RapidWeaver 5 review

RapidWeaver falls between the duffer-proof iWeb and the much more expansive – and expensive – Dreamweaver. Bolstered by a wide range of innovative plug-ins, page types and customisable third-party themes, it lets you add your own custom HTML and CSS, making it suitable for creating a wide range of personal and business websites.

Version 5 adds the kind of features that will be appreciated by experienced users, particularly those who create and run multiple websites. Assets – PDFs, documents and other downloadable file types – have been recast as Resources and given a welcome makeover, with a view to making it easier to add and manage them.

You can now consolidate all CSS style sheets so that pages load more quickly. There’s a new Bookmarks Manager to store all relevant FTP-style settings, which is useful for anyone managing multiple sites.

RapidWeaver 5 includes some handy new features designed with professional users in mind

Elsewhere, support for Google Analytics has been joined by GoSquared’s LiveStats service. There’s also six new themes (making 47 in total), a new page type – a basic-but-useful site map  – some interface tweaks, and a link to Realmac’s list of third-party add-ons, themes and plug-ins on the web.

Upgrading to the new version is not without its issues. Realmac’s forums have been fizzing with complaints from users who’ve found existing web pages are broken or won’t upload, or that themes and plug-ins don’t behave as they used to. There are also problems with the new Resources feature – old Assets links may not work any more and some resources are being republished every time something’s changed on the site. A manual or upgrade advice might have helped but currently there’s no sign of either.

OUR VERDICT

Version 5 is a handy, rather than a must-have, upgrade. Its key improvements – notably CSS consolidation, bookmarking for FTP settings and revamped management of site resources – are likely to appeal to more professional users, but still need documenting properly. And there are a few problems Realmac needs to iron out too.

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