast becoming the most popular. If you want your web-site to look good, test it in this browser first before you publish. On top of it’s ability to comprehend the rules of CSS, you can also download hundreds of free add-ons or ‘plug-ins’; some of which are hugely useful to a web designer. One I highly recommend is the Web Developer plug-in which gives you the ability (once you have published to a folder) to edit the HTML and or CSS pages within your site and see the live changes in your browser before you publish the whole thing live.

4. TextWrangler Before I came to Mac OS X I used to hand code my sites on Windows PCs, but never did I have such a wonderfully easy to use and intuitive tool such as TextWrangler. I find the search and/or replace function really helpful, the colour coding of the different sections of HTML code easy to read and the whole process of using TextWrangler is a joy. Quite simply, it makes editing code less of a pain.

If you use any other free app and you think we should know, add a comment. I will be carrying out a review of the other iWeb specific applications soon, once my iWeb version of this site is launched.

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  1. Surely most iWeb users are using iWeb entirely because it doesn’t require knowledge of HTMLor any other codes – so I wonder how useful MassReplaceIt and TextWrangler are for the average iWeb designer? Still eagerly awaiting SEO 2. Keep up the good work!

  2. Danny, that is a good point you have made there, and I agree that perhaps the average iWeb user wouldn’t find MassReplaceIt or TextWrangler useful, but that is the idea behind this site.

    If Apple aren’t going to allow us to add tag clouds, comments for non MobileMe users etc etc then we have to find ways around it and using apps such as those are the only way around it.

  3. Some nice apps there Roddy, thanks for adding to the post. It is the second time Rage’s SEO tool has got a mention on this site, I think I am going to have to have a look.

  4. there is only one application i use for keywords and descriptions. iMap is an easy program and it also allows you to create a google sitemap, robot.txt file and to ping google as well. i have created multiple websites with iWeb selling single or just a few products through paypal and it is working very well.p,e and are all done with iWeb. For modifying pictures i use mainly fireworks cs3, to add favicons etc. i use iTweak, which also has a lot of other functions. The hitcounter from google i add manually though with the html widget.

  5. Hi all!

    I’m glad I found this site! Over the past 6 months I have become somewhat of an iWeb junkie. I work for an ad agency and we do everything from large corporate sites to smaller sites for small companies. iWeb has become an indispensable tool for us as it gives us the ability to design and publish sites in one step, eliminating the Illustrator > Photoshop > ImageReady > DreamWeaver scenario… after all, time is money!

    My question is this… has anyone heard any news if there will be an iLife ’09 release addressing iWeb’s short comings? Currently we use the iWeb SEO tool and a few other tricks but lets face it… it still gets annoying to have to re-do some things each time you publish.

  6. Now what we nedd is one tool to rule them all! Can we string these together with Automator? Can iTweak do all of it? (except ftp) I need to make this dead simple for my customer, the whole point of iWeb is that I get them to do ‘most’ updates.

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