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No more Adobe Dreamweaver, so how about Xara Web Designer?

Mark Gibbs | May 17, 2013
If you're doing serious Web content engineering you might well choose an all-singing, all-dancing product such as Adobe's Dreamweaver. The latest version of Dreamweaver in Adobe's Creative Suite 6 (released just over a year ago) was really impressive with new features such as an improved user interface, support for jQuery UI widgets, better cascading style sheet Version 3 support and support for PhoneGap. All in all, a very cool and comprehensive Web development platform.

XWD comes in two versions: Web Designer 9 ($49.99) and Web Designer 9 Premium ($99.99). The latter adds, among other things, more templates, e-commerce widgets, Flash and GIF animations, embedded fonts, page turn animations, layer transitions and support for Google Fonts.

The templates are engineered to be compatible with both Android and iOS clients and touchscreens. There's also built-in HTML5 support that ensures that audio and video on your website will play on iOS. Widgets include Google Maps, Facebook Like and Twitter buttons, Picasa photo albums, Flickr slideshows, YouTube movies, forms, news feeds, photo and content slideshows, interactive charts and graphs, and e-commerce support for PayPal, eBay To Go and Amazon.

You can add videos, audio and PDFs, and publish to websites via FTP. With the Pro version you can also show your site using the built-in Web meeting service, and export it as a Flash presentation or in various graphics formats.

I tested Xara Web Designer 9 Premium and I love it. There are a few idiosyncrasies that may take a little research to understand (for example, to create text you choose the text tool, but if you just put the text cursor on the page and start typing you'll create a text line, while if you start by dragging the text cursor across an area you'll create a text box ... the latter can be resized but not the former) but it works well, it's stable, and it produces really good-looking, sophisticated content very easily. Xara Web Designer 9 Premium gets a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5.


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