Last week, we looked at WordPress and how easily it can be used to build websites that are more than just blogs. Today, we look at Freeway, a full blown website development application for Macs.
It’s from Softpress at softpress.com.
There are indeed a number of competitors.
I have tried using a number of not-as-overwhelming-as-Dreamweaver website development applications, on both Macs and Windows machines. They tend to share a common problem: unintuitive interfaces that take you down a path where suddenly, your developing website blows up, leaving you with either trying to patch up a mess or starting over.
With Freeway, your workflow is smooth, lacking in nasty surprises. You can focus on the artistic side of building a site and not on mastering the website development app itself.
What’s good in Freeway.
This is not true with Freeway and I am surprised it isn’t more broadly known. It has several great features.
First, you can use the thing without reading the User Guide until you’re trying to do fairly detailed work. It is very intuitive.
Second, you can very quickly build an elegant static website. It doesn’t have one of those maze-like interfaces that makes it hard to ignore the fancy stuff meant for building dynamic, database-driven websites when you are just trying to cobble something simple. And, you can use this even if you know zero about programming or mega media apps.
I have built a simple static site in just minutes, using one of their templates. It is at buzzlheureux.com.
Third, it is packed with useful tools for working with graphics, tables, calendars, RSS sites, etc., and Google Analytics, Maps, and AdSense. There are also capabilities for developing iPhone and iPad web applications, but I have not checked them out myself.
Four, you can indeed build full-blown dynamic websites with Freeway.
Five, it’s relatively cheap. 70 dollars for the “express” version and 230 dollars for the “pro” version.
Freeway does have two limitations that I hope the folks at softpress.com attack.
First, it is hard to include a blog as a tab in your otherwise page-oriented (as opposed to posting-oriented) website. I should say that they do have what appears to be a nice facility for building and using templates for Google’s blogging software.
Second, there are only a small number of available website templates. But the ones that are there are elegant, clean, and easy to tailor. And Freeway does indeed have some nice Blogger templates.
All in all, Freeway is a fantastic tool and I am planning on using it in my teaching.