NetObjects Fusion MX

Web editorThis software is aimed at the growing number of Web site builders who want their pages up and running in minutes without having to worry about the fallibility of their HTML code.

Fusion's emphasis on simplicity may have design gurus scoffing, but there's little evidence of power sacrificed. The program's lean, redesigned interface allows pinpoint-perfect element positioning, with support for all the advanced HTML authoring features you'd expect, including CSS (cascading style sheets), dynamic database linking and extensive DHTML support.

Instead of the palette-heavy windows common among other design applications, Fusion is dominated by a Control bar, which allows you to switch easily between a hierarchical overview of your site and individual pages. A single floating Properties palette displays varying content to reflect the active editing environment.

Fusion simplifies the process of Web site creation by offering a choice of up to 200 predefined site styles. This makes the automation process even easier by adding a step-through wizard that tailors your site to one of four broad business sectors and automatically inserts your business details.

Some new developments include "a functional file recovery feature, which repairs corrupted files, and the improved - but still not perfect - importation of MX-generated site files. Other enhancements such as better control of remote site files and source file optimisation are welcome, even if they're hardly going to threaten Dreamweaver's market leadership.

Nonetheless, a few disappointments remain. Hardcore coders will remain frustrated by Fusion's lack of HTML transparency, which inhibits the fine-tuning of complex page elements. Although you can add code directly in the HTML Source window, you can't edit much of the code that Fusion creates until you publish your site.

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