Rapidweaver 3.2 beta

I recently bought a copy of RapidWeaver by Realmac Software to use for a number of mini websites which will be delivered on CD.

I first looked at it some time ago (I think it was at version 2.x) and was deeply unimpressed – it lacked style, usability, and was too limiting for websites beyond a basic “Hello World” personal website. Version 3.1 arrived, and, well, what a change. RapidWeaver, once you get used to the semi-WYSIWYG editor (you can’t see any of your site navigation or design in the editor, only basic text styling), and discover the page inspector, you’ve actually got a lovely website creation tool.

RapidWeaver really isn’t software you would use to design a site from scratch, with your own design, but if you would like to make an elegant site based on well designed templates, then RapidWeaver is a good choice. It’s worth noting that you are able to customise the supplied themes if you have the know-how (which is fortunate for me, as I do – if you don’t you’ll have to use the templates as-is).

Whilst using RapidWeaver 3.1 I did wish that images were handled more efficiently. It’s terribly clunky, and images do not align in the editor, which is frustrating. But as soon as I made this silent prayer (well, in reality, loud curse), Realmac software announced a beta of 3.2, accompanied by a fancy video showing off what it can do.

RapidWeaver 3.2 uses Apple’s CoreImage technologies to resize and rotate images, all in the RW interface – at last! But, sadly, it is still no closer to being WYSIWYG.

To align an image on the left, you need to drag in your image from the Finder, and just double-click it to change its size or rotate it. If you want to align it left or right, you still have to dig into: Format>HTML>Align Image Left – surely there can be something to do this in the media inspector?!

Here’s my image as it should appear, and does when I preview my page:

Rapidweaver-Image-Align-Preview

But when you’re actually editing your content, you see:
Rapidweaver-Image-Align-Editor

Whilst it’s not too hard to cope with, when you’re working on large pages with lots of images, it becomes annoying that things don’t match up, and you have to flick between two tabs to see what you’re doing is correct.

The lack of WYSIWYG features is certainly my main gripe. And while I’m at it, it seems that every page must have its own folder, into which are copied all of the navigation, CSS etc! Whilst this isn’t so crucial for smaller websites, it will begin to get very unwieldy if you begin to get adventurous (not to mention webspace). I hope that they fix this!

I’ve been fairly negative so far, but really I do feel very positive about RapidWeaver. It has been an absolute godsend for me, with all of the micro-sites I have to produce. A quick modification to some select templates, and I’m away. Media galleries are a snip (drag, drop, describe).

Once you bend your head round the RapidWeaver way of doing things, or in my case, untrain your mind from the Dreamweaver method, you really have an elegant piece of software that produces great looking websites, with excellent browser compatibility (and code that validates!). Go and have a look for yourself, and don’t forget to watch the video about RapidWeaver 3.2 at the foot of the page!

It just needs a little refinement in the editor 🙂

It will be interesting to see how Karelia approach WYSIWYG in Sandvox, which is coming nearer to a public beta…

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