Looking for Website Software

I’m a new convert to the Church of St Scriv. I’ve noticed that this seems to be a pretty knowledgeable bunch about Mac software in general and thought I would pose this question.

I used to maintain two or three websites, now mostly moribund. I’d like to revive them, but…

They were originally created with an older (pre-OS-X) version of Dreamweaver. I found the learning curve of DW to be dauntingly steep. Now I am faced with having to buy a new version of DW if I am to continue down that path. If I can avoid that I would gladly do so.

My question is… Are there newer, Mac-oriented programs that I should be looking at? I’ve heard of RapidWeaver, but don’t know very much about it. The price differential between DW and RW is attractive, but I don’t want to be sucked into something that will turn out to be inadequate or frustrating. I know I can Google this question and start sifting, but I thought I would start with the helpful folks here first.

Any advice would be gratefully received.


(Who actually does live among the dunes.)

Hi Dunesman,

Of course it always depends on your needs and preferences, but it seems to me there are three generations of website creation tools on the Mac:

If the 1st generation was text editors requiring coding skills, like SubEthaEdit, CSSEdit, Coda, BBEdit, Taco HTML Edit and the like; and the 2nd generation was the now Carbon WYSIWYG graphics apps like Dreamweaver, the now defunct Adobe GoLive, and the thriving and capable Mac-only Freeway Express and Pro requiring graphic arts skills; the 3rd generation of website tools are the ridiculously easy template-driven apps like RapidWeaver, Sandvox, iWeb, and Goldfish.

RapidWeaver, Sandvox, & iWeb are Cocoa apps offering full integration with OS X while Goldfish is Carbon and also runs on the inferior platform that most people still use.

Apple’s iWeb is probably the easiest to use and the quickest but also the least powerful and flexible of the group. It has at least three major drawbacks: it doesn’t produce standards-compliant code, it uses PNG graphics for it’s pages so that the search engines can’t read or search the text so it doesn’t rank high in search results, and it’s a closed system with no 3rd party extensions/plug-ins to extend it’s already limited functionality. It’s really meant for personal web pages esp. if you host them on .Mac or .Me or whatever they’re calling it now.

RapidWeaver is the pioneer 3rd generation Cocoa template-driven website creation tool. Sandvox was the second and has some structural advantages over RapidWeaver in my opinion including a WYSIWYG approach. A significant advantage RapidWeaver and Sandvox have over iWeb is that they produce standards-compliant code which loads faster in viewers’ browsers. Their text can also be read and found by search engines like Google while iWeb’s can’t. They also have open architectures and APIs for third party plug-ins to extend functionality as well as templates produced by third party designers in addition to the ones provided in the apps.

I started with Apple’s iWeb '06 and put together a nice site in about a week. But the '08 version didn’t let me use the site created in ‘06. The pages also take forever to load and can’t be found by the search engines so my search engine rankings are low. So I’m trying RapidWeaver since they pioneered this software genre, have an open architecture with over 20 plug-ins and over 100 templates available from 3rd party developers, have an active users’ forum, are endorsed by MacUpdate, have the best user reviews and Mac press reviews for this genre, and have many happy customers.

I’m also looking at Sandvox which is very promising and also has an open architecture altho very few 3rd party plug-ins and templates at the moment. Both are good but RapidWeaver and it’s ecosystem of third party developers makes it much more powerful and flexible than Sandvox. I’d definitely look at both but I think you’ll find RapidWeaver closer to Dreamweaver in power while much easier to learn and their forums are extremely active and helpful, much more so than Sandvox or any of the other options. If you need more power I’d look at Freeway Pro which is more like Dreamweaver but much more Mac friendly.

RapidWeaver seems to be the way to go for the future.

Hope this helps.


P.S. I’m doing a little poll here: https://forum.literatureandlatte.com/t/poll-what-is-your-favorite-website-creation-tool/4613/1

on the 9 leading options on the Mac platform so it should get some replies from people regarding the pros and cons of the various options. It’s great to have so many options to choose from these days.

Flux also looks like a really interesting up-and-comer using all the latest technologies but it’s learning curve is pretty daunting. It’s not as user friendly as the template-driven apps.


I actually do the majority of my web work writing html and css, but I do so either within Dreamweaver or BBEdit into Dreamweaver. I played with Freeway Pro for a bit once, but found the bugs and exceptions just too numerous.

For me, working within DW is just great for having close integration with Photoshop and Illustrator. Layout bits/css with code, graphics in DW/PS/AI. It just works.

Thanks for the responses. They are very helpful.