SoftPress Systems has announced Freeway 3.0, a major upgrade to its Mac Web design software. The new version debuted at Macworld Expo in Tokyo.

Freeway 3 is "up to 10 times faster" than version 2, according to SoftPress. Freeway 3 also contains limited support for AppleScript, allowing common tasks to be automated.

The new version now offers capabilities in multilingual Web-site production, supporting Apple's WorldScript technology. Users can select from a wide range of language encodings for individual pages in a site. Text can be rendered in HTML or as bitmapped graphics, for languages as diverse as Japanese, Swedish and Russian. On top of this, Japanese text can be displayed vertically as well as horizontally.

The user interface for Actions has been improved, according to the company - Actions can now be written in JavaScript to facilitate the development of complex and sophisticated scripts.

Going non-native Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop files can be imported directly into
Freeway, where they are automatically converted into Web-ready formats. Freeway can also use Photoshop plug-ins to import (and export) a wide range of non-native graphic formats, while Photoshop scanner plug-ins allow images to be scanned directly onto a page.

A new multimedia preview feature, combined with an extended set of behaviour options for QuickTime and Flash
Content, gives users "greater flexibility and control in incorporating multimedia in Web pages", according to SoftPress.

Freeway 3's new link map provides a complete overview of the hyperlinks that connect each page in a site. It also has a link-checking feature that can be used to check the validity of external links.

Intuitive A rollover editor allows JavaScript rollovers to be created easily and intuitively. Rollovers are created directly within a page, without the user having to prepare and import separate images for
each rollover state. They can be created from text, graphics, or combinations of text and graphics, and remain editable at all times.

Freeway 3 costs £199 - with a 50 per cent discount for qualifying customers in education. The upgrade to Freeway 3 with CD and printed manuals will be available in April for £49 (education, £42); the electronic version of the upgrade will retail for £29 (education, £22). SoftPress has launched a new competitive upgrade program - licensed users of Adobe GoLive, Macromedia Dreamweaver and
NetObjects Fusion qualify for a 50 per cent discount.