Adobe GoLive: Web authoring made easy

Agencies looking to increase their World Wide Web presence need a powerful authoring tool to produce appealing Web content. With its unique design tools and friendly interface, Adobe Systems Inc.'s GoLive 4.0 may be that tool.

Version 4.0 is the first update since Adobe acquired the product from GoLive Systems Inc. and the first version to run on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows platform. Some of the new features in this upgrade are support for WebObjects 4, Apple Computer Inc.'s development environment for dynamic Web pages, as well as support for Extensible Markup Language and Microsoft Active Server Pages. One feature missed on this upgrade is a multiple undo function with an action history similar to Photoshop, which would be a handy tool for those designers who want the freedom to be creative without having to worry about getting back home.

Installation was easy using the standard Adobe install wizard. The application requires 50M of disk space, and the total installation time was about five minutes. A 200 MHz Pentium processor with 32M of RAM is recommended to run GoLive.

The program's documentation offers a great tutorial chapter for users to become familiar with the program. It takes users step by step through creating their first page.

We particularly liked the many ways we could view and edit pages in GoLive. The main layout view enabled us to visually assemble pages and move elements around freely. GoLive allows precise positioning and resizing of images, tables and text boxes using a grid and ruler.

There also is a source editor that displays raw Hypertext Markup Language, for those who still like to type code. The structured source editor displays HTML code in a color-coded formatted outline, making reviewing and editing code easier.

All of GoLive's editing tools are arranged in eight palettes. Users can drag and drop elements, such as text, images, frames and buttons, directly on their page, or they can drag elements between pages to give their site a consistent look.

Point and shoot also is a nice feature that significantly speeds up Web authoring. With point and shoot, we were able to link elements or pages simply by clicking on the page to which we wanted to link. The floating inspector palette also is very useful. It enables users to view, edit or modify page element parameters and view files interactively, without wasting time opening and closing dialog boxes.

Graphic designers will be pleased to have pixel-level control of elements similar to traditional publishing tools along with multimedia features, such as a QuickTime editor. Though no multimedia support is available for formats such as RealVideo, the new QuickTime editor is a powerful tool for adding life to your Web site.

Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to GoLive is its lack of database connectivity. That means users won't be able to design pages that collect information from site visitors and put it in a relational database. Nor can they offer fields on pages where users can search for data or inventory information stored in an agency's relational database. If database integration is a concern, users may want to look at other high-end tools, such as Allaire Corp.'s ColdFusion Studio 4.0.

GoLive also lacks templates for creating stylized pages quickly, such as those provided by Microsoft's FrontPage. But with the program's superb site management tools, it's easy to rough out a site and then apply these styles to other pages.

Many agencies today have a mixed-platform environment, and thanks to this Windows version, GoLive joins the ranks of other programs as a cross-platform Web authoring solution. However, it would be nice if GoLive had some collaboration features that products such as FrontPage offer to enable workgroup access.

Still, if users are not looking for a workgroup design tool and they don't need database connectivity, GoLive is a powerful cross-platform Web authoring solution.

-- Plonka is an editorial assistant for the InfoWorld Test Center. She can be reached at jennifer_plonka@infoworld.com.

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GoLive 4.0Adobe Systems Inc.(408) 536-6000www.adobe.com

Price and Availability: Available on the open market. The price for the full version of Adobe GoLive 4.0 is $299, while the upgrade for registered GoLive CyberStudio 3.x owners is $99.

Remarks: This industrial-strength Web authoring tool could save agencies time and resources by enabling designers to work the way they want and not requiring the additional expense of employing someone to write code. GoLive also is a cross-platform Web authoring solution for agencies in a mixed Macintosh/PC environment. The product lacks collaboration within a workgroup and doesn't support database connectivity like other high-end Web authoring tools.

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