I’ve been procrastinating about getting my nine-year-old daughter Emily’s personal Web site designed and online for the last six months. A combination of her not knowing what she wanted and me not having the 5 to 10 hours required to design a simple Web site made us put it off. Realmac Software’s RapidWeaver came to the rescue and allowed us to get her site assembled, populated, and online in a single evening.
I decided to let Emily work with me on her site for two reasons. For one, I wanted her to feel like she had a hand in its design; for another, I wanted to see just how easy it was for a child to use. Looking back, it’s probably meant more for users ages 12 and up, but 12-year-olds still fall nicely into the preteen category! I also wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and whether RapidWeaver was a useful addition to my toolset as a Dreamweaver user.
Figure 1 The RapidWeaver default window with the "Getting Started" section displayed
One Giant Leap
The name RapidWeaver obviously wasn’t chosen at random. I’ve never gone so quickly from a spark of an idea to a completed site. All I had to do was launch RapidWeaver, click the plus sign (+) in the lower-left corner of the left panel and choose the type of Web page I wanted to create. I chose Styled Text, shown in Figure 2, for most of the pages on Emily’s site. Other page types include Blog, Contact Form, and Photo Album, which we’ll explore later. I would have preferred that the WYSIWYG in Styled Text Edit mode were more true to its name. For example, instead of showing headings, blockquotes, and other HTML-formatted text as they’ll appear in a Web page, it just shows the text you chose for formatting with a highlighted background. It does, however, show italicized and bold text—as you’d expect. Switching over to the Preview mode quickly shows you how your page will actually appear in a browser, but you can’t make any changes in this mode. Both modes are available from the top bar in the main window, along with a Themes button, which allows you to select from more than 20 theme presets.
Figure 2 Choosing a new page type