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Adobe Muse may give iWeb a run for its money

Apple's iWeb is no longer in development, so iWeb users may eventually need to look for another design option. Adobe's new "Muse" program may be the answer.

When designing Web pages you can either directly edit the site's code, or you can use a WYSIWYG ("What You See Is What You Get") editor like Dreamweaver or Publisher that provides a graphical approach to developing a Web site. Despite the graphical approach, even these can be relatively complex programs to use and require some editing of code.

Apple tackled this complexity with its iWeb program, which is purely graphical and is built to be intuitive like Apple's Pages and Keynote programs, and has become quite popular as a result; however, with the transition from MobileMe to iCloud Apple has discontinued supporting iWeb. The program has not been updated since 2009, and is not offered alongside other iLife tools in the Mac App Store.

Muse window
Muse's page organizer shows previews of your site's pages. Pardon the quick and ugly site design I did here, which does not do Muse's capabilities justice. (Click for larger view.)

While iWeb's design and publishing functions will still continue to work, with no active development and support, users will eventually need to look elsewhere for their site design efforts. To offer similar simplicity in designing Web pages, Adobe has been developing a tool called Muse, now available as a public beta, that might give iWeb a run for its money.

If you use iWeb you might consider taking a look at Muse, which was developed for Adobe's AIR cross-platform runtime environment (similar to Java) and is a basic interface styled like other Adobe programs. In the program you can add pages to your site layout, edit their contents with basic drawing tools, and link them. While the program does not currently have any templates like iWeb offered, the simplicity of its approach can have you up and running with a Web site in very little time.

The program is currently in beta development so expect there to be some problems if you use it, but you might consider trying the tool as a way to transition away from iWeb when Muse is finally released in early 2012. Unlike iWeb, which had a standalone license, the full version of Muse will requrire a subscription-based license priced at $15 per month ($180 per year). Luckily, as with any monthly license, if you are not using it you can allow it to lapse and then resubscribe when you plan on using the program again.

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