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What is the best web authoring tool for Mac OS X? Both free and paid?
Asked by MikeH
Posted Dec 15 2009 11:14 AM
So I am going to overhaul my website hosted on GoDaddy and would like to have a tool to help manage all the directories, files and media types. Does anyone have any good suggestions for a tool that works on my MacBook Pro running regular Leopard?
Answered by msilver
Posted Dec 15 2009 02:12 PM
If you just need a program to be able to connect and manage files remotely in a graphical interface, you probably want some sort of FTP program. The three on Mac OS X I've used are Fetch, Transmit, and Cyberduck.
Fetch has been around forever, costs $29 for a single user license. I think the last version I used was 3, which is a bit long in the tooth now.
Panic's Transmit is great, also $29 (29.95 actually) and handles Amazon S3 as well as syncs your saved bookmarks via MobileMe if you use that service.
Cyberduck is what I mainly use these days, though I've owned licenses for both of the others in the past. It's free but you are asked to make a donation (which I should do at this point). It works fine.
I also find myself just using scp via the terminal these days as well.
Back-in-the-day I used to help manage a science fiction/spy fiction site and it was all static files, managed using Simpletext for editing, and Fetch for uploading, on an Apple Mac IIcx. We kept a local directory mirroring how the remote directory structure was set up. It wasn't very complex. These days a lot of people use Content Management Systems for their website, so if you're using one of those, chances are a lot of your media (photos, videos) are simply embedded in blog posts stored in the system. But if you do edit the pages by hand, or in batches, and want a GUI tool, I know a few people who swear by Coda by Panic. I have never really found a content management system I liked for my own personal stuff, so I tend to shy away from them.
Answered by adfm
Posted Dec 15 2009 02:47 PM
Dreamweaver is rather popular, but probably overkill for what you're looking to do. At one end of the spectrum you have iWeb, part of Apple's iLife suite. It's actually a pretty decent app. It integrates well with the other Apple products offered in the iLife and iWork suites. I wouldn't use it as an excuse to go out and buy iLife, but if you already own it, you might as well check it out. There's also RapidWeaver from RealMac and Freeway from softpress if you're looking for a decent app with good templates.
These days a lot of people are into using apps like Wordpress and Moveable Type to publish. I know that Godaddy offers Wordpress hosting as does wordpress.com (the developers). Six Apart, the company the develops Moveable Type offers hosting through their TypePad.com service. If you haven't already paid for hosting it would be worth it to take a look around at other providers.
Answered by cothomps
Posted Dec 16 2009 07:17 AM
There's quite a few options for 'overhauling a website' in terms of keeping files, file types, directories, etc. in shape.
A few I can add to the recommendations above:
1) A handy tool to have if you have SSH access to your hosting account is "ExpanDrive":
This tool allows you to configure an SSH directory to act as a local "FileSystem" available in your finder. I've used this to mount a remote folder then use TextMate to edit/manage directories of files. (WARNING: Make sure you've got a pretty responsive internet connection to avoid frustrations of the 'spinning wheel' during saves - ExpanDrive does not give you a nice progress status as you're saving files to what appears to be a local filesystem.)
2) As mentioned above, Cyberduck. Cyberduck is both 'free' and has a neat 'edit' button for most files that allows you to edit files in a way that is easier to track than doing copy/FTP process - particularly for changes on personal websites that don't require a change management process. (Or a very minimum one.)
3) Two great Mac Tools for website development from MacRabbit:
* Espresso - A full web "authoring" tool for HTML/CSS/PHP (and others through "Sugar" plug-ins) that features both editing and publishing features. You can create your site locally and 'publish' to servers - similar to iWeb, but Espresso is geared toward creating more custom sites that you can with iWeb. (i.e. more text editing/programming vs. a GUI like tool.)
* CSSEdit - allows you to create and preview CSS styles, particularly for the more obscure CSS that you might not be intimately familiar with.
4) If you want to completely go the "CMS" route, Concrete5 (http://concrete5.org) has a great Dashboard feature that allows you to plan and modify sitemaps, a FileManager that allows you to upload images/documents, etc, into a library that can be searched and sorted. I've used Concrete5 in developing a few sites that are maintained by non-programmers and it has worked out very well.
Answered by kevin.suttle
Posted Dec 16 2009 08:19 PM
Web.AppStorm.net has a great list of these, but having just jumped on the Mac bandwagon, I am realizing there are a lot of ways to develop on the Mac.
I personally like Coda and CSSEdit. Chris Coyier is the best resource for web design I have come across and watching him use Coda makes it even more desirable.
Answered by Randy B. Singer
Posted Dec 22 2009 12:05 AM
If the question is actually "What is the best web authoring tool for Mac OS X? Both free and paid?" In my humble opinion, for the vast majority of folks who have simple Web page creation needs, Dreamweaver, GoLive, and Freeway are too expensive and too hard to learn to use. They are really only for professionals.
But there is a good selection of Web page creation programs for the Macintosh for ordinary users. In my experience, most ordinary users who want to create or modify a Web page don't want to learn, or deal with, HTML. They want a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) program, similar to a word processor or page layout program. There are a number of these for ordinary users, some of which are free!
These are all WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) programs, designed for ordinary users, not professional Web masters:
RapidWeaver was specifically designed with ease-of-use in mind, making it great for the average user and pro web designers rushing to meet a deadline. RapidWeaver will enable you to create a fully working web site in minutes. No knowledge of HTML is required. RapidWeaver includes over 40 customizable web designs.
Here is a tutorial called Rapid Weaver Classroom which costs
$15/month. You can probably learn all that you need to know in just one month.
FREEWAY EXPRESS ($79)
A version of the pro-level WYSIWYG program for ordinary users, with a simplified interface and many web site templates. Freeway tries it's best to act like a wysiwyg page layout program
that does the html coding for you.
There are a variety of tutorials, including video/podcasts tutorials
for Freeway here:
Comes with a selection of more than 80 fully customizable free
themes. This program is especially good for building photo-display web sites, but you can use it to build any kind of web page.
SANDVOX ($57, $97 for the Pro version.) The Pro version includes stuff to help you create an e-commerce Web site.
GOLDFISH ($130 for the Professional edition, $70 Standard edition)
is a web site building program that features templates and drag-and-drop positioning of text and images.
Apple's iWEB (part of the $79 iLife)
This program works well to create beautiful simple personal Web pages, but when you try to push it to do more than it is designed for, it falls on its face.
JOOMLA! (free and open source, content management type site creator)
KOMPOZER (free and open source)
Kompozer is a very impressive application. It is more complex than these others. In fact, it is almost as powerful as a professional-level Web site creation tool. But there are several free tutorials to learn how to use the program, and it isn't hard to learn to use. You can easily migrate your existing Web sites to Kompozer because it doesn't use a proprietary format, it will simply open your HTML-based Web site.
FREE KompoZer tutorials:
- KompoZer User Guide
- How to Design and Publish Your Website with KompoZer
- KompoZer Tutorial 2: How to Add Images, Change Fonts and Colours
Tutorial on designing and publishing your web pages with KompoZer, a free standalone WYSIWYG web editor.
- Other free KompoZer tutorials
Scroll down to KompoZer Tutorials
- KompoZer Video Tutorials
Randy B. Singer
Co-Author: The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th & 6th Editions)
Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance