Well-designed, easy to use Web site creation tool. (November 9th, 2007)
Product Manufacturer: Karelia Software
Price: $49.00 Standard, $79.00 Pro
- It is easy to use. Reasonably priced. Excellent design templates. Good documentation and lots of help. Leopard and Tiger compatible.
- You can not import a page or site you have created in another program You need the Pro version to do e-commerce. Tables and some other standard tools are missing.
Sandvox is an exciting web page creation software with plenty of features, designed to help you create a site with no previous experience. It is easy to make a web page or five, a blog, or photo and movie pages. You can create a group of pages for your home business, Cub Scout Den, soccer team, or church group, without knowing any HTML, CSS, or server stuff. Just drag and drop text and photos into a page.
When you open Sandvox, you can start a new site or work with one that you have already started. Unfortunately, you cannot import a site created with another program. The work space is divided into three areas. At the top is the toolbar that includes all of your creation tools. Along the left side is a list of your assets such as each page, collections, photos, and movies. The large center section contains the page you edit. Here is where you add photos or QuickTime movies, edit text, choose styles, and create links.
Sandvox sets up your site based on the template you choose. There are over forty pre-designed templates. Most designs are divided into a banner at the top, navigation bar at the left or right and an area for the main part of your page. Some of the pre-designed pages have some very nice graphics. Also available are additional designs and a tab menu design package that places navigation menus under the banner. These additions are modestly priced. If you have CSS skills, you can create your own designs or modify those provided.
Each page contains placeholder text. You can click on the type and paste in your own text or even drag in a text document. You have control over the font, size, style, alignment, and color. You can also have superscript and subscripted text.
Sandvox comes in Regular and Pro editions. The biggest difference is the ability to edit html directly. They've implemented a similar interface as QuickTime is Leopard, where Pro features are noted as such, but grayed out in the menus.
Tool BarThe Pages Menu drops down so you can choose a text, photo, download, or movie page, site map, or contact form. People can download files off your site if you like too. This is all very easy to set up.
Pagelets give function to your page. The menu lets you set up a text or photo area, a page counter, RSS Feed, show iChat status, Flickr badge, and more.
The Collection Menu provides for blogging of a trip to the beach or your daily, rants. You can post a number of articles on topics of interest. Your blog archives all of your past entries.
The Setup Host icon walks you through creating the site on the Internet or on your own hard drive. This part is not difficult, but you may need to contact your web space provider for some information before you start. The Publish icon makes contact with your server and uploads your pages to your site. Ilene had no trouble publishing pages to her .Mac account without any special set up.
The Media Icon lets you insert media from your iPhoto, iTunes, or Movie folders or favorite links from your web browser. To create a photo album you select a folder or group of photos to drag and drop into a photo album created by the collections menu or use the Media Browser. This gives you a page of thumbnails and a separate full page for each photo. The set up is very similar to creating photo pages in Photoshop, but you have less control over the sizes of the documents. To its credit, Sandvox resizes graphics automatically and puts in the needed image sizes in the html. The Inspector menu item helps you make decisions on the look and functionality of items on your page.
Sandvox at WorkIt may be a bit odd to use for those knowledgeable in HTML and CSS, because the access to some files is not straightforward. Ilene found that making some changes is more convoluted than it should be, and recommends that you watch the excellent tutorial video before diving into the program. For example, when deleting a photo, you can't select and then cut it, you must delete the Pagelet from the Edit menu.
In addition, the Publish Changes command didn't seem to work. Each change published resulted in the whole site being uploaded again. There is also one incompatibility due to a bug in Leopard. If you want to use titles that are rendered as a graphic image, they may not work. Apple is working on this problem. This problem did not affect the template Ilene used. The results of Ilene's efforts, using the Urban Forest template, are posted on her new pages in her .Mac account: Praying Mantis
OverallThis is a well-designed web page creation program. It is easy enough for the kids to use and is WYSIWYG, so you see what your page looks like before uploading it to your server. There are plenty of features to create an interesting site.
Sandvox 1.2.4 does not support tables, but according to the developer, it is the most requested feature. Drag and drop web creation, combined with pre-designed pages make page building easy with good-looking results. Sandvox is not as advanced as GoLive or Dreamweaver, but it is a great price for the novice.
You can receive help from more experienced users by signing up on Karelia's site to the Sandvox Users' Forum, which is a Yahoo email group. The list appears to be very active.