mid-iLife crisis

Reader Alan Serotta is having a mid-iLife crisis. He writes:

I just purchased iLife 06. I have iLife 05. I have taken a number of vacation photos. All I want to do is show them with a caption below each photo. I have a .Mac account. Should I use Homepage or the new iWeb?

Of course you can use either but iWeb has so many advantages that I couldn’t imagine doing things the old-fashioned Homepage way unless I needed to quickly post some pictures from a computer that wasn’t my own (more on this in a bit).

To begin with, iWeb is faster in a number of ways. Because you’re working just on your computer, you don’t have to wait for webpages to load to pull together your page. Nor do you have to wait while you upload a bunch of pictures to your iDisk. All the pictures you’ll be working with are on your Mac and you can save the tedious uploading part for when you’ve completed your page.

iWeb also offers iLife’s media browser, which lets you easily see what you’ll be adding to your page. It couldn’t be much simpler. Just click the Photos tab in the media browser, choose an album, and drag selected pictures (or the entire album) into an iWeb photos page.

Both iWeb and Homepage allow you to change the frame style of your pictures, but iWeb does it faster through the little Style pop-up menu that appears when you select a photo on a page and choose the Graphic tab in the Inspector. And, unlike with Homepage, you can change the background of the webpage — using a gradient fill or even a semi-transparent image.

More? It’s a cinch in iWeb to determine how much space you want between your images and the caption below. And the Mac’s spelling checker is built into iWeb so it’s easy to track down misspelled captions.

So are there no advantages to Homepage? As I hinted earlier, as with many of the .Mac web-based tools there is one: If you’re sitting at another computer — one in an Internet cafe, a library, or a friend’s house, for example — you can pretty easily create a page full of pictures on the fly (provided you can either upload those images to your iDisk or the images already exist on that iDisk). When traveling abroad this summer I couldn’t jack my PowerBook into my hotel’s Internet connection but I was able to use one of the computers in its business center. With that computer I could post a few snaps I’d taken that day to a Homepage photo album I created.

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