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First off, I'd like to compliment OmniGroup for the intense loyalty it has earned from its users. I have been using OmniGraffle for a long time and I always admire the elegance of the design. That's something that very few software products have these days. The Apple iPhone has elegant design; the Omni products have elegant design; and that's about it. That value of that elegance shows up in the many requests I read here for an Omni Group version of, well, just about every major kind of software application that can be had. It really is charming -- and something you folks should be very proud of.

I realize that embarking upon a major new software project is a gigantic commitment, one that easily sink the whole company if it goes bad, so I understand why OmniGroup is reluctant to consider new products. At the same time, the software biz really is a moving target -- if you stop moving, you die. So I'm sure that you have regular "What should we do next?" meetings where everybody runs wild and then some responsible person walks through the numbers and everybody walks sadly out of the meeting.

Nevertheless, I'd like to suggest a possible market opening in web development tools. Right now, there are three broad classes of such tools:

1. The Top End. Dreamweaver is the king here, but there are some other monster applications specialized for mass content handling and such. These products are for professionals who are willing to take as much time as it needs to get the perfect website.

2. The Bottom End. iMac is perhaps the best exemplar of this class. Super-quicky, super-easy little applications that make it easy for Grandma to make her own little website. Highly constrained, but easy to use.

3. The Middle: RapidWeaver. Supposedly RapidWeaver is the only product in this category, but after spending some time with it, I realize that RealMac is going down the classic "feature explosion" path. They just keep adding more and more features, and the thing gets messier and messier. On top of this, they violate user interface standards in a number of places. They're on Version 4 now, so it's not as if they're still cleaning out bugs -- these are design flaws, not programming bugs. Moreover, they seem to have made the transition from "eager to please startup" to "set in their ways corporation"; I've spend some time making suggestions and their response has always been a patronizing pat on the head with an explanation of why my suggestion is not practical to implement. (I've been writing Mac software since 1984). Their forum attendees consist of two groups: old pros who know every sneaky workaround in the book, and utter newbies who can't get the program to say "Hello World".

What this suggests to me is that RapidWeaver is drifting upward to be a low-end professional application rather than a true mid-level application. I think that there's a huge market out there for an application that gives more power than the beginner-level programs and yet does not require any more study than, say, OmniGraffle.

Of course, hitting on a good mental model for a mid-level website editor is a serious challenge, and I'm not sure that can even be done. But then, I might have said the same thing about a good drawing program.

Best of luck, whatever you decide to commit your limited resources to.
 
Hi Chris,

I too use iWeb as a quick and easy solution to creating basic websites. In the past it's proved great when friends and colleagues have asked for something quick, ie. to sell a property, put up a shared genealogy, etc.

In regard to the high-end, it has to be DreamWeaver but I limit myself to creating a design and then farming out the coding to freelancers overseas (I've used individuals in both India and China). It's been my experience, so far, that they've been much better at doing the hard slog (that would've taken me weeks if not months to complete) often turning the work around within a couple of days and at a tenth of what I would pay someone within the UK.

I'm not familiar with RapidWeaver but I consider Freeway to be between the two. It's the web creation tool that I turned to after Adobe pulled it's usual obnoxious trick, buying out GoLive and then ceasing development.

I wonder whether or not you have considered Freeway and if so, which category you feel it falls into?

Last edited by endoftheQ; 2010-08-13 at 02:47 AM..
 
 


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