The NYTimes has had this past week a overview article on the vastly improved and mostly free Web Design tools that are currently available for users that want a DIY website. Here is one that the NYTimes passed on because it costs $99 and does not provide free hosting services. Despite those provisos you should carefully consider this tool if you have a strong graphic design and DTP-DeskTop Publishing background or would like to develop very quickly a website that is media and slideshow rich.
Xara Web Designer Premium 9
Our sister blog, ThePhotoFinishes, has been an admirer of Xara's photo finishing software Xara Photo Designer Pro. And why not? Xara software is super fast particularly when dealing with large bitmap images [30MB or larger] and vector graphic files[20K graphic point or more]; many of its operations are drag and drop simple to do or just a right mouse click away from a customizing wizard. Xara mixes Vector and bitmap images in the same design space with aplomb; and supports basic DTP operations like direct text flow between blocks, supporting layers, and repelling text underneath objects on top. And most important, the core of Photo Designer Pro is built into Web Designer Premium.
So these photofinishing and DTP capabilities help make Xara Web Designer a very rapid website builder. In fact it is so good that Xara Web Designer was used to create its own review. Thus we built a website containing the review with Xara Web Designer 9 - see here for the full screen version of the review.
Here is that review in the blog post:
Xara Web Designer is a fast learn with many drag and drop or wizard driven operations. But key to coming up to speed is to make sure that you a)take advantage of the many Xara widgets by reading the excellent documentation and going to all the many movies that bring users up on not just the Widgets but the whole Web Designer interface. Once you become familiar with the interface, Web Designer like Graphics Designer becomes easy and intuitive to work with. Consider that the DTP facilities in Web Designer Premium put it two steps ahead of all the free Website creation tools - simpler, faster, and more powerful features. Finally, Xara Web Designer has dozens of templates for creating and displaying your own Presentations which can be run locally or online. At the $99 price, ignore Xara Web Designer Premium at your peril.