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Web Page Construction Kit 6.0: Win9X/NT4 review:

Web Page Construction Kit 6.0: Win9X/NT4

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Web Page Construction Kit 6.0: Win9X/NT4

(Part #: 1575953927)
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The Good Web management tool organizes all pages, links, images, and related files in one concise place; CSS support.

The Bad Enclosed 400-plus-page online manual does not have search capabilities or hyperlinks for easy navigation; bundled software is poorly documented; difficult to work with frames.

The Bottom Line Professional Web builders should consider this tool only as a gift to friends or relatives who wanted to get started building Web sites.

CNET Editors' Rating

5.0 Overall

The most recent version of Macmillan Software's Web editor suite, Web Page Construction Kit 6.0, hits the market with a fresh interface that incorporates larger icons, more vivid colors, and overall user-friendly functionality. Unlike most conventional HTML editors, the Kit's WYSIWYG editor, WebExpress 4.0, comes bundled with two other programs. The all-new 3Space Publisher Interactive 3D Suite and Stoik PictureMan Painter 2.0 applications offer decent graphics capabilities while sustaining a very affordable price. A large online manual by well-known Web authors Lynda and Bill Weinman should be a value-added bonus, but Macmillan hasn't made the material very accessible. The most recent version of Macmillan Software's Web editor suite, Web Page Construction Kit 6.0, hits the market with a fresh interface that incorporates larger icons, more vivid colors, and overall user-friendly functionality. Unlike most conventional HTML editors, the Kit's WYSIWYG editor, WebExpress 4.0, comes bundled with two other programs. The all-new 3Space Publisher Interactive 3D Suite and Stoik PictureMan Painter 2.0 applications offer decent graphics capabilities while sustaining a very affordable price. A large online manual by well-known Web authors Lynda and Bill Weinman should be a value-added bonus, but Macmillan hasn't made the material very accessible.

Powerful Punch
The Kit packs a powerful punch for the novice looking for design ideas. Nearly 50 unique themes are available for the indecisive Webmaster, along with more than 10,000 graphics, buttons, and animation files. For consistency, any theme can be carried out page after page.

Web Page Construction Kit supports all major image types, including BMP, WMF, PCX, TIFF, and so on. Additionally, files with these extensions are automatically converted into Web-ready formats such as PNG, GIF, and JPEG. An image map editor and image text editor are also included with WebExpress.

Well-Managed Webs
The editor's Web site manager is locked into the left side of the page view. Each newly created Web site is given its own folder, making each file, link, and image easily accessible within the parameters of the program's treelike hierarchy. While maintaining filename and link case, the Kit can conveniently track all links for validity. Broken links are conspicuously marked, enabling you to instantly locate the source. The Kit also helps you correct uniform errors globally. Once something is changed on one page, all pages reflect that change.

When it is time to upload your work onto the Web, the built-in FTP client allows for multiple publishing options. You can publish only what is new, or override already published pages and files.

Ample Wizardry
The abundance of wizards for things such as new sites, forms, and frames firmly categorizes this suite as a beginner-level tool. The wizards can save you a substantial amount of time in site creation, but if you want to really customize your site, you will spend a lot of time cutting and pasting.

Advanced Niceties
The Kit's editor provides a convenient method for creating new Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and both importing and exporting existing style sheets. WebExpress lets you easily insert ActiveX objects, JavaScript, and

tags, although it doesn't give you much help with the script beyond giving you a dialog box to paste it in.

Value-Added Bonus?
The Kit's manual contains a substantial amount of information, but you cannot get to the content easily. There are no hyperlinks and no search capabilities. In fact, the only way to really use the valuable information contained within the manual is to go page-by-page in Acrobat Reader or to bite the bullet and print out the manual. However, if you opt for the latter, you'd better have a fast printer and a lot of paper, because the guide is close to 500 pages long.

The bundled software does not come with printed support for each program, only a guide for the Web editor itself. Without anything to point the way to the other applications in this suite, they might go entirely unused.

Not-So-Fabulous Frames
The Kit's editor does not allow for simple frameset construction. Additionally, the novice will become confused, as the included instruction booklet for WebExpress offers very little helpful advice. If frames are an integral part of your design concept, use FrontPage, or better yet, Dreamweaver.

Web Page Construction Kit is definitely not a professional-level tool; however, it is more powerful than many other novice tools we've seen. Its interface is clunky, but the site management tool is convenient. And although we don't like the clip-art buttons and themes, the CSS support is a very nice touch. Because of its low price and introduction to some important Web design technologies, this suite would work well as a first step for the beginner who intends to advance into a Web building career.

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