Adobe Go Live 5.0
The Dilettante’s Corner
That’s right, I said dilettante. I don’t get a macho charge out of bragging about how difficult it is to run my system. I don’t much care what’s going on under the hood of my iBook. I use it to work and on occasion, play. My computers are tools, they’re supposed to accommodate me, not vise versa. That’s why, whenever possible, I use a Macintosh.
My usual work is writing TV cartoons, comic books and various opinion columns on mass media. At the kind invitation of the editors of this site, I’m going to use my space here to review software and other products that, in theory, will improve my Macintosh user experience. My reviews will be based on the principle that software should be intuitive, powerful and reasonably idiot-proof. I present myself as the benchmark idiot.
First up is Adobe GoLive 5.0, a web site creation and organizational tool that frankly, offers way more power than I need at this point, not that I’m complaining, mind you. About a year ago, I threw up a quick and dirty web site, mostly as a self-promotional tool but also as a central home for the answers to frequently asked questions about my publications. I copied HTML from other people’s sites and wrote the thing in Microsoft Word. This was far from the best way to go about this, but what did I know? When I got a copy of Claris Home Page, I thought I’d died and gone to Vegas with an unlimited expense account. As you might imagine, I’m pretty damned happy with GoLive.
I installed GoLive from a CD on my desktop machine (an ancient Power Mac 6500 with a G3 card) without incident. The program loads quickly and has an interface not unfamiliar to anyone who has ever used Photoshop. The quick start card had just about everything on it I needed to dive right in, but when I needed more detailed instructions, the manual provided clear and plentiful documentation.
Right out of the box, after playing with the tutorial for about 10 minutes, I imported my entire sprawling mess of a site into GoLive 5 and used its powerful organizational tools to begin taming things. I was able to create a clean template for my site design (as I did it myself, I use the term “design” loosely but you know what I mean). I then imported all my ragged old pages into my nice clean new layout. The “Grid” feature allowed a remarkable amount of control in terms of actually placing design elements where I wanted them. Who knew? Although I don’t use DHTML on my site, I experimented with it for the purposes of this review. GoLive 5 implements floating boxes and graphics. This offers amazing new possibilities in terms of the look and feel of your pages. Once the majority of the browsers in use out there can handle them cleanly, I intend to use them on my site (perhaps that time has already come, but I’d rather err on the side of caution).
A feature I’m particularly fond of is the “Site Window“, which offers a graphical representation of your entire site’s layout. This is especially useful if you want to make your site easier to navigate. Trust me, I did.
I cleaned up my page layouts, fixed my many broken hyperlinks (which the program found for me), compressed my bloated picture files, then re-uploaded my new and improved site in a matter of hours, counting my learning curve. While I was at it, I created some new picture files in Adobe Photoshop, then dropped them into existing pages, all without leaving GoLive. I’m not sure this is actually all that useful but it is pretty neat. A few days later, just for the hell of it, I added a bit of interactivity to the site, quickly creating rollovers for my navigation bar. Finally, I used the very handy feature that allowed me to get a look at how my page displayed under various browsers. Eventually, I was able to fine-tune my site layout to an acceptable compromise that looks pretty good under all of the major browsers. Mission accomplished.
Uploading my new and improved site was simple. It took less than a minute set up my FTP preferences and I was able to make the transfer without incident.
Adobe GoLive 5 passes Dwayne’s idiot-proof test for ease of use and flexibility with flying, web-safe colors. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the program’s more advanced features, so if you’re a power-user or a professional, I suggest you look at reviews from specialty publications before making a decision. For the rest of us, I’d highly recommend GoLive 5 for our web site creation and maintenance needs. Yes, it’s pricey but it’ll get the job done and then some.
WYSIWYG Cascading Style Sheets
Create and control floating layers.
Upload or download individual Web pages or an entire Web site via FTP
Design, create, edit, and view an entire site or import existing sites.
Automatically check HTML syntax, including compatibility with different browsers.
Much more. See Adobe’s web site for complete feature list.
Power Macintosh. Mac OS 8.6 or higher. 48MB of available RAM. 70MB free Hard Drive space.
Intel Pentium 200 MHz (or faster) or compatible processor. Microsoft Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0 (or later) with Service Pack 3, or Windows 2000 operating system. 48 MB of available RAM for Windows 98. 64 MB of available RAM for Windows NT 4.0. 50MB free Hard Drive Space.
MyMac Rating: 4 out of 5