NetObjects Fusion XII
If you don’t know your HTML from your WYSIWYG but still want to create a good-looking website and get it online, you’re NetObjects Fusion XII's target market. The program is all about ease of use.
You start the application, press the Site Wizard button and within three clicks you've chosen a template as well as mapped out and created the different pages in in your site. All you then have to do is add the words and pictures and you have your website.
NetObjects Fusion XII's clean interface lets users drag and drop elements as easily as if they were using a word processor.
That's the theory, at least. Certainly, the program has loads of features that many novice designers will love. You really can create a whole site in just a few clicks. The program’s WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface is as easy to use as a word processor. All you need to do is drag and drop objects then tweak the page by stretching, shrinking and nudging elements until they are where you want them. We were impressed by just how elastic yet precise the design workspace was.
The mobile site templates are pretty good, too. There may be only four templates, but we were able to create a mobile-optimised page and get it online in just a few minutes. We also liked Site Safe, which backs up your website to an external or network drive or to a directory at your web host.
On the other hand, the templates are pretty cheesy, if better than in previous versions of NetObjects. Also, no matter what template you choose, you get the same limited range of page layouts. For instance, there are only four layout templates for the home page. Of course, you can customise pages – but given that this mainly a program for non-designers, it would be better if users had more templates to choose from.
You can flick from design to code view, but you can’t simply click on the code and start editing as much of it is protected.
The program claims it’s now easier to edit a page’s source code, something which was tricky in previous versions and frustrated more experienced designers. You are, however, still limited in how much you can really change, particularly compared to web design programs that simply let you work directly with the raw CSS and HTML files. Oddly, for a program that claims it now produces cleaner code, NetObjects seems to still use a lot of table-based layouts, a practice long since superseded by CSS positioning.