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WebPlus X6 Review

What’s WebPlus X6

WebPlus is Serif’s web design software aimed at beginners and professionals alike, it’s core advantage over other web design software is it’s ease of use and affordability, it brings web design to the masses. Each new version of the software has brought with it incremental changes, which has always been a good thing for beginners and people who just want a simple websites, although sometimes it lacked some top end features that more professional users and those that design websites for a living want. All in all it has always been an amazing piece of software, but each new versions risks upsetting that winning formula and pushing WebPlus into being a product that is either too complicated or too underpowered, something Serif would really want to avoid.

 

Why so soon?

The release of WebPlus X6 almost a year after X5 comes as a shock to most people given that past releases have seen 18 months pass between releases. So is the release of X6 a pleasant surprise or an unwelcome visitor. Let’s find out.

 

The packaging

Starting with the packaging X6 retains the green colour of previous versions, and re-iterates the all important “No HTML coding” icon. The only notable items on the box are the “Sites for all devices” graphic in the bottom right, a reference that you can now create mobile sites with X6, and “Social Networking Gadgets” which seems a little ambiguous but refers to adding Twitter and Facebook feeds. Beyond that there isn’t much new mentioned.

 

 

System Requirements

Minimum requirements

•Pentium®-class or compatible PC with DVD drive and mouse

•Microsoft® Windows® 7, Vista, or XP (32-bit) operating system

•512MB RAM

•434MB free hard disk space

•1024x768 display resolution with 16-bit color depth or higher

 

Optional requirements

•Windows-compatible printer, scanner and digital camera

•Microsoft .NET 2.0 software (included for Microsoft Word & OpenOffice.org™ Writer document import)

•Internet account and connection required for web publishing and accessing online resources

•Adobe® Flash® Player plug-in required for viewing online videos

•Microsoft ‘Windows Imaging Component’ required in Windows XP

 

In terms of system requirements, there isn’t much change from WebPlus X5, the only difference being that the hard drive requirement has gone from 340MB to 434MB, which is only a fractional increase in today’s gigabyte and terabyte world.

 

 

First Impressions

Installation was a simple process that took less than 5 minutes, and starting the WebPlus X6 I was presented with the usual Startup Wizard that I have come to expect from Serif. If you decide to design a site based on a template then you are presented with the Create New Site From Template which includes roughly the same number of templates as X5 except there are now some mobile templates to choose from as well. If you decide to create a site from scratch you are guided through some steps such as giving it a name, the publishing address, and the site size, again for mobile optimization, after that you have to choose scheme colours and assets, of course all of this can be avoided by clicking the close button if you so desire.   

Site Templates

New Site Size Options

Now this is where the fun begins, initially I expected to do this review and talk about maybe a few incremental changes that Serif has made from WebPlus X5 to X6 but it quickly became apparent that WebPlus X6 has a whole raft of changes, some of them subtle and some of them pretty obvious. I’ll run though as many changes as I can without boring you.

 

 

Gone is the bottom panel, aka Media Bar, QuickBuilder Bar

The first most obvious thing that is different is the bottom panel which has been present since I first started to use WebPlus since X2, but is now gone. The QuickBuilder has been moved to the left panel, and Media Bar is, I assume, the Pictures tab under Assets. Talking of Assets, it’s a new panel from which you can add your pictures, graphics, slider, buttons and other elements, once you have all the assets you can actually save these as an asset pack for that project, or open the asset pack for any other project you are using. You should start to get use to using the asset panel I have a feeling it’s going to be frequently accessed. If you need to save space you can move the asset panel to the right side panel and close the left panel.

Next >>

Site Properties

Since WebPlus X2 Site Properties was the first place I would go to when starting a project, so imagine my shock when I clicked File, and looked for Site Properties only to find it missing, did I have a duff copy of X6? Had Serif forgotten Site Properties? After a quick Help search it turns out Site Properties now sits under Edit. I’m sure this will confuse many long time users. The good news is there are some gems here;

 

- Multiple background images, so you can have separate headers and footer span across the background, a long requested feature.

- Under HTML header you can remove the Meta tag Generator, which displayed the software used to create the site, i.e. WebPlus a bane for web designers.

- Date picker settings, which now means you have a calendar for picking dates when using forms.

- Google and Bing validation, allows you to add validation files from Google and Bing to prove you own the site, especially important as these files now need to always be present, and can accidentally be deleted sometimes.  

Asset panel on the left

Asset manager