Ever since Apple launched its $100-a-year .Mac (now MobileMe) online service, the company has had the annoying habit of creating tight integration between its software and that add-on service. Not that tight integration is a bad thing—it’s just that the flip side of that tight integration is a serious lack of features for people who choose not to pay that annual fee.
Take iWeb ( ). Publishing an iWeb site to MobileMe is easy. It takes a single command—File -> Publish to MobileMe—to send your site flying through a series of tubes to Apple’s servers. But Apple doesn’t make it so easy for you to publish an iWeb site to a non-MobileMe server. If you want to post iWeb pages on a web site being hosted by your internet provider or a hosting company, there’s no “upload via FTP” command to fall back on. Just the bare command File -> Publish to a Folder, which leaves you with a folder full of Web stuff on your hard drive, just waiting for a ride to the big time.
When the principal of my daughter’s school decided that all the teachers would use iWeb to generate class web pages, she came to me asking if they’d need to buy MobileMe accounts for the teachers. I pointed out that the school was already paying for a web-hosting service for the school’s main web site. I figured that was server enough for an eternally cash-strapped public school.
But how to get a gaggle of teachers, many of whom are not exactly comfortable with the concept of building and uploading web pages, to upload their sites to the hosting service without much fuss?
The tool I chose to use was Plyxim’s Easy iWeb Publisher 3.0 ( ), a free (donation requested) utility that makes it easy to upload iWeb sites to a hosting service. Here’s how it works: The first time you run Easy iWeb Publisher, you enter in the FTP information for your web host. (If you don’t know that information, you can look it up in the documentation or help information provided by your ISP or web-hosting company.)
Once you’ve created the settings and confirmed that the address, user name, and password are all valid, Easy iWeb Publisher is ready to go. Just drag that folder you exported from iWeb onto the Easy iWeb Publisher Window, press a button, and the program uploads the whole site automatically. What’s better, it compares your folder to the folder up on the server, and only uploads the changes—so once you perform a relatively slow first upload, future upload sessions go quickly. You can even set Easy iWeb Publisher’s preferences so the upload happens automatically when you drag your exported folder onto Easy iWeb Publisher’s dock icon.
What I love about this tool is that it’s simple and designed to do one thing, and one thing only: bridge the gap left by Apple when it decided to cater to MobileMe customers and leave everyone else out in the cold. Bravo to author Scott Finney for writing the program and making it free.