NetObjects Fusion 7.0

  machow 14:27 12 Apr 04
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Hello. Can you tell me, is this any good? All i have used in the past is Frontpage.

thanks for replies

Although I,ve recently switched to Dreamweaver I would say that Net Objects Fusion is a pretty good package (particularly if you're getting it free with a 1&1 hosting package)

I used NOF to create the first few versions of my website [ click here ] and found it fairly simple to use despite being a total web design novice. I found it difficult to achieve certain things though and wonder if that was just me or the program itself. Always keep a backup of your work as the layout can go completely pear-shaped and its hard to get it back.

Horiz

  Forum Editor 18:59 12 Apr 04

and horiz5's site is a good example of what can be done. Like some other web design applications, NOF has capabilities that aren't immediately apparent, and the better you know it the more you'll realise that.

  machow 21:06 12 Apr 04

Thanks, i like your site horiz!
I have tried dreamweaver, but only very briefly, and have never actually built a site using it.

Is it easier to start using something like NOF, and then work my way up to using Dreamweaver.

Is there a difference between NOF MX which is free this month on the magazine, and NOF 7.0?

  Taran 21:59 12 Apr 04

NOF 7+ is the same visual layout to NOF MX, but it has lots more built into the program.

There are more features to play with in version 7+ and many existing features have been greatly imporoved. There are more gadgets, site and page templates, better site management, publishing and so on.

It's pretty much a natural evolution rather than a completely new program/interface, so if you are used to NOF MX you'll be working straight away with version 7+, without a new learning curve for the basics, which are all the same as MX.

NOF is certainly easier in all respects than Dreamweaver. You can also program dynamic sites in NOF, so in reality you can go right to the top of the web application tree with it, if you know how.

It (NOF) does produce a lot of code though and there is no denying that other programs can often produce 'cleaner' code - that is, the same visual appearance may be obtained by using less and more efficient code than NOF somtimes outputs.

Dreamweaver is excellent but its learning curve can be very steep. It is not a beginners program and experience of web design using any other software program can stand you in good stead when trying to learn another software application. I personally think that Dreamweaver is overrated and although it is a superb program you can get just as much if not more from other alternatives.

The latest version of FrontPage, as an example, is far less expensive than Dreamweaver and far more capable in a great many areas. Adobe GoLive is also excellent if you want to go in at the high end, but is about the same cost as Dreamweaver.

Even if you are familiar with logical site structure and page layout concepts in any web designing program it will help you grasp Dreamweaver.

Here are some cost examples for you:

Adobe GoLive 6 £110 (from Amazon UK), Adobe GoLive CS £335.00 (from Adobe.com), Dreamweaver MX 2004 £348-99(from Amazon UK), FrontPage 2003 £99-99(from Amazon UK), NetObjects Fusion 7.5 around £120 [full] or around £45 [upgrade] (from NetObjects.com).

  Forum Editor 23:58 12 Apr 04

that he thinks that DreamWeaver is overrated - I've thought exactly the same thing for some time.

The idea that if you don't use DreamWeaver you can't design professionally is rather like the attitude you sometimes get in photographic circles - if you don't use a certain type of camera you can't be a professional.

It's all absolute nonsense of course. You can take fine photographs with a basic camera, and you can design superb web sites with other software than DreamWeaver. That isn't to say that Bronicas and DreamWeaver aren't superb tools - they are - but creative flair is far more important than a big name on a case or in a program list.

DreamWeaver is respected for its power, and rightly so, but it isn't the answer to all design problems, and using it will not guarantee that you'll end up with a wonderful web site. FrontPage 2003 is far and away the best ever incarnation of this well-known application, and is rapidly shaking off the rather bad reputation it inherited from some of its earlier forbears. NOF in its latest version is extremely good, and I recommend it because of its no-nonsense approach to web-design. It dispenses with the air of mystique that surrounds DreamWeaver and enables inexperienced designers to get on with the job. More experienced users can get a lot more out of it than appears to be possible at first glance, and if your budget only runs to one application make it NOF.

FrontPage is in a class of its own in certain respects, and when it comes to working with data sources it leaves DreamWeaver standing. I like FP - I started using it several years ago, and confess that I became hooked on its often quirky behaviour . It feels like an old friend now, and when a the client's brief calls for a site that has to be online in double-quick time, and at a budget price I find myself turning to FP first. It's never let me down yet, and I look forward to the next version with great interest.

  barryoneoff.co.uk 00:59 13 Apr 04

is that I find it excellent. I can now knock up a decent site in next no time.

Never having used DW or FP I can't give you a comparisom, but I have a few sites up and running, all using NOF 7

Cheers, Whiz...

  machow 12:26 14 Apr 04

Thanks. That made it much easier for me to make a decision. Think i will splash out on NOF 7.5.

Thanks for all your thoughts.

  Holographic_man 21:41 14 Apr 04

machow this is my first ever site click here and I am happy with it and so is the group. It may not be a top notch site but it proves that in a weekend one can put up a web site with NOF, try it I will be certain you will get along fine with it.

I have none of the experience of either Taran or the Forum Editor so perhaps I would be out of turn to speak.

However I believe, and i do agree that NOF is an excellent package, that it is only easy for beginners in certain ways. My personal experiences with it were tat it was fairly difficult to get it to do what You want. great if you want to use the inbuilt styles and templates (and yes it has a good supply of those)but it is fairly awkward if you want to use you own custom style, I found that just setting the bakground colour to be a case of really having to force the issue.

the real bugbear comes when you are perhaps a month or two into your learning experience, NOF makes it very difficult for you to work with the actual HTML code. I appreciate that it's nice to be insulated from that in the very beginning but it's never long before you want to paste in some HTML (for an Amazon ad for instance to use a current problem one of our fellows in the forum is having)


In truth and I re-iterate that my experience is limited, I find that Dreamweaver is much easier for a novice to use. OK give a two year a tricycle but if you wanted to teach an adult to ride surely you'd put her straight onto a bicycle? Dreamweaver gives you much easier access to the actual code, and I would argue that the properties inspector is much easier to use than the corresponding part of NOF. Add to that the excellent tutorials built in to dreamweaver and the plethora of third party tutorials available on the net and it's hard to see how Dreamweaver couldn,t be recommended for a beginner.

To sum up: The crunch is perhaps the price, the true power of dreamweaver is only unleashed when itegrated into StudioMX which goes for what 800 quid! (only 200 if you can swing the student licence for which the criteria are Very loose) compare that with less than £100 for NOF (or free with a 1&1 hosting package)and its hard to say buy Dreamweaver. I just want to dispel a myth that dreamweaver is difficult for a beginner I really don't believe that.

You could side-step that debate and sign up microsoft hosting with 1&1 and get Front Page 2002 for free. anyway I'll get my coat, yours The Devils Advocate. H.

  Taran 11:42 15 Apr 04

Very valid points.

It's always difficult to strike a balance when recommending a product between something that is easy to use to get a site up and running and one that is also flexible enough to allow serious custom editing.

FrontPage allows absolute control over the source HTML as well as having a ton of templates and themes [the equivalent of NetObjects site Styles] and is in a similar price range to buy, so in that case it is well worth considering as a program for both beginning and taking to higher levels.

Having taught e-commerce and software engineering at a large college I can say that almost all of my students find FrontPage easier to work with than anything else, mainly because it is an Office application clone and shares many of the Word toolbar icons people are used to using on a daily basis.

Those students that tried NetObjects also found it easy to quickly generate a site [which is its real strength] although you are right in that accessing the underlying code can become a problem.

All of them though, found Dreamweaver far more complex as an overall package and far more difficult to get a good grasp on. Learning a few basics in Dreamweaver is all well and good, but accessing many of its features really requires a lot of combination sumbenus and whatnot. It can sometimes bake your noodle and while I'd agree that is offers more general control over your page[s] or site, this comes at a penalty if you have never created a web page in your life and have no idea where or how to start.

Once you get the hang of creating your own images and using them for your own site styles in NetObjects it can really open up a whole new world, and although NetObjects tries to stop you from meddling with the source code of a page it does so for a lot of good reasons and based on the probable audience that tends to buy and use it.

NetObjects is basically trying to protect and preserve your site by preventing you from meddling with its code too much in case you break it. I recently downloaded the Database Component for NetObjects and it allows full PHP, ASP and ColdFusion dynamic page content to be generated on a point and click basis, allowing you to create a dynamic site quite easily and very quickly.

So it's a difficult choice no matter which way you want to go. NetObjects and FrontPage combined come to less than the cost of Dreamweaver and I'd agree completely that one very real option is to buy a hosting package with 1&1 and plump for their free software.

But since NetObjects Fusion MX is on the current PC Advisor magazine cover CD, that means you don't have to buy anything but the magazine to get up and running...

;o)

On a personal note I'm using Dreamweaver less and less now in favour of FrontPage 2003 and Adobe GoLive, which is a truly incredible program, if a little expensive.

I've also gone right back to some of the simpler editors and I do a great deal of work with HTML Kit and TopStyle Pro now. HTML Kit is an old favourite and if you already know or want to learn code you can create some very clean results with it in no time at all and it's free for most users.

There are more plug-ins for it than you can shake a stick at for just about all web and programming languages, it features code tag autocomplete, FTP, page preview and it can be registered if you want to for $55 which entitles you to some great add-on components for generating tables, analyzing web site stats, and all kinds of other nice things. click here for details.

That's value for money !

T

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