When Adobe PageMill debuted, it was the first of its kind: a program that let you edit Web pageswithout knowing HTMLvia a word processor-style interface. But in the two years since Adobe Systems released the last Mac version of PageMill, the Web has changed remarkably. With version 3.0, Adobe adds a few new features to put the Mac version in parity with PageMill 3.0 for Windows. However, it’s clear that time has passed PageMill by.
PageMill 3.0 lets you control frame set borders, set table height and width, preview Java applets, place multiple forms on a page, use progressive JPEG images, access a 216-color Web-safe palette, and apply fonts via the tag. These are all vital features for creating Web pages, but PageMill’s competitors, such as GoLive CyberStudio, have offered these functions for some time.
To be fair, the program offers a few original touches. For example, PageMill 3.0 provides better support for the contextual menus in Mac OS 8.5 than does any other application we’ve seen. Control-clicking almost anywhere in the program brings up a menu containing a raft of appropriate commands.
PageMill continues to offer a friendly interface that lets you construct Web pages without any HTML knowledge. Its context-sensitive tool bars present a large selection of page elements you can add to your document with one click, although the tool bars’ icons are a bit too cryptic.
The program offers no free-form design feature, so you must use PageMill’s table tools to create layouts. The program makes it too difficult to select items and cells in tables, but the contextual menu’s Select More and Select Less commands mitigate this flaw by letting you zero in on the table elements you want to modify.
For creating interactive forms, PageMill is at the top of its game. You can quickly build pages that gather customer information by clicking on items in the tool bar and then editing their default text.
PageMill’s frame-editing features are also top-notch. You create a frame set by option-dragging frames from the corner of your document. Making links within a PageMill frame set is also easy. You simply choose a window from a thumbnail display of your frame set.
PageMill 3.0 includes the site-management features formerly found in Adobe SiteMill. From the Site window, you can view all the pages in your site, find broken links, verify the integrity of off-site links, and rename or redirect dozens of links in one batch. However, the program paused or froze completely when it opened sites containing several hundred pages.
In general, we found PageMill 3.0 a bit slow. On a PowerBook 1400, there was a perceptible delay between typing a letter and seeing it on screen.
February 1999 page: 47