Create stylish, feature-packed websites, no HTML experience required
Xara Web Designer MX 8 is a template-based design tool which makes it quick and easy to create quality websites.
Browse the program's Designs Gallery, for instance, and you'll find 33 professionally-produced multipage web designs, each of which has several colour schemes available. And if you open one of these, and replace its default text and images with your own, then you'll have a fully working website: it really can be as easy as that.
Reopen the Designs Gallery, though, and you'll find plenty of other ways to enhance your site. Like buttons, heading, navigation bars, photos, icons, and clipart. Just drag and drop an item onto your page and customise it to suit your needs.
If you'd like to add some interactivity to your site then you'll appreciate the program's widgets. You can embed YouTube videos on your pages, photo slideshows, media players, contact forms, news headlines, RSS feeds and more.
All of this can be further tweaked or rearranged to suit your needs (you can even build a site from scratch if the bundled templates don't appeal). And once you've finished, the program will even put the site online for you, either at your own web host or using the free web space at MAGIX Online World.
Xara Web Designer MX 8 is a very capable tool, but if you need more power then you may prefer the Premium edition. This adds tools to create presentations, animations (Flash and GIF) and sitemaps, for instance. You get many more photo options, including the ability to manipulate your photos with Photoshop plugins (there are 40 to get you started). Text styles make it far easier to adjust the appearance of text across your site, in just a click or two. And there's a screen capture tool, HTML 5 video support, more import and export options, more widgets, themes and content in general, and even your choice of top level domain name, free for a year, which you can use with the program's free hosting to get your site online.
Review by Mike Williams.