Claris Home Page 3.0
Wednesday 28th January, 1998
Claris has been under pressure in the Web-editing market following the release of DreamWeaver, CyberStudio 2 and FrontPage and with Adobe bundling SiteMill free with PageMill. The company has responded by releasing Home Page 3.0, which includes SiteMill-type functionality, better editing tools and close ties with FileMaker.
Home Page 3.0 allows you to create and manage whole sites as well as individual HTML pages. Each site you create is stored in a folder alongside a related ‘.wst’ file. You can even ‘import’ older sites into Home Page by opening the folder containing the site.
The Site window lets you view each file within a site, and each sub-folder. You can create new pages within a site by clicking a button in the toolbar. But you can’t create new sub-folders. You can specify which suffix to use (either ‘html’ or the more PC-compatible ‘htm’) in the Preferences dialog, but if you decide to opt for ‘html’ then you’ll receive a warning that ‘your file may not work with your Web server’ when you save. This becomes annoying after about five pages.
The program now lets you perform site-wide formatting and search and replaces. You simply select the pages you want to change, and then make your choices in the Document Options dialog.
There’s also an option to ‘consolidate’ the site by moving referenced image files into an ‘image’ folder, either one per site, or one per sub-folder within a site. This is great for cleaning up a site prior to upload. Home Page will also check the links within the site for you, but unlike SiteMill, any problems with links are not displayed graphically; they have to be fixed as the check progresses, using a rudimentary search and replace box. For beginners this could be a little daunting. Once you’ve finished your site, you can fill in your service provider’s details and have Home Page upload your entire site for you.
Home Page 3.0 also includes page and site templates, as well as Assistants which can build pages, frame sets, or whole sites based on your answers to simple questions.
But these approaches only produce simple skeletal structures, albeit with clear and well-designed pages. You then need to go in and edit the page content.
On the editing side, there have also been a few worthwhile improvements. No matter how good your main editor is, you’ll always find yourself moving your HTML files between applications. One minute you’re laying out a table in a wysiwyg editor, the next you’re tweaking the HTML by hand in a text editor, the next you’re seeing what an awful mess Internet Explorer will make when displaying it, and so on.
The biggest problem when working with wysiwyg editors, is that any HTML that you’ve written by hand often gets reformatted when you re-edit a page. This isn’t just the spaces and returns: editors often add characters and sometimes even entirely re-code the HTML - not a pleasant sight.
Claris appears to have listened to complaints. It claims Home Page will leave your own HTML content alone - it won’t re-arrange or re-code any HTML you write, although it will still use syntax-colouring, which can be turned off under the Preferences dialog. There are also preferences for whether to date stamp, to insert meta information at the beginning of files, or to include those annoying X-CLARIS tags. If you are someone who rolls their own HTML and you’ve worked with Home Page in the past, you’ll realise how very much easier to read this will make the HTML.
The other big reason for using Home Page is its support for CDML (Claris Dynamic Markup Language) , and if you use FileMaker, then this probably makes it a must. Home Page lets you design Web pages for use as FileMaker Pro 4 format files without too much messing about with HTML and CDML tags.
The FileMaker Connection Assistant that takes a step-by-step approach to building the required format files for a specified FileMaker database. This produces a bearable solution, but the interface it creates for editing and updating records is strange. Alternatively, there’s a complete library of FileMaker tags available as a standard content library, so you can drag and drop the various FileMaker component tags onto your page to suit your own design.
There are, of course, improvements to other Home Page features, too - good library content files, improved handling of the already excellent table editing, multiple browser preview selection and so on. Claris has created a solid upgrade, without the Word 6.0 syndrome software bloat. Web junkies will probably want to look at GoLive CyberStudio 2 or Macromedia DreamWeaver, but Home Page 3.0 is aimed squarely at the beginner-to-intermediate market, and if that’s what you’re looking for, it won’t disappoint.
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|Pros||FileMaker integration ˜ Good assistants and templates ˜ Improved editing tools|
|Cons||No exact positioning ˜ Site management interface could be improved|
|Originally Published||MacUser, Volume: 14, Issue: 02, p28|