Working with MobileMe and iLife

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Editor’s Note: The following article is an excerpt from Take Control of MobileMe, a $10 electronic book available for download from TidBits Publishing. The 112-page ebook helps you understand what MobileMe provides, set up syncing and other MobileMe services, and get the most out of your $99-per-year subscription.

An important aspect of MobileMe is the way Apple’s online service integrates with iLife, the company’s suite of software for managing digital media on a Mac. iPhoto, iMovie, iWeb, and GarageBand, while all useful on their own, become extra powerful when used in conjunction with a MobileMe subscription. (iDVD, also part of iLife, does not have any MobileMe-specific features.)

Create sites and blogs with iWeb

iWeb makes it easy to design attractive Web sites, as well as create blogs; publish podcasts directly from GarageBand; and add content to your site from iPhoto, iMovie, or iTunes with just a click or two. You can use iWeb to create a Web site and upload it to any Web hosting provider, but in this book I cover an easier approach: publishing your site directly to MobileMe.

iWeb offers a huge number of options I can’t cover here. To learn how to go beyond the basics, consult Steve Sande’s Take Control of iWeb: iLife ’08 Edition.

Tip: If you published a site using iWeb version 2.0.3 or earlier, visitors using Firefox version 3.x may not see full-size pictures or slideshows—only thumbnails. To solve this problem, install iWeb 2.0.4, a free update for users of iLife ’08 (choose Software Update and follow the instructions to download and install it). After updating iWeb, republish your site(s) to update them for Firefox compatibility.

To create a basic Web site or blog using iWeb, follow these steps:

Every page you create in iWeb starts with a template. Pick an overall style from the list on the left, then a specific page type.

  1. Open iWeb. The first thing you’ll see is a dialog listing a variety of templates. (If iWeb is already open, click the plus button at the bottom of the window to display the templates.)
  2. Select a template theme from the list on the left (you can optionally narrow the list of options by choosing a category from the pop-up menu), and then select a page type on the right. For a blog, you must select either a Blog template or, if you expect to include audio or video podcasts in your blog, a Podcast template. Click Choose. iWeb opens the template you selected, with placeholder pictures and text.
  3. The Media Browser gives you instant access to your iTunes music, iPhoto photos, and iMovie movies from within iWeb.
    You may see a floating palette with Media in its title bar; this is called the Media Browser. If you don’t see it, choose View -> Show Media Browser.
  4. To replace the placeholder photos, locate a photo on the Photos pane of the Media Browser and drag it onto the photo you want to replace. To add a photo to any other part of the page, select it and drag it to the desired location. You can then resize or reposition it.
  5. To replace the placeholder text, double-click a paragraph and type in your own text. To add text in a new location on the page, click the Text Box button at the bottom of the window. You can resize or reposition any text box simply by dragging.
    If you’re using a blog template, you can create a new entry (with its own placeholders) by first selecting Entries in iWeb’s sidebar and then clicking the Add Entry button.
  6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until you’re satisfied with the page or blog post.
  7. If you want to add more pages to your site, click the plus button at the bottom of the window. Then repeat Steps 2–6. iWeb automatically places a link to every new page in your site in the navigational area at the top of each page.
  8. To make your blog support user comments, work in iWeb’s Site Inspector palette (if it’s not visible, choose View -> Show Inspector). Go to the RSS pane, and in the Blog view, check the Allow Comments checkbox. If you want commenters to be able to upload files (such as graphics), also check Allow Attachments.
  9. When you’re finished, choose File -> Publish to MobileMe.

iWeb uploads the page(s) and its photos to your iDisk, and then it displays a dialog with the site’s URL, as well as buttons for visiting the site in your default browser and sending an email message announcing the site.

To add another blog entry, select the blog’s Entries page in iWeb’s sidebar. Click the Add Blog Entry button and repeat Steps 4–5. After making changes to the site, choose File -> Publish to MobileMe again; iWeb uploads only new or changed pages.

Note: By default, Web sites you create in iWeb have URLs that follow this pattern: If you already had a site in the domain, the existing URL will continue to work, and your old sites can now also be accessed at the corresponding URL.

Publish photos from iPhoto

Although MobileMe Gallery is spiffy and easy to use, you may prefer the control that iWeb provides, or you may want to include your photos in iWeb blog entries. In these cases, you can create an album on your iWeb site from within iPhoto. Follow these steps:

  1. Select one or more photos (or, if you prefer, an entire album—but note that you can send only 99 photos to iWeb at a time).
  2. Choose Share -> Send to iWeb -> Photo Page. (If you want the photo(s) to appear as part of a blog entry, instead choose Share -> Send to iWeb -> Blog.) iWeb opens.
  3. Select a template and click Choose. iWeb imports your photos and creates a page with thumbnails and a Start Slideshow button.
  4. If you wish, add captions, drag photos to rearrange them, or modify other information—such as the page’s title and introductory text.
  5. To create additional pages with more photos, repeat Steps 1–4.
  6. Choose File -> Publish to MobileMe.

iWeb uploads the page and photos to your iDisk, and then shows a dialog with the site’s URL and buttons you can use to visit the site in your default browser or send an e-mail message announcing the site.

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