capsule review

ShutterBug 2.0

ShutterBug 2.0 is an easy-to-use Web building application that is aimed at non-designers who want to showcase their photography online without having to wrestle with the complexity of HTML. More than 25 Web site themes are included to help users create sites quickly. More advanced users can customize the built-in themes or create their own.

ShutterBug’s interface is simple, but unique, and its many disparate features may confuse new users at first. Fortunately, the online user manual and XtraLean’s technical support both proved helpful for getting up to speed.

ShutterBug is organized into three main tabs: Content, Preview, and Layout. The Content section lets you add the text and photographs that will make up the Web site, as well as manage the site’s navigation.

ShutterBug organizes sites using a hierarchy of groups and albums. For example, a site might include a Vacations group containing albums for Hawaii and Alaska photos.

You can add photos by dragging and dropping from other programs, such as iPhoto, or even from the Finder. Within albums, ShutterBug automatically creates the links for navigating between individual photos. You can include an optional JavaScript slideshow function that will automatically cycle through your photo album.

Once you add a photo, selecting it in the Navigation menu will bring up a collection of editing and annotating tools. You can crop, rotate, and label your photos, or add thought clouds and speech balloons for a fun look.

Once you’ve added content to your site, clicking the Preview tab will display a functional representation of how the site will appear in a Web browser. You can navigate your site without leaving ShutterBug, thereby speeding up testing.

The Select Theme button opens a new window containing a variety of themes you can use to customize a site’s look. Though several of the built-in themes are variations on the same basic look, each theme can be customized.

In the Layout section, page elements are accessible from several additional tabs, such as Footer, Title, and Text. Each tab contains a variety of tools for customizing the fonts, layout, and other visual elements of the template.

Publish

The Send button in the Preview section steps users through the process of publishing a site via a local folder, a .Mac account, FTP/SFTP, or WebDav. WebDav, a method of managing files on remote servers, is not yet supported by all Web hosting companies. Surprisingly, in order to upload via FTP or SFTP from within ShutterBug, you must have either Panic’s Transmit (   ) or David V. Kocher’s Cyberduck installed. That’s because ShutterBug uses AppleScript to launch and control external FTP programs, rather than having FTP functionality built-in, and these are the programs it works with.

Macworld’s buying advice

ShutterBug 2.0 is ideally suited for photography enthusiasts who want to quickly build a Web site to share photos but want to avoid learning complex Web site editing software. Users looking to build a more general-purpose site may want to opt for alternative software such as Apple’s iWeb (   ), Realmac Software’s RapidWeaver (   ), or Adobe’s Dreamweaver (   ), or use ShutterBug in conjunction with other tools.

[ Matt Vance is a technology consultant, Web developer, and freelance writer living in Austin, Texas. ]

ShutterBug 2.0 includes comprehensive tools for editing and annotating photos.
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