Iweb And Its Replacement (Part 2)

9/11/2012 7:12:03 PM

In place of iWeb, try... Word Press

If you can’t or don’t want to just swap your iWeb pages from MobileMe to another host, take this opportunity to consider all the alternatives. In particular, it might be a good idea to switch to a content management system (CMS), which treats your site as a repository of words and pictures displayed dynamically in a styled container, rather than a series of fixed pages. This is a much more future-proof approach, and WordPress is the first CMS we’d try.

Description: Word Press
Word Press

WordPress is available as a free download from for installation on any server running PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5. This covers the vast majority of consumer-level hosting deals, and many ISPs offer the app as a one-click install option from your domain control panel; it takes about five minutes.

There’s an even quicker and simpler alter­native, however, which is to go to (rather than .org) and sign up for a free ready-hosted blog, which just works. You lose all of the control and flexibility of host­ing your own site, but it’s a very easy start.

One of the major advantages of using a CMS is that when you want to make a change to the look of your site you can simply install a new theme; in much the same way you could change the theme in ¡Web, without having to redo any of the content. WordPress includes a simple theme installer that lets you browse an online repository and apply a new look instantly.

Once you start to get more confident, you can edit the code of these themes, either using the built-in editor or in a suitable editor on your Mac, such as CSS Edit, which lets you tweak the underlying styles while pre­viewing the live results.

Description: WordPress dashboard
WordPress dashboard

Each template consists of a series of tags that extracts your content from an underly­ing database and slots it into the appropriate positions on your pages. With a rich text editor and media upload tools built in, the server-hosted app includes everything you need to publish online from anywhere you have access to a browser.

WordPress’s editing tools have received a series of significant upgrades over the last few revisions, and it now offers a distraction- free full-screen editing mode. If you prefer to work with a regular app, try MarsEdit, (, which offers both HTML and rich text editingthat works like a regular word processor, and can embed images directly from your Lightroom, Aperture, ¡Photo and even Flickr galleries.

An active community of developers is constantly working on plug-ins to extend WordPress, and most can be downloaded for free from a database of over 18,000 com­ponents. These, combined with a Widget system that lets you drag and drop elements in your site’s sidebar, go some way towards replicating the Widgets feature in iWeb.

“Take this opportunity to consider all your options. It mignt be time to switch to a CMS like WordPress”

WordPress is often associated with blogs, but even if that’s not your thing and you never used ¡Web’s blogging tools, don’t make the mistake of thinking WordPress won’t suit you. It makes a distinction between posts and pages. Posts are more frequently updated entries, like blog items, diary entries, club news, sports results and so on. Pages have a longer shelf life, and although they traditionally comprise contact and 'about’ information by default, there’s no reason why they couldn’t be the individual pages of a portfolio, or product and service details on a business site. WordPress is highly flexible. You can choose which page appears as the site homepage by clicking Settings > Reading in the WordPress dashboard.

All the content you create is held in a MySQL database (though you don’t need to be aware of this in the slightest), and building your site in this way means that if you ever need to switch hosts in the future you can export your o WordPress database and feed it into an installation on a differ­ent server, complete with links, images and metadata. Content can even be extracted for using on a differ­ent platform. If you’ve followed our advice to sign up to Dropbox, the BackWPup plugin ( will perform daily, weekly or monthly automated backups of your site to your Dropbox.

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