NetObjects Fusion 7.5

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The best HTML-free route to foolproof professional results.

NetObjects Fusion puts site structuring at the heart of web design.

NetObjects Fusion 7.5 calls itself “the smart way to build web sites” and it’s hard to disagree as the program is simple, surprisingly powerful and creates impressive end results.

The secret of the program’s success is its clean and streamlined workflow based on various modules or “views” accessed from the large graphical toolbar. The first and in many ways the most important of these views is the Site view which provides an attractive hieararchical, family-tree style view of your site structure. You can quickly rough out your structure with the step-by-step Site Wizard but it’s just as easy to add, name and rearrange your pages from scratch.

Crucially, when you switch to Fusion’s Page view, you’ll see that this site hierarchy has been used to automatically add dynamic navigation bars (either as text links, image rollovers or even multi-level flyout menus) and these can be quickly customized, say, to link to all pages at the same level in the same section. At a stroke one of the web designer’s biggest headaches, maintaining site navigation, is removed.

Adding the rest of your page content in the Page view is just as simple as Fusion provides a wysiwyg layout editor in which you drag and drop freeform text boxes to create your layout while tag and CSS-based formatting is handled via the Properties palette. You can also add graphics, form objects, rotating banners, Flash movies and even advanced data-driven elements.

Moving on to the Styles view, you select from a reasonably wide range of pre-provided visual themes with more available via add-on packs. Select a theme and everything from the default banner and navigation bar down to heading and link formatting is updated across the entire site. Next you’re ready to switch to the Assets view to manage all the elements that make up your site and then finally to the Publish view to output your pages and all their associated files and to upload them to your server.

It’s almost impossible to go wrong and the results are almost bound to look good. However it’s important to realize that NetObjects Fusion has the same fundamental limitation as Web Easy Professional and WebPlus - because it saves your site to its own proprietary format and only produces the final HTML pages during the publishing process, there’s no possibility of the user taking serious coding control. In other words you have to take what you’re given and that’s not necessarily the most efficient or powerful solution.


Ease of Use
Value for Money

ratings out of 6

Tom Arah

April 2004


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