Price When Reviewed: £99.99
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Once there was a powerful Web site-building package, NetObjects Fusion that was able to match the other tools on the market. Falling way behind the professional arena to the likes of Dreamweaver over the past few years, the latest version has been aimed the ever-growing DIY business user.
NetObjects Fusion’s forte has always been the ability to instantly create fully featured template-based business sites with all the bells and whistles in as few steps as possible. This ability is taken to the next level with some minor updates and rearrangements to the user interface, and with the introduction of further sets of wizards, customizable API through ActiveX scripting, speed improvements and more centralized online services.
In terms of changes to the look and feel, the Preview and Publish site buttons are now available in Site and Page Views in addition to Publish View. The Control Bar has also been redesigned. In addition, the Services View button, formerly called the Online View, is now the first button on the left of the control bar.
New, especially non-professional, users will appreciate the many wizards and useful tips in form of multimedia movies to help you getting started quickly. The Site Wizard is great for novice users just starting to lay out their first Web site. It relies on templates based on real-world small business sites and allows users to selectively add pages, choose a style, and add content and in less than ten minutes have their site up and running. With extra partnership with ISPs, choosing where to publish their site can be a piece of cake.
The Service View is intended to be the hub of NetObjects Fusion MX. This view will provide news about the product, information about updates, online resources, NetObjects Matrix Services, site hosting options, links to help, the Site Wizard and links to recently opened site files. More services are also planned for delivery through this system.
New to Fusion MX is the ability to let users create a profile when they launch the program for the first time. This information is stored and used in the Site Wizard, but is also collected by the program for product registration purposes.
The button for the new Services Tool has been placed just below the Zoom tool on the Standard toolbar. With this feature, the user can easily drop third-party services components on any page in their Web site. Using the newly introduced scripting language, FSI (Fusion Scripting Interface), users can now directly interact with the service providers in partnership with NetObjects for registration and maintenance. Once placed on the page, wizards walk the user through the sign up process and quickly install the required component.
The user interaction required to set up publishing has also been simplified and is now more customizable. Many of the menus found in the Publish View are actually HTML pages and can be easily modified by novice users and professionals alike.
Other features include automatic updates, auto site recovery, site re-optimization, improved import of NetObjects Fusion MX generated sites, deleting remote files using the built-in FTP features.
NetObjects have succeeded in transforming Fusion from a tool for pros into an excellent solution for the novice business user – but there’s little left here for true Web designers and developers.