Price: 154.95 . 86.95
Pros: Lots of functionality under the hood; some decent built-in components; possible to get reasonable results — if you’re patient.
Cons: Utterly useless import function; awkward and occasionally non-intuitive interface; lacks direction; spits out nasty code.
Billing itself as ‘the complete all-in-one Web site design tool’, NetObjects Fusion 11 aims to fit snugly between the lofty space held by Adobe’s pricey but impressive Dreamweaver and a slew of lower-end budget applications, such as Serif’s WebPlus 10.
Although primarily a template-driven drag-and-drop affair, the latest version of NetObjects Fusion claims to support semantic code, along with offering integration of XML data, built-in AJAX components and a bunch of functionality-enhancing elements.
In use, NetObjects Fusion bizarrely manages to be at once highly annoying and relatively flexible. Various interface components (both in terms of the application itself and the pages being designed) can easily be shifted about, but NetObjects has its own way of doing things, and we had to regularly scurry to the manual to avoid putting a foot through our PC’s monitor in frustration.
In the end, although we enjoyed tinkering about with the application itself (the palettes and other components can be pinned and rearranged to your heart’s content), creating a site was distinctly less fun. Things started well enough, planning the site in the application’s robust and useful hierarchical layout tool, but we were less delighted with the layout capabilities of NetObjects Fusion, which are more akin to an office application than a tool for layout designers.
Also, as NetObjects Fusion is primarily a publishing application, coding elements are relegated to the background, with HTML views largely being a case of ‘look, but don’t touch’.