Namos WebEditor Version 5.5

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The web is a wonderful resource, in part because it is so easy for people to share what they know by simply putting up a web page. Of course, if you have to learn HTML before you can begin, it's not so simple. But many web-authoring packages are on the market, each striving to combine ease of use with powerful features. Namo's WebEditor Version 5.5 (PC only, no Mac version) manages to be both easy to use and capable of providing remarkably powerful tools to people who don't know coding at all.

WYSIWYG
Namo uses an interface that looks a lot like the word processor you are used to, complete with drop-down menus and icons. The visual editing area is WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) so changes here reflect the way the final web page will look. You never need to view a scrap of code to build impressive web pages with Namo.


Creating a graphically rich website from scratch is easy with the Site Wizard. You begin by choosing a template, choosing or modifying the structure, then selecting from the more than 200 themes that come with the package. A theme is a very powerful way of controlling all the graphic elements of a site, from the page backgrounds to the buttons, banners, and flash elements, and have them look good together. If you are not sure which look you like, go ahead and choose anyway, because it's a snap to radically change the entire look of your site later by simply selecting another theme.

Add Your Data, Create A Gallery
Once you have the framework in place, you can begin adding your own data. What photographers will find especially useful is the way that Namo can quickly and efficiently put galleries of photographs up on the web. It uses remarkably sophisticated code to create things like JavaScript image substitutions and produce multiple linked thumbnails from your picture. All you need to do is click on tools/create photo album, then point to a folder of images. In seconds all the images are thumbnailed and placed in a table. When a visitor clicks on a small image a full-size image pops up. Depending on which options you choose, this could be in a separate window, or in an image swap window on the same page. Want drop shadows on them? Just check that box--it's one of 17 image thumbnail treatments you can choose from. Building a series of good-looking photo galleries is amazingly easy.

Namo also sports some useful image manipulation tools. While it won't substitute for Photoshop, you can adjust brightness and contrast, blur and sharpen, rotate, crop, and re-size images. You can also image slice, which can help prevent image theft from your site.

Web Design Aids
One of the frustrations many first-time web page builders run into is the limitations on web design layout. The original HTML design specifications only thought people would need left, center, and right justified text and pictures. Namo's Layout Table feature makes positioning as easy as drag and drop.

If you are familiar with HTML, the integrated source editor will make your life a bit easier. It includes a very cool tool to clean up the dirty code that usually occurs when you bring in a Microsoft Word document, and will check any code for compatibility with major browsers and HTML standards.

Getting Around
Creating a website is more than building a few good-looking pages. Your visitors will need to navigate your site to find all your great images and information you have to show them. Namo helps by building sites with a "navigational structure" similar to the way Microsoft's FrontPage does. This allows you to easily create dynamic menus and button bars that will ease your visitor's travels around your website. And if you add or move pages, all the buttons and navigation bars automatically update, which is a tremendous time-saver for anyone building a constantly changing site. This is all part of Namo's Site Manager, which also does hyperlink verification, synchronizing your local copy with the remote site and global search and replace.

As an added bonus, this version includes a vector graphics editor. Vector graphics are usually much smaller files than the usual bit map graphic files used on the web, which is great. But the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format is not read by many browsers on the market yet, so this is not as neat a feature as it seems at first glance. SVG is supposed to be incorporated in the next generation of browsers, and when that happens it will be very useful. For now, it's better to stick with Macromedia's Flash, which Namo also uses to create eye-catching buttons.

Sometimes it's the little things that help a website stand out from the other three billion pages on the Internet.
Cool effects like Smart Buttons and Flash Buttons add dynamic graphics to liven
up your site.

Need A Database?
For those more adventurous, Namo also features a Database Wizard so you can produce database-driven documents, and fully supports cascading style sheets. Its JavaScript wizard offers 18 effects, such as rollovers, drop-down menus, scrolling text, and simple animations.

Namo's WebEditor Version 5.5 is not without its problems. We did come across a few instances where items were mislabeled, or things just didn't work as they were supposed to. But those were easy issues to get around. Perhaps it's a sad commentary on the state of PC software, but we were pleased we only came across a few problems.

Namo has produced a great tool for those who want to show, and perhaps sell, their photographs on the web. But remember, it takes more than a great web design program to create great websites just as having a great camera doesn't necessarily produce great images. What Namo does do well is let you expand your creativity and imagination from photography to the web.

For more information on WebEditor Version 5.5, visit Namo's website at www.namo.com.

Chris Maher and Larry Berman are photographers, writers, and web designers, specializing in image intensive photography sites. For more information visit their websites www.InfraredDreams.com and www.BermanGraphics.com.

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