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
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.
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.
•Pentium®-class or compatible PC with DVD drive and mouse
•Microsoft® Windows® 7, Vista, or XP (32-bit) operating system
•434MB free hard disk space
•1024x768 display resolution with 16-bit color depth or higher
•Windows-compatible printer, scanner and digital camera
•Microsoft .NET 2.0 software (included for Microsoft Word & OpenOffice.org™ Writer
•Internet account and connection required for web publishing and accessing online
•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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.