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6/96 Reviews SW: WebSuite 1.0

Complete listing of June 1996 reviews

Simple Steps to Chic Sites

By Cynthia Morgan

The only thing crawling onto the Web faster than big business is bad taste. WebSuite, a Web cataloging tool, may offer consistency to artistically challenged Web authors.

The program manages Component Catalogs of buttons, backgrounds, navigation icons and heads you add in an HTML editor to enhance Web pages. Stick to a single style group, and there's little chance your page elements will clash.

The GIF graphics come ready-made with HTML tags.You can also add your own alternate text and, to a limited extent, other HTML code to these images. In my tests with Mosaic, Netscape and Internet Explorer browsers, WebSuite art imported smoothly. You can add and delete images, or even build your own catalogs and styles.

WebSuite's editing tools include a load manager that tells you how long each graphic takes to download at transmission speeds ranging from 9.6Kb per second to full T3. Unfortunately, 14Kbps, the speed that should most concern a page designer, is buried deep. Since you normally include more than one graphic on a Web page, it would be nice if WebSuite also checked load speeds for multiple objects.

Each style group contains blank title boxes and headers, ostensibly for you to customize with text and logos. But it was nearly impossible to match the fonts, colors and shapes of these professional images using WebSuite's crude tools. I quickly switched to a sophisticated image editor for all but minor alterations.

WebSuite comes in three versions. The $199 starter kit contains cataloging tools, text but not graphics editor, load manager and five style groups. For $299 you get the starter kit plus graphics editor and another five groups. The designer edition, $529, offers 25 style groups.

Free images abound on the Web, though rarely as complete as what you'll find here and certainly not as attractively themed. WebSuite's catalogs are an excellent way to build a library of these objects and can act as an online style library. But unless you're willing to pay for what amounts to extra clip art, the WebSuite starter kit and your own image editor are the best value.

Info File
WebSuite 1.0
Starter, $199; standard, $299; designer, $529
Pros: Cataloging functions; styles
Cons: Drawing/editing tools; price
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x, NT
Disk Space: 20MB
DigitalStyle Corp.
800-388-7895, 619-673-5056
WinMag Box Score: 2.5
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