Adobe PageMill 2.0 - worth the wait
Although Adobe entered the Windows-based Web-authoring arena relatively late, Adobe PageMill 2.0 offers capabilities that make the wait worthwhile.
Its features are helpful for both new and seasoned Web-authors alike.
An intuitive editing and preview environment provides three palettes that make Web-authoring tasks easier. And when your pages are ready, an FTP uploading tool gets pages quickly on your Web site.
In addition to a colour palette and a pasteboard palette (used to hold text or graphic elements), the PageMill Inspector is key to many common operations. This floating palette includes four tabs whose controls vary contextually, depending on the type of element being edited.
In other words, while working with text, PageMill Inspector shows only options specific to text editing. When working with graphics, the PageMill Inspector's Object tab is selected, allowing the user to specify parameters for images. PageMill Inspector also has tabs for frames and forms.
A Web page would not be complete without the obligatory graphics ("eye candy" in Web-speak). PageMill provides a large collection of royalty-free JPEG and GIF files to use within your pages. With the PageMill Inspector, you can control each image's behaviour so that it acts as an ordinary picture, a button, or an image map.
For additional work, such as making a GIF transparent or interlaced, you can open the selected graphic in PageMill's included graphics applet. This applet also allows you to add hot spots for server-side image mapping.
Although graphics conversion from within PageMill won't convert all types of image formats, the bundled Photoshop 3.05 LE helps fill the gap, allowing you to convert files that PageMill will not automatically convert.
Creating HTML frames within PageMill is very intuitive. Simply holding down the control key and dragging the edge of the page window instantly creates a frame.
Other HTML documents, graphics, and tables may then be inserted.
As with frames, adding form fields is simple. PageMill supplies tool icons for placing a variety of field types.
When placing a form field, the PageMill Inspector displays appropriate parameters so you can name the field, specify a value, enter default values, set maximum lengths (for text fields), and so forth. Afterward, CGI script handlers will accept entries and process them on the Web server.
Although PageMill includes an excellent user manual and online help, context-sensitive help wasn't available within the program. In addition, right mouse clicks on any element display the same shortcut menu, rather than a menu specific to that element.
It's apparent that PageMill expects you to use the PageMill Inspector palette rather than right-clicking for most editing tasks.
Adobe PageMill 2.0 for Windows includes many extras on the CD-ROM. In addition to Photoshop LE, trial versions of various Internet-related programs are included along with sample Web sites and a large amount of royalty-free graphics.
The Bottom Line -- Adobe PageMill 2.0
Adobe PageMill 2.0, PageMill for Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 offer many features that make Web-page authoring extremely easy.
Pros: Simple frames and forms creation; drag-and-drop functionality for both text and graphics; helpful pasteboard feature for reusing page elements.
Cons: No context-sensitive help; limited graphics conversion filters; lack of font support; awkward process for inserting objects or plug-ins.
Price: RRP of $199, or $99 for an upgrade for current users.
Platforms: Windows 95, Windows NT.
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