Serif's WebPlus has been around a good while. It started life as a budget alternative to the likes of Adobe's pro-level Dreamweaver, in the days when the only way to design a web site was to hard code it in HTML or build it like a page in a desktop publisher (DTP).
Serif has done its best to move with the times, introducing many of the features of its online competitors as widgets that can be added to a page. In the latest version, for example, you can add site search, Google Maps, Google AdSense, YouTube videos and captcha codes (to prevent spamming), just by dragging and dropping smart objects. See also: Group test: what's the best web-design software?
When you start the program, the analogy to DTP is strong, with the editing pane bordered on the left by a toolbox and multi-pane box of objects and on the right by palettes of colours, a site navigator and object alignment tools.
In the same way as most of the online offerings, Serif has provided a bank of pre-designed templates, where you can simply change the text and images to personalise each page for your own use.
Many of these are provided in dual formats, for PC screen and mobile device, so the design can be consistent on both platforms. Some of these templates are provided with WebPlus X6, some are free downloads and some are charged extras, with prices starting from £8.
New features in version X6 include the ability to add live feeds from Facebook, Twitter and Google+, a site structure view showing thumbnails of pages and their links and a site wizard which handles the basics of a new site, like number and size of pages and the navigation bar.
Serif provides web hosting, but only one month is free at its lowest service level. This means you'll have to opt for something like the Gold package which offers 2GB web space and 25GB of traffic for £40 per year. Add that to the cost of WebPlus X6 itself and you’re looking at £122 for the first year. This looks pricey against the competition, though costs do fall later.
Next page - review by Clare Brandt, from 18/08/12