Namo Webeditor 5.5
by Jim Bray
Web editors have come a long way since the days when you had to edit HTML
code by hand via some kind of text editor.
Some people still prefer to create Web documents this way, since it gives
them total control over the look, feel, and functionality of their site.
But many more people prefer one of the many WYSIWYG Web editors out there,
products such as Microsofts FrontPage or Macromedias
WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) is wonderful because it lets you
design and lay out your work visually, seeing how it will look (for the
most part, anyway) as you create it. Even crusty old Web designers such
as me, who spun his first Web back in 1995, prefer a WYSIWYG product for
just that reason, though many if not most of us still like begin able to
get at the HTML source code ourselves because no WYSIWYG product is perfect.
But theyre getting really good, as witnessed by the latest generations
of Dreamweaver, for example. Another good example is Namo Webeditor, now
in version 5.5 which, while it doesnt offer all of Dreamweavers
flexibility is easier to learn and to use than Dreamweaver.
Look at it this way: Dreamweaver is the Humvee of Web editors,
designed for functionality, while WebEditor is more like a Lincoln, designed
for style and comfort, yet still having lots of features and benefits.
And WebEditor is a good product that serves a legitimate market niche
- chiefly, people who want to design a good Web site but who dont
have the time and/or inclination to go back to school to do it.
WebEditor is more than just a WYSIWYG editor, of course. It also comes
with pretty powerful site management tools that are also easy to use and
to figure out. I never cracked the manual before using any part of this
product, though I'll grant that Im an experienced designer, but the
thing is so straightforward that you can be up and running quickly.
If design isnt your thing, you can choose from 200 or more templates
displaying various themes. This is a nice way to hit the ground running,
though Id prefer it if you could easily customize a particular theme,
or forget about a theme all together and come up with your own.
I set up a high tech look dummy TechnoFILE site - in no time
at all, except for the length of time it took to import the thousands of
existing pages into the new site - and while the software did a nice job
of creating an attractive new Web site, I was disappointed that I couldnt
easily mix and match components, nav bars, functionality and
the like. It isnt completely inflexible, but it isnt a easy
to "fudge with" as I like.
Then again, Hot Metal Pro, my all time favorite WYSIWYG editor, has the
same problem - and those who want to design from scratch are probably not
going to look at WebEditor anyway.
Still, the templates are attractive (remembering that beauty is in the
eye of the beholder) and theres plenty of flexibility to the document
layouts you can choose - from blank pages to pages laid out with navigation
bars, pictures, etc.
The editor puts just about everything you need right at hand, including
easy to enter META tag boxes, and an inspector window gives
you easy access to a number of the current pages parameters, right
down to images, tables and the like. And the toolbar and menus are well
laid out and easy to figure out, as well as opening up a dizzying array
of tools you can use.
The Site Manager is very well thought out and offers tabbed views of the
entire site (file by file, laid out like a flow chart tree in
the main window with an Explorer view to the left (See top picture). You
can also access reports that will list, for example, all your
HTML documents, images, style sheets or - a very handy feature - orphaned
files (files that dont link to anything).
And, of course, you can also do a site-wide link check for broken hyperlinks.
Another thing I like about Namos product is that, unlike FrontPage,
your ISP doesnt need to have all those FrontPage extensions installed
so you can use all its functionality.
You can start your site using a Wizard-based approach, which is nice and
databases and charts. You can check Browser compatibility as well as cleaning
up unnecessary HTML tags that may have crept into the work. It isnt
perfect, but I havent seen a perfect on yet, either.
A nice feature is the source protection, which means the software wont
overwrite HTML source you may have crafted by hand.
For site management you also get such tools as dynamic navigation bars,
which update themselves automatically when you change the structure of
the Web site. This is a real time saver! And the global search and replace
function lets you change text either from a page or in the source code.
This latter feature is by no means unique, but its still nice to
The Resource Manager gives you a library of common elements (themes, templates,
buttons, etc.) you can keep at your mousetips, and you can
use the built in ftp client to synchronize the local and remote versions
of the site easily.
To make designing even easier, Namo has thrown in everything but a virtual
kitchen sink. Not only can you drag and drop text and graphics into tables
(which is also quite common among such apps), you get a selection of pre-designed,
editable smart buttons you can use for navigation bars. Themes
are editable, though as mentioned above it isnt as easy as Id
You also get image creation and manipulation tools, which work well;
you can create animated banners and the like as well. You can create rollover
graphics with three states (Normal, Mouse over, Highlight), using the included
Some of the advanced features take a little time to learn, but you can
always fall back on the documentation, which is pretty good.
So have I moved TechnoFILE over to WebEditor from our Web application
of choice? Well, no. But the reason isnt so much shortcomings with
the Namo product as it is inertia. Well probably use WebEditor for
future sites we design in house, depending on the job, but TechnoFILE is
just too darn big for me to have our Webmaster go back to square one with
it when there are so many other things to do in a given day.
But if you have a smaller site that can be imported easily, or are starting
from scratch, you could do worse than this $80 product.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think