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November 1996 Reviews TOC

11/96 Reviews SW:Claris Home Page

KISS Web Authoring Angst Good-bye

By Paul Silverman

Conventional wisdom says KISS: Keep it simple, stupid. Claris Home Page does just that. This Web authoring program doesn't offer the bells and whistles of some professional tools, but its seamless interface makes it a good choice for newcomers.

Home Page offers the usual features roundup: drag-and-drop functionality; frame, table and forms editors; and browser preview. The program's WYSIWYG environment lets you modify font sizes and document colors, as well as create hyperlinks. The program also features a refinement that Microsoft and SoftQuad have ignored for their power apps: an integrated source-code editor. You can edit either in the WYSIWYG environment or in the source directly; both editors remain consistent. The program's Link Editor and Object Editor-which controls properties for nontext such as tables or graphics-also include an Extra HTML option to let you add specific coding not included in Home Page's interface.

A pop-up window in the slick table editor lets you define the number of (and height and width of) rows and columns. It also allows you to add or remove rows and columns. You resize tables and individual cells by clicking and dragging their respective borders in any direction. Tread carefully with this useful feature: I inadvertently deleted a lot of content when I tried to make a single cell span multiple columns and rows.

I wasn't quite as impressed with the frame editor. No coding is required, but the interface wasn't very intuitive. It forced me to use drop-down menus where drag-and-drop would have been much easier.

The image editor is about what you'd expect from an entry-level program. Home Page includes a basic library of images to help get you started and will automatically convert BMP and PICT images into browser-supported GIFs. You can create image maps, and transparent and interlaced graphics, but you'll need a separate tool to do any major image editing.

A document statistics window details typical download times for your page based on modem speed and content. Claris also offers up to six months of free Web hosting from HoloNet with the program's purchase.

Home Page is missing some key features, placing it a cut below HoTMetaL PRO or FrontPage. It won't open and automatically convert a word processing file into an HTML page. It also lacks spell check, a thesaurus and startup templates.

Home Page is fine if you're a beginner looking to create basic Web pages without investing a lot of learning time, but intermediate and advanced users looking for a full tools palette will want a more powerful program.

-- Info File --
Claris Home Page
$99; competitive rebate, $20
Pros: Interface; source-code editor; table editor
Cons: No document conversion tools, templates or advanced image editor
Disk Space: 4MB
Platforms: 95, NT
Claris Corp.
800-544-8554, 408-727-8227
WinMag Box Score 3.0

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