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iWeb 09 – Is it worth it?

Okay, so my copy of iLife 09 arrived late last week and I have spent the weekend playing with the new version of iWeb for much of Saturday and Sunday (soccer and Superbowl permitting). For those of you who haven’t got it yet or are considering the upgrade, here’s my review of iWeb 09.There was quite a bit of a build up to the release of iLife 09. Yes, I admit the announcements at Macworld didn’t exactly set the world alight but they had to big it up somehow; all the same iLife 09 and in particular iWeb 09 is something I have been looking forward to all month.

Earlier on last week I noticed some chatter on the few Apple forums I visit regularly saying that iLife 09 was out and that just helped my tension build; I hope it is worth the wait.

So on Saturday morning I sat at home, booted up my Macbook, backed up my domain file (although it turns out I didn’t need to) and stuck the disk in. As with all Apple products the install was a breeze (would you expect anything less?) and after 5 minutes I was ready to go.


First Impressions.

By now I was almost drooling. Yes I had read all the comments about problems here and there, mostly with FTP, but I wanted to make up my own opinion. So I clicked the iWeb icon and ‘ta daaaaa’ the same ol’ MobileMe nag screen appeared. But wait, what’s this? Woohoo a tick box to get rid of it. So I ticked and now iWeb doesn’t nag me. Good start!!


When iWeb 09 opened ‘proper’ the first thing I noticed was the new media bar to the right, automatically opened on ‘Widgets’. Okay so we had widgets before in the form o f a drop-down menu in the bottom tool-bar but now we have lovely colorful drag n drop icons for adding photos or videos from your iSight camera, a countdown timer, youtube video, Google Maps and Adsense. Only trouble is….where does Inspector go now when you only have a 13 inch screen?


So I had a play, dragged a few across on to a blank iWeb page and I have to say, there is no denying the fact that 1 or 2 of the widgets may be useful, but I can’t see a regular use for inserting a video from my iSight camera….can you? On top of that, how many countdown timers can a web-site have? Perhaps Apple wants to turn us all in to rocket engineers and have us counting down backwards from 10.

New Themes.

Unimpressed by the widgets I decided to take a look at the new themes available to us. I have to say I am pleasantly surprised, but why only 2? The ‘Leaf Print’ theme is lovely but a version without the leaves would be nicer too. The ‘Fine Line’ theme is very nice. In fact I would now go as far as to say it is my favorite iWeb theme ever. It is clean, crisp and consise and looks like a proper web-site should – More like that please Apple!

The Other New Bits – FTP, Facebook et all.

To test this new version of iWeb 09 I built a quick site and tried to upload it to my spare FTP web space. The added feature of built-in FTP is a big plus for iWeb and one of the reasons I went for the upgrade. I wanted to see if I was going to have the same problems as many of the other iWeb 09 users with their FTP simply refusing to publish their sites.

I am happy to report that the biggest problem I had with the FTP part of iWeb 09 is the fact that I had to spend longer searching for the settings to my spare web space than I did entering them and uploading my site.

And then there is the lack of ability to edit the HTML prior to publishing. I want to add meta-tags and then publish to the net via FTP. I still can’t do that, so the creators of Cyberduck have nothing to worry about at all.

Yes the fact that I can announce to all of my Facebook friends that I have updated my site may be useful to some people (I think a Twitter version would have been good too) but I am afraid it is not for me.

So What Did I Think?

So what is my overall opinion after playing with iWeb 09 for two days? Good question! For the money it is not worth just the two new themes or the fact I no longer get nagged (although I really do appreciate that). iWeb 09 could have been so much more; perhaps a HTML editor built in just to add meta-tags before uploading via FTP, drop-down menus, blog comments for non MobileMe users and image optimization are just a few things I can think of. Yes the widgets are fun, but the novelty soon wears off. Overall, I am disappointed.

If you are thinking of upgrading to iWeb 09 from iWeb 06 then the leap may well be worth taking, but from iWeb 08 to iWeb 09 – I don’t think so. So little has changed. I suppose in a way I should be happy as that means I don’t have to re-write all of the tutorials on this site. Alas I am not; instead I am off to explore the new versions of iPhoto and Garageband, hopefully they will make me feel a little happier.

Have you upgraded yet? What do you think of the latest version of our favorite web design app? Leave a comment.

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  1. I have also used iWeb 09 and it seems to be fine. I have only played with the countdown widget but it works fine.

    Worth the price with all of the other updates!

    EL Paso

  2. One thing you didn’t mention that is quite a nice addition is that uploading is no longer an all or nothing affair. You can upload just one site and choose between publishing to a folder, FTP, or MobileMe. I’m still waiting on my copy but I played with some at Macworld and blogged about it here:

  3. Perhaps iWeb is like the tablet in that Steve is just waiting for that niche market segment to take off before putting any real support behind it.. I’m sure one day people besides us geeks who write on forums will actually build websites and attempt to share information, but until that day comes we must be relegated to learning to play guitar from Ben Folds. Which I must say is a much bigger niche segment that the internet.

  4. Upgraded to 09. Can no longer publish to MobileMe.

  5. I can’t imagine what has held Apple back from including support for creating custom sites where a menu doesn’t have to redraw with every page.

    I’ve tried to do that with their templates and didn’t have much luck. Maybe I’m missing something.

  6. Hi! I’m a iwb rookie and I’m having trouble both with iweb 08 and 09 because “add Comment” links don’t display when my site is published. Can any of you help me?

  7. Well…I feel the same if not worse about the iweb update. The ftp function worked great for 2 days and now does not work. Three calls to support and I am still not working. They blamed godaddy and vice versa. Save your $ till the have more to offer. I really hoped for several more templets too. 🙁 Thanks for the site.

  8. Found the answer to my problem right here in this fab site!!! Thanks a lot!! I will be visiting often because this page has proven to be very useful!

  9. I’ve just “upgraded” from iWeb ’08 and published some changes to my home page, but now none of my html snippets show up? The only page I’ve uploaded to the server is the “welcome” page, but now none of the html snippets are showing on that page. I can see the html snippet when I “visit the published site” via the hard drive, but not on the web.

    * Does iWeb ’09 put the html snippets somewhere new?
    * If so, where?
    * Should I upload my entire site again now that ’09 has updated all of my files? (I’m afraid my entire site will be rendered unusable if all the snippets are erased)
    * Is anyone else experiencing a similar problem?
    * I did not have this issue with ’08


  10. I have upgraded my iLife each generation. Each time the Java Script seems to bloat the iWebSit.js pages more and more. Making it almost impossible for my friends and others who don’t own a luxurious Mac to download sites made with iWeb. If your on a 6 year old Dell using IE 7, pages I have created using iWeb cause their browsers to lock up the screen and not scroll. Some pages with fewer graphics on them still cause the IE viewers to wait for loading as if they were on dial-up – LOL!

    I too would like to see Apple add to iWeb the ability to edit code.

    Right now I have a website that I am trying to publish for a friend’s Internet Talk Radio show and I can’t, because she can’t see her own site on her Dell laptop.

    Here is her site I created on iWeb ’09:

    any suggestions on speeding up the site would be helpful. Oh, and this is after using Maestro 🙂 LOL!


  11. Hey Tim! 🙂 Did I stump you? – LOL!

  12. I’m still using iweb06 and it has served me well, hoping not to up grade but i’ve been experiencing only one recurring issue with a video that will not show up on the web but plays properly in iweb…i’ve cleared my cahce many times and the video is present in my ftp?

  13. Daft as this sounds – how did you get the count down widget to work..?

  14. iWeb3 is bugged, in particular the blog. The blog/podcast/comments do not work properly. Images are misplaced by iWeb in the blog summary page and in the rss feeds.
    Adding a new entry to an other blog on a different site is enought to damage a totally different blog in a second site.
    So you can’t use iWeb3 (iLife09) for blogging without running into trouble.

  15. Ana – I am having the same problem with links not displaying on my published site. Can you tell me where you found the answer?

  16. Considering I am using ftp (instead of mobileme) how could i allow people to comment in my blog?

  17. Is there any way to put comment on your site without using mobile me. I’m using a FtP serer and want to still be able to add a comments field

  18. I have made a site that I thought looked ok but when the video plays back – if I scroll down the page – Firefox freezes and has to be forced into quitting. This makes it useless to show anyone else in case they get the same thing.

    Any thoughts on what is going wrong?

  19. Help me. I’m trying to add an html snippet to my website. I go to insert / html snippet and get a text box but the pop up screen that every tutorial shows never shows up. WTF am I doing wrong?

    Please help me.

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