iWeb is to web editing programs what a latte is to espresso. Yes, technically they both use the same beans and they both produce what is technically coffee, but there’s only one a true coffee drinker would accept with good grace.
Given the choice between editing a website in TextEdit or iWeb I can honestly say I would prefer the former, but for the non HTML code-savvy who simply want a website displaying a countdown to a child’s birthday, or a photo album of the latest holiday in Majorca, it undeniably has its place.
Admittedly, all of the available themes look suitably slick and offer a large variety of possible pages to choose from. Adding pictures to pages is as simple as dragging them onto the page into the desired location and a selection of widgets can be used in the same way.
These widgets range from simple counters, to embedding YouTube videos, Google Adsense adverts (handily account creation is built-in), inserting Google maps and adding RSS feeds. If you’re the FaceBook-ing type you can have iWeb update your status whenever your site is updated too, so all your friends can be alerted that are new things to see.
Sites can be published either locally, to FTP, or via MobileMe, and multiple sites with multiple publishing locations can be managed simultaneously, though I doubt anyone content with such a limiting editor as iWeb will be dealing with many websites.
The main frustration I have with iWeb is that aside from dragging an HTML Snipped widget into a page, there’s no way to change any code. I see why Apple has taken this route, but I can’t help be frustrated having to open up TextEdit to add in such simple code as an ALT attribute for an image; surely an “advanced edit” or similar option isn’t too much to ask for?
Ultimately, though, iWeb does excel exactly where it’s supposed to, in creating simple but nonetheless slick and fairly professional looking websites and it’s hard to criticise it for that.