Claris HomePage Vs. Adobe PageMill

First, let me start by saying that I am no Web Master. Far from it, truth be told. When everyone around me started jumping on the “Build your own Home Page” fervor, I held back. I was so caught up in what I was doing that I didn’t want to devote any of my precious time from other projects to learn HTML. Besides, I figured a day would come when I would not have to learn HTML, but rather use a program where I could type words and paste pictures much like I do with a word processor. And that day, it would seem, has finally come.

Again, I am no Web Master, but now I can be. With both Adobe PageMill and Claris Home Page, I find that, while not quite as simple as a word processor (or easier, if you include Microsoft Word 6.x into the equations!) both these products offer the average Mac user a way to create true WYSIWYG web pages.

First, I use ClarisWorks 4.0v4 for most of my word processing needs. (Nisus Writer comes in a close second) So when I first downloaded the beta of Home Page, my expectations were high. Would this product be as simple to use as it was billed, and yet be advanced enough to easily create a nice Web page? Not too surprisingly, I would have to say yes. Home Page is indeed an easy-to-use program. I had also, just prior to downloading Home Page, been playing with World Wide Web Weaver from Miracle Software Inc. While WWWW is a nice program, and will do ALL the advanced stuff many Mac users may want, it was simply a little too overwhelming to me. Oh, sure, if I had spent even half the time learning to program as I did playing Wing Commander, I would have mastered it in no time. But as I said, I had other important things to do (like playing Wing Commander!) and did not want to spend the time with it. So when I downloaded Home Page and started playing, I was blown away! Here was a program even I could learn to use. With very little effort, I could create a very attractive Web page. Simply drag my text from my open ClarisWorks document, and drop it onto Home Page. It really is just that simple! Graphics are also a breeze. Create a graphic in Clarisworks, drag it to your open Home Page document, and you’re done. A really neat feature in Home Page is that when you click on a picture, you can expand, shrink, or grow that graphic to fit the page anyway you see fit.

The best part is that while you are doing all of this in Home Page, it looks just like a word processing document, although you advanced Web Masters out there do have the option to switch over to raw HTML with the “Edit HTML Source” button. Neat.

So, now I can create my own Home Page. No muss, no fuss, no bother. I had found my perfect Web creator program. Or did I?

A few weeks later, I read a press release about Adobe’s next version of PageMill. Not all that eager to try it, as I already had Home Page and was more than happy with it, I nonetheless decided to download the beta version and give it a try. I mean, you never know, it could be even better! And I do use a few Adobe products as often as I use Clarisworks. Photoshop is a must for me, and I also use Illustrator quite often. Other than Acrobat (Good concept, bad execution) I have a very high regard for Adobe software.

I had never tried PageMill 1.0 for more than a few hours once, so I was far from any kind of expert. I did think at the time, though, that for a supposed WYSIWYG web page editor, it left much to be desired. PageMill 2.0 (beta) does not. This is a great program!

Like Home Page, PageMill lets you drag and drop text and pictures right onto your page, and has the same graphics manipulation tools as Home Page. One feature, however, that Home Page needs, and that PageMill has, is a spell checker. Yes, I must have a spell checker! (Just ask Russ!) But that alone does not make PageMill a better product.

There are key differences, however. Home Page loads three times as fast as PageMill, is a full 1MB smaller, and uses 2,000K less Ram. If your Mac has less than 8MB of memory, you would do better with Claris Home Page. PageMill, however, has MUCH better documentation than does Home Page. You can create Frames with PageMill much more easily than with Home Page. But, again, if you are running a small memory machine, be aware of the RAM requirements of PageMill.

Both of these products were tested in beta versions, so perhaps it is unfair to pit them against each other. For better or worse, though, we do live in the time of beta software, in which companies freely give away software for us to try before it ships. (Hey, nothing like free bug reports!) Both of these beta’s will expire, which means if you like either one, you’re gonna have to cough up the dough for them. Of course, after the time I spent with both, one of these products will be bought by me soon. Which one? That will depend on the street price of each when they do ship. If the price is about the same, give or take no more than twenty dollars, I will more than likely go with PageMill. If PageMill sells for anything more than that, I will buy Home Page.

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