iWeb 2.0 features

Think Secret is reporting that iWeb 2.0 is due for some major enhancements in its v2.0 release, which is expected to be released in early 2007.

As a Mac user, I’ve recently experimented with the premiere release of iWeb. Results can be seen here: Overall, iWeb is quite easy to use and extremely intuitive. But, it definitely does have some shortcomings. For static content, iWeb is fantastic. It easily creates a static site, complete with picture galleries, podcasts and video files. That’s all fine and good, but products have been doing this sort of web development for quite some time now.

Some of the items that I found limiting include (but aren’t limited to):

  • No code editor window – or at least if there is, I have yet to find it.
  • Inability to customize the navigation bar – To add an external page to my site, I had to build a dummy page in iWeb, then manually update the dummy page using an external text editor (due to the lack of code editing in iWeb 1.0).
  • Inability to create robust photo galleries – the best iWeb could do, as far as I could tell, was make a single page photo gallery that would contain all of the pictures that you’d want to post. I had to create a “photos” landing page, then create a bunch of subpages that contain photos by search criteria. And, these pages are all static which means the pics can’t be sorted by date, theme, etc. Disappointing, since there are plenty of tools out there that provide great photo publishing options.
  • Site updates – iWeb provides some slick publishing functionality when you publish to a .Mac account. Incremental site updates alone are almost worth the price to pay to get a .Mac account. Re-rendering the entire site each time you make changes is quite time consuming, especially if there are plenty of pictures and videos in the site in question. iWeb re-renders the complete site if you publish to an external folder (the only other option if you don’t publish to .Mac). This is more of an annoyance than a barrier to use though… but, it is a bit Microsoft’ish in terms of trying to convince you to use Apple’s proprietary hosting platform.

There are some other minor annoyances with the product, but these are the main ones that I noticed.

Think Secret is suggesting that Apple is working on some dynamic content capabilities for iWeb 2.0. Things like:

  • Smart Albums – ability to control the display of photo galleries, along with some dynamic presentation options.
  • Flickr integration – ability to pull in content from Flickr (and maybe others)
  • Google AdSense integration – yet another winner
  • Themes – this alone would make the product a worthy upgrade

This functionality would be great, as dynamic content generation is definitely lacking from iWeb 1.0. Hopefully Think Secret is right about the features that Apple is working on for the next release. Only time will tell though…



Get your own website!

So… I’ve been thinking for a while about the best way to have an online presence.

First, I had to assess what I need in a website. I really use the web for two things… text and pictures. I post periodic updates that keep friends and family aware of life as I know it. And, with those updates come pictures. Oh, and I also maintain a static website for my small business (wirepaper) that doesn’t change very often. The most complex need that I have involves the option to email people when I have something new to say.

There are numerous options out there, and I’ve been of the opinion that creating and maintaining my own hosted website was the best way to go. Since I have little to no design expertise, it has been tough going for quite some time. I have had some luck with my own design work, but it hasn’t been ideal. Add to that the fact that many of the tools out there require some sort of technical expertise in order to update the site.

Enough of that. Time for a change. And time to save some money while I’m at it. I’ve decided to go the blog route for a while. There are plenty of sites out there that provide blog space for free. Without much comparison shopping, I chose I spent a little time looking at Movable Type but found the setup a bit more than I could be bothered with. And, after spending a few minutes looking at Blogger, I was sold (and the price was right – free!).

Pictures… again, there are plenty of options out there. I’ve looked at yahoo,, and There are numerous other options, but I limited myself to a small handful.

Yahoo Photos was part of the larger yahoo network, of which Flickr is also a member. I’m a little confused about the different branding, but who am I to judge? I’m partial to the separate Flickr brand, which doesn’t identify as easily with the big corporate Yahoo name. Smugmug offers a free trial for a week, but then you have to pay for use after that time. $29.95 per year is quite reasonable, but I’m looking for free. G2photos is a local site run by a good friend of mine in Toronto. If I was going to pay for photo storage I’d seriously consider his site, but again, I’m looking for free… so… no

I’ve used flickr before to see pictures from friends. The site is easy to use. And the best part is that it’s free. Flickr’s free program caps you based on a combination of number of pictures and total size of picture uploads per calendar month. 200 pictures and/or 200 MB of uploads per month. That’s it. Pretty simple. Based on my past picture volume, I’ve never gone over 200 pictures uploaded per month and since I compress my pictures before uploading them, 200 MB will not be a threshold that I have to worry about.

And the best part is that Blogger and Flickr work well together. I can post pictures in Flickr which will automatically update my blog on Blogger (should I choose to set things up that way). And, once my blog is updated, it will automatically update my audience (with another tool that I’ll talk about next). All in all, quite snazzy.

The last part about this whole blogging thing is to update my audience. There are two ways to do this. First, I can email all of my friends and family and tell them to visit my blog on a regular basis. That works great for most people but we all get busy and we forget to check things out from time to time. A service called automates the distribution of my blog via email once people sign up for it. Subscribe to this blog using the form on the sidebar of this blog to see for yourself. Quite simple. works in concert with to automate and advertise your blog in various ways. All in all, quite a good package.

And the best part is that all of this stuff is free! In less than a day, I’ve set up a fully functioning blog that manages the distribution of text and pictures to an audience that can sign themselves up for future updates. It all operates on its own. The only thing I have to do is manage the content.

I’m impressed. Aren’t you?




Welcome to Wirepaper, my blog dedicated to tech talk. Wirepaper’s also the name of my consulting company, so you’ll also find some shameless plugs for products or services that I think might be of interest to you.

Here you’ll find news and opinions on all things computer related. So strap on your pocket protector and join the fun!