iWeb and SandVox

I have been wanting to provide some more content for the Friday.com root page for a while. But I really, really hate futzing with HTML.

Conveniently, January saw the release of two apps that might fulfill my desire to create a page that isn’t totally vomitous while also enabling me to skip the whole manual HTML tedium.

First, I gave iWeb a try. Bone simple. Beautiful product. Frightening HTML+CSS output. Integrates seamlessly with the rest of iLife. And, most importantly, allows the user to create a simple web site with zero awareness of the stupidity or limitations of HTML (hence, the frightening output).

However, iWeb doesn’t allow for the injection of customized chunks of source. I don’t need to inject much; just the Google adwords and search bars from which I derive a pittance of income over time (pays for Warcraft, anyway).

Now, some might think that this is a horrible limitation of iWeb. I believe that such a conclusion indicates a lack of understanding of the goal of the product. If you need to deal with source, you are not in the target audience of iWeb.

So, what about Sandvox? Sandvox is Karelia’s new web site design package. That it uses Core Data immediately scores bonus points (for obvious and completely irrelevant reasons).

Playing with the app, which claims to be a beta, I was immediately blown away by the fit and finish. The attention to detail is just incredible. For example, the little bar of templates below the toolbar actually tilts a bit as it scrolls to give it that extra-analog zoomy-wooshy feel. That is just awesome. And the little touches of gooey animation do not stop there…

While Sandvox allows for arbitrary HTML injection in the form of pagelets, there doesn’t seem to be any way to control the layout of said pages. Sandvox also seems to be limited to the layouts provided by the various templates. It has many more templates than iWeb, but seems to have less control over the templates.

Both neat tools. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Given the sheer idiocy of HTML, both tools do an amazing job of producing content that looks excellent with a minimum of pain to the user. Both development teams deserve a round of applause.

Unfortunately, neither tool appears to do what I want. I just want a page like the one at friday now, but with the silly ads centered and with a bit of content that I customize regularly.

Maybe in Sandvox 2.0 or iLife ’07 (assuming the pattern continues).

8 Responses to “iWeb and SandVox”

  1. Gavin Eadie says:

    Having lived with WebObjects for several years, I crave an application which allows my to operate in HTML when needed, allows dragging elements of the page design for composition, and allows me to build my page up from smaller components (header, menu sidebar, etc). iWeb and Sandvox, which I agree are excellent in their class, don’t go far enough, and GoLive and Dreamweaver are too expensive for my occasional needs.

  2. Kevin LaCoste says:

    Have you looked at RapidWeaver from RealMac? I haven’t had a chance to play with either iWeb or SandVox yet but I don’t think either of them will quite match up to what can be done with RW. At least not for a few more iterations.


  3. Zachery Bir says:

    From the Sandvox FAQ:

    Can I tweak the existing designs by changing fonts, colors, etc?

    At this point, no. This is a feature that’s on our list for a future version of Sandvox.

    Will there be a developer kit?

    Yes, probably after release. Currently there are four places that developers can plug in code: data sources (for accepting data through drag and drop), page types, pagelet types, and element types. (Elements are items common to pages and pagelets.)

    How can I make my own new page designs?

    This will require that you have skill in using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) along with an understanding of our designer’s kit (coming soon) that discusses how pages and pagelets are presented.

  4. Nathan Nutter says:

    I have been using RapidWeaver for my website, it has the same feel as iWeb and Sandvox. They are about to release a new version, but I don’t know what all the new features will be. I hope they add something like pagelets. Currently, you can either do WYSIWIG or HTML but now both.

    If you are interested I made a theme (that requires some editing) to integrate WordPress into the RapidWeaver themes, you can view my post about it.

  5. Travis Cripps says:


    As a stop-gap, you can easily center the Google ads on Friday.com by putting the Google javascript snippet in a div that is defined similarly to the content div:

    google script here.

    Of course, inline styles are mostly evil, because they’re harder to keep in sync across a site, and they add to the download size of the page on every dowload, rather than being cached if it were in a separate file. Sometimes, though, they are a necessary evil.

    Anyhow, there’s a workable solution if you don’t mind getting into the code a tiny bit.

  6. Travis Cripps says:

    Darn, that doesn’t appear to have worked. Tag stripping and all… 🙁

  7. Travis Cripps says:

    Put the Google javascript in a div with an inline style defined as:

    style="text-align: center; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"

  8. Blue SeaMonster says:

    I am a complete HTML dunce. But I have had really good experience with Freeway Others with HTML brains the size of planets, assure me that the code is really quite clean for a desktop publishing styled program.

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