Because I never had a MobileMe account, or a .Mac account, I've never really played with iWeb. Oh, it looks nice, but I didn't really see a need for it as most of my websites are integrated with a content management system. But, that being said, I thought it would be fun to take a peak and see what it could do.
When you first launch iWeb, it presents you with a list of templates. These templates are pretty static, in that you can't recolor them in the interface, but they all look really nice. I chose the layered paper interface, as I like the look of good paper. Then you start with the Home page. To change the title of the page, you click on the name of the page in the left pane. Editing fields is as easy as clicking or double-clicking in the text box field. Pictures are also easy to add by either dragging them in from Finder or iPhoto.
Most themes have image placeholders with preset pictures, waiting for you to add pictures yourself. To add a picture, you drag your picture from Finder or from iPhoto into iWeb, and drop it on the picture. You can even adjust the picture to mask parts of the picture you don't want to show (instead of cropping).
Adding pages was easy, just by clicking on the Add Page tool at the bottom left. There are quite a few pages to choose from, including a built-in Blog. It's not as robust as Wordpress, but it works for a news area or general posting tool. Though it can only be updated through iWeb that I can see. Pity, as it has a nice design. Podcasts can also be added the same way, making it easy to set up a podcasting website using iWeb.
But when you try to Publish, it will automatically try to submit to MobileMe. Not a good thing, particularly as MobileMe is no more (or will be shortly). Luckily, if you click on the Site itself, you can edit it to publish to an FTP site, and change your FTP settings to use SFTP. Configuration was simple, setup was easy, and publishing at that point is one-click.
The main drawback to iWeb that I can see is the lack of ability to edit the HTML that is getting published. Each page is a set HTML page, with backup files assigned per page. Also, it's not geared to very complicated websites with lots of navigation (I wouldn't run a storefront from iWeb). If you are looking for something of that calibre, you may want to stick with the tried and true Dreamweaver. But if you are only looking for a simple webpage creator that is not very complicated, it's a great tool.
iWeb is no longer avialable from Apple, as it represents the older software from the iLife suite. I hope it has not been killed, just held back as iCloud rolls out and MoblieMe fades away. I look forward to a phoenix rising of iWeb to combine it's current ease of use interface for building websites with access to the code. If that happens, you will have one sweet HTML editor on your hands!
For an example of what iWeb can do, check out my main website at http://robbclan.com.
What is your favorite website creator tool?