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So, I built my first website yesterday using iWeb from Apple. The entire iLife suite is pretty cool, and really does integrate like they say.

Now, to be fair, the product is young, and it certwainly need some work, but overall — WOW. It was so easy! Click “Complete Story” below for some observations.

1. If you use funky fonts, your text is transformed into PNGs. This is generally ok by me, but it makes it impossible to edit anywhere except in iWeb.

2. There is no way, apparently, or at least no easy way, to delete text blocks once you creat them. Sure, it’s easy to just blank them out and ignore them, since they won’t effect layout. However, they do add A LOT of crap to the code, and I’m sure that eventually, it will make the page load slower.

3. The navigation menu is smart, but that’s about it. You can’t style it. You can’t add buttons. You can change the font at all. You can’t use images. Period. It’s simple text, across the top of the page, period.

4. Each page creates its own subfolder including a BUNCH of files that are replicate elsewhere, making each “site” a lot bigger than it needs to be.

Now, on to the positives.

1. I built, and then redesigned and rebuilt, my entire site in about 1.5 hours, about 3/4 of which was content creation. The site building itself took minutes. All of this time includes launching and figuring out how to use iWeb. Pretty impressive.

2. Layout control and styles are pretty much dead easy. You do whatever you want in whatever fonts you like, and iWeb compensates.

3. Image uploads and integration – painless. iTunes access – slick. iPhoto and iMovie overlap – easy. iLife integration: top notch.

Lastly, suggestions for immediate improvement:

1. Navigation menu styling is A MUST.
2. We’re looking for the ability to upload to a third party FTP server. I don’t want to publish and re-upload.
3. Option to convert site to useable web fonts or publish text to an image would be nice.
4. How about a simple way to apply changes to all pages? Like page width, background color, gradient, etc.

Overall rating: B+. Awesome for a first release.

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