Trellix Web: No experience needed

Small agencies that want to start a World Wide Web presence or intranet quickly, inexpensively and easily should give Trellix Corp.'s Trellix Web 2.1.5 a look. This new version of Trellix offers nearly all the features of Trellix 2.0 [FCW, March 8], and adds a handy One-Step Publish feature that makes it ridiculously easy to create a Web site.

Trellix Web's ease of use is apparent from the beginning. The software requires only 20M to 30M of disk space. (For optimal performance, it is recommended that Microsoft Corp. Windows 95/98 users have at least 24M of RAM and Windows NT users have 32M of RAM to run the software.) The installation process took only four minutes, including a system-prompted reboot of our machine.

Trellix Web has the friendly feel of Microsoft's PowerPoint and other presentation-design software. It contains a variety of pre-defined templates that can give a Web page a casual or professional look. But don't worry: If you decide later that you don't like a design you've chosen, changing the appearance of an entire page involves only a couple of clicks. Adding hypertext links that lead to other parts of your site or to external sources simply involves highlighting the text, right-clicking the mouse and specifying the link's destination by typing a Uniform Resource Locator or clicking on the desired page within the site.

Users can select pages to edit by using Trellix Web's convenient site map feature, which displays a graphical representation of the Web site at the top of the screen in the hierarchical style of an organizational chart, with the home page at the top and subordinate pages underneath. This map also can be published with the Web site, creating a helpful navigation tool for visitors.

Novices at Web site design will appreciate the neat, easy-to-follow introduction to the Internet and Web site creation included with the Trellix Web design software. When users run the program, they can choose to view the tutorial information, launch right into creating a new Web page or load an existing page from disk with a couple of clicks.

All users, regardless of experience level, probably will need to consult the online help at some point if they try performing some of the more advanced functions, but Trellix Web is very user-friendly, providing step-by-step instructions and detailed overviews of even its most advanced features.

One of these features is a big standout: Trellix's One-Step Publish, which automates the steps required to transition a site from the desktop designing phase to the Web or an intranet. One-Step Publish is smart. When a user accesses the Publish-to-Web function, the program automatically compares the recently edited Web page on disk to its online counterpart, identifying and updating pages that have changed, reconfiguring updated links and removing any unnecessary files. After activating the One-Step Publish function, we watched a progress indicator while Trellix Web did the work.

Although One-Step Publish works best if users are signed up with one of the Web hosting companies that have agreements with Trellix, users can utilize any Web hosting company if they provide the application with some basic information, such as FTP data, for the Web publishing servers.

When users publish their Web pages, Trellix Web exports them into Hypertext Markup Language 3.2. The application also supports "pass through" HTML, a feature that enables HTML gurus to insert some of the more advanced codes of the language into their Trellix-designed Web pages. Another of Trellix Web's more advanced features is the container page, a special type of Web page that can be used to display pages coded in HTML, create forms for online visitors to fill out and establish database connectivity to Web sites.

Because the primary focus of Trellix Web is for small agencies, knowledge of HTML is superfluous; you don't need to be fluent or even familiar with HTML to use the program. But beginning users probably will not pull off creating an advanced and functional Web site on their first try. Still, Trellix is easy to experiment with, and the online help even will assist more advanced Web designers.

Overall, we liked Trellix Web's friendly user interface and its incredible point, click, and watch-it-happen ease of use. Trellix Web seems tailored for small agencies, Web design novices and individuals or organizations that need an easy-to-maintain Web presence quickly, easily and inexpensively. Organizations wanting to code extensively in HTML or looking to establish elaborate connectivity to relational databases through the Web probably will want to look elsewhere (to Allaire Corp.'s ColdFusion Studio, for example) for their Web design software.

There are a few features that may limit some agencies' interest in Trellix Web. One particularly glaring weakness is that you cannot import existing word processor documents into Trellix Web. If you have existing documents, the only way to get them into Trellix Web is through tedious cutting and pasting. This is the one feature of Trellix 2.0 that Trellix Web lacks; Trellix 2.0 is capable of importing files from Microsoft Word and Corel Corp.'s WordPerfect.

Also, we were not comfortable with the implementation of some of Trellix Web's more advanced features. The program's concept of database connectivity through the use of container pages, for example, took some time and research through online help for us to grasp.

In short, Trellix Web offers a slick and easy way for users to quickly generate attractive Web pages from scratch, but if you need to import documents or do advanced custom design of pages, you'll want to look elsewhere.

-- Gray is a free-lance writer.

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Trellix Web 2.1.5Grade: BTrellix Corp.(781) 788-9400www.trellix.com

Price and Availability

Trellix Web 2.1.5 is available on the open market for $69. It also is available for online purchase and download from Trellix's Web site. If you've signed up with one of several Web hosting companies (such as Interland Inc., Interliant Inc.'s Sage Networks or Prodigy Business Solutions), then you will receive the Trellix Web software for free.

Remarks

Trellix Web 2.1.5 can give an organization or individual a professional-looking Web presence within minutes. Even better, a complete Web publishing novice can create pages and links using this tool. No Hypertext Markup Language experience is needed.

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