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.
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.
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.