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RapidWeaver: Rapid Web Site Design for Everyone from Preteens to Pros

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Need a site for your business or a blog for your rants? Bryan Hoff shows you how RapidWeaver makes Web site creation fast, painless, and fun! It's powerful enough for professionals, yet easy enough for kids to use, too.
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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

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

Figure 2 Choosing a new page type

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