V-Com WebEasy Professional 5

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Verdict: Easy: yes. Professional: no.

Set up is easy with Web Easy Professional - but customization isn’t.

As its name suggests, the emphasis in V-Com’s Web Easy Professional is very much on ease of use. The promise is that you can produce an eye-catching professional site without ever needing to know what an HTML tag is.

Key to this is Web Easy Professional’s use of predefined site templates with over 120 provided. These templates don’t just define a look-and-feel for your site, they define the pages and even the text that they contain. Using the Website Assistant for example you can choose a template from the Business category, fill in information about your company and its products and services and when you click Finish, the entire site appears.

Creating a site by picking one off-the-shelf like this is all very well in theory but out in the real world you’re going to need to be able to customize the results. However this is strangely awkward in Web Easy Professional. Double-clicking a text block lets you edit your copy but any formatting that you apply immediately disappears unless you first turn it into “Rich Text”. Even then the control is limited – I couldn’t see any obvious way to apply bold for example. Even stranger, when I added extra copy it ended up overrunning the text block below which goes completely against HTML’s inherent text-flow nature. Worse, when I previewed the page in a browser I discovered that the text block had been turned into a bitmap which means that it becomes unselectable, invisible to search engines and unnecessarily download-heavy.

Web Easy Professional’s layout and text handling are poor but the program is much happier when it comes to graphics. Running across the bottom of the screen is the “lightbox browser” palette which displays thumbnails of over 150 file formats including Flash and animated GIF which you can drag and drop onto your layouts. The program also provides access to over 30,000 images online with another 30,000 on the CD and you can draw your own basic boxes, ovals and lines.

Also helping to add impact to your site is Web Easy Professional’s support for DHTML-based scripted effects. These start off with simple but effective image rollovers, move on to unnecessary but eye-catching page transitions and photo-based wipes and fades and end up with over-the-top and undesirable effects such as page elements zooming in from all corners.

Overall there’s no doubt that some of Web Easy Professional’s pre-made sites are eye-catching and, if you’re happy to go with what you’re given, you can have a high-impact - though not necessarily efficient - site up-and-running in short order.

Ease of Use
Value for Money

ratings out of 6

Tom Arah

April 2004


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