Companies have been offering code-free building tools to website designers for over a decade, but Adobe's (news, site) release of Muse might top them all -- including Apple's iWeb.
Apple's iWeb program was a fairly popular solution for page designers looking to catch a break in the design department, but hasn't been updated since 2009. With the transition from MobileMe to iCloud, Apple has discontinued supporting iWeb entirely.
While iWeb's design and publishing functions will live on, no active development and support for the platform will eventually force users to seek a viable alternative.
Revolutionizing Web Design
Muse was developed for Adobe's AIR cross-platform runtime environment. With it, designers can plan, design and publish interactive websites. Perks include:
- Sitemaps, master pages, and a host of site-wide tools for planning the website layout.
- Similar functionality in Adobe InDesign that allows designers to combine imagery, graphics, and text.
- Drag and drop customizable widgets like navigation menus.
- Embedded HTML code snippets from sources including Google Maps, YouTube and Facebook.
- Ability to create Adobe-hosted trial sites for testing and review purposes.
Here's a shot of how the drag-and-drop interface for organizing page navigation looks:
Adobe’s increasing support for HTML5 seems to be an indication that the company is accepting the changing times (a.k.a. the demise of Flash) so you might consider trying the tool as a way to transition away from iWeb.
Unlike iWeb, which had a standalone license, the full version of Muse will reportedly require a subscription-based license priced at US$ 15 per month (a comparably steep US$ 180 per year).
For now, Adobe emphasizes Muse—just a code name—is in beta, and interested parties can expect a 1.0 release in “early 2012.” Until then, check out the tester version.