Sandvox 2 review

Do people still build static websites? If they do, we have a feeling they might use tools like Sandvox. This template-based, drag-and-drop driven tool’s no Coda or Dreamweaver. Think iWeb and you won’t be far wrong. Think “even more simple to use than iWeb” and you’ll be spot on.

The workflow gently steers you down theme avenue, past page-style boulevard, with little scope for deviation along the way. There are just over 50 themes and eight page styles to choose from. The themes are visual templates, many with colour options. The page styles let you create blogs, photo albums and other kinds of sites.

The next step is to populate your site and pages with actual content, and Sandvox does this with smart web objects. These include elements like contact forms, Facebook buttons, RSS links and videos. Disqus commenting, for example, is a powerful feature more associated with content management systems. You can insert raw HTML but, and this is a huge but, you can’t edit the underlying HTML of your page.

Of course, you need to be able to add your own content, text and images, and so on. There’s a Media Browser built in that takes care of that. Most settings for this type of content can be adjusted using the Inspector Palette.

Quickly create simple, if old-fashioned-looking, websites

You can choose to buy and download third party themes and plugins to extend Sandvox's functionality, using the "Discover Plugins feature". The fact that you have to pay extra for these tools was a little disappointing for us - but it’s far from uncommon on other platforms, including iOS, so who are we to argue?

When you’ve finished tweaking your site, you’ve several options for uploading it. You can export and convert to HTML to a folder on your hard drive. If you know where the site will be deployed you can FTP to a remote server. 

 

OUR VERDICT

Sandvox is a tool for casual web builders. Though there are lots of plug-ins supporting social media and dynamic services, we’re now living in an age of content management systems rather than standalone websites. Still, for a modest, personal presence this is a program that can get the job done if you haven’t the time or inclination to learn any coding.

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