• Price When Reviewed: 132.50 . 70

  • Pros: Fusion’s tidy interface and its many wizards make it easy to design Web sites and add complex components such as online catalogues.

  • Cons: It’s no Dreamweaver, and it’s patently absurd that you’re expected to register the software, or even pay extra, to use features on the main toolbar.

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 6 out of 10We rate this 6 out of 10We rate this 6 out of 10We rate this 6 out of 10We rate this 6 out of 10 We rate this 6 out of 10

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Macromedia’s Dreamweaver seems to have the professional Web design market tied up. However, Dreamweaver is a vast and complex application, so there’s still a place for programs that provide quick solutions to Web-creation. Fusion 8 is easy to use, but the developer’s shameless money-grabbing is shocking at times.

At first, there appear to be a number of Web tools that provide graphics, database, and scripting tools, but it turns out that many of these are simply links to Web sites where you can buy these additional tools.

To be fair, the program does provide some powerful tools for creating online product catalogues and ecommerce
sites. It does a good job of simplifying those tools for people who don’t have a degree in Java scripting or application development.

The program gets off to a slightly rough start, though. The initial setup wizard didn’t work on our review copy,
as it was unable to connect to the NetObjects Web site. When you start work the initial welcome screen displays a series of tabs that provide access to a number of different tools. Some of these are very useful, such as the Site Wizard and templates that help you get started, and the online tutorials for tasks such as creating photo-galleries or online catalogues are helpful too.

Moving into the main workspace, you find a tidy and uncluttered design environment. As you’d expect, there are graphical and HTML code views, as well as a preview mode. On the left-hand side of the screen is a toolbar that allows you to quickly add complex elements such as a search facility, photo-gallery, or online catalogue. Clicking on one of these tools will open a wizard that guides you through the necessary steps, such as creating a list of products in a catalogue and then creating more detailed pages that showcase individual products.

This aspect of the program works well. Unfortunately, you quickly discover that some of the tools in this toolbar require you to register the software and connect to the NetObject Web site in order to download components such as counters or search tools. Again, you have to pay extra to use some of them.

The commercial overkill of trying to sell you extra software and forcing you to register before you can use all the program’s features is scandalous, and ruins what is an otherwise easy-to-use Web-design tool.