In Search of New Website Tools to Replace iWeb, Part II

| John Martellaro's Blog

Apple is terminating the MobileMe web hosting service as of June 30, 2012. That means that users who hosted their website at web.me.com will have to find a new service provider for their site. Also, because Apple has abandoned support for iWeb, a new website development tool is needed. This is Part II of that exploration and describes a new extraction tool in Sandvox 2.6 for your old website just announced by Karelia.

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Last year, I launched the initial discussion of this conversion process in “In Search of New Web Site Tools to Replace iWeb, Part I.” In that article, I pointed to Apple’s FAQ that shows which legacy services would migrate to iCloud and which would not. iWeb publishing is not on the migration list. That means many Apple customers will be forced to move their website.

The first step in your own process is to make sure you have all your content on your Mac. That includes not only your text content in HTML, but also your video, audio, and photos. If you used iWeb, you can access your iDisk and manually transfer the content for safe keeping.  But that doesn’t solve the whole problem.

You might suspect that the next step would be to export your website from iWeb, but that’s not possible. iWeb has some proprietary components that make the migration very, very difficult. Heretofore, the best solution has probably been to identify and isolate your content and build a new website with a new content creation tool. Then host at the new site of your choice, say, Bluehost.com or Networksolutions.com, two that I am familar with.

One company, Karelia Software, has been working hard to make this transition easier for Apple customers. On June 14, Karelia announced a new version 2.6 of Sandvox, its website creation tool, that includes a new feature called “Extract Content of Website.” As Karelia describes it:

Sandvox 2.6 introduces a new Extract feature that brings text and graphic content from previously published websites, such as those produced using iWeb, into a new Sandvox document. Using Extract is simple: enter the previously published website’s URL and Sandvox will automatically examine the website, analyze the main content, and create corresponding pages in a new Sandvox site document suitable for continued development and publishing to a new webhost.”

Here’s Karelia’s screencast video on how it all works.

 

Dan Wood at Karelia explained, “Our goal is to save our customers time and effort on what would otherwise be a fairly tedious, manual process of copying and pasting to bring over content from a previously published website. Nowhere is this more true than with old iWeb sites. Due to iWeb’s proprietary themes and unique page layout structure, there is really no way to precisely and directly import an iWeb site into Sandvox. The Extract feature will still save people a lot of time by providing a reasonable starting point for freshening up or even re-imagining their sites, giving them some overdue modernization.”

Sandvox 2.6Karelia calls it “the train,” an animated sequence of each page being imported.

In the demo I saw, Mr. Wood pointed out that there will still be some editing to do where Sandvox needs user input to flesh out the page details. The plus side of that is that the user has a bit more control of the final look of the page than was possible in iWeb. Also, in the current version, you must point to an actual website on the Internet. It’s not currently possible to point to an iWeb archive on your own Mac and extract, but that feature may come later, according to Mr. Wood.

Sandvox is available directly from Karelia or from the Mac App Store for US$79.99. I have been monitoring Karelia’s work on this for some time, and it looks like a great way to handle your migration before the June 30, 2012 deadline. I hope to have a full review of Sandvox at some time in the future, but don’t wait for that before you download and preserve your current website if you haven’t already done so.

Comments

geoduck

I started converting my site last January and am just about done rebuilding it from scratch. I chose RapidWeaver and set the site up on MacHighway. I even got my own Domain name so that was a plus.

I looked at Sandvox and if I’d have known about this feature last fall I’d have gone with them. It was a really close call between it and RapidWeaver.

IMO it seems awfully late in the game for a MM user to be starting to move their site. Nice writeup though.

skipaq

The site that I manage is not hosted on MM; so there is no need to move it. However iWeb was used to create the site. Thus there will be a need to redo this site eventually. I have been considering RapidWeaver. I will await your review, John. Thanks for the heads up. Saving time and work would be nice. wink

Gee Deezy

I keep praying for one more update to iWeb, which, once mastered, is so easy to use its silly.

I suspect there is little to no chance that update will come.

In the meantime, I have learned, implemented several websites, and pushed Rapidweaver to its limits.  Even though it is not a direct comparision to iWeb, it is more powerful.  I vote for it going forward, with my money and my advice to clients.

Lee Dronick

I have learned, implemented several websites, and pushed Rapidweaver to its limits.

I went from CyberStudio to GoLive then to DreamWeaver after Adobe canceled Golive.

When I started using DreamWeaver I made myself work mostly in code and get away from the drag and drop way of creating pages. This in part to write cleaner code, but a large part was to exercise the left side of my brain. DreamWeaver CS4 has some problems, as do some other CS4 apps, with Lion so I decided to look for something else.

A few weeks ago when Panic Software debuted Coda 2 it was on sale for half price in the Apple App Store so I bought a copy. It has a learning curve and not quite as friendly to my primarily artistic brain as DreamWeaver, but I am starting to get comfortable with it.

As to hosts I am with inmotionhosting.com which was recommended by one of the regulars here. I have been quite happy with the service and have been there for 4 or 5 years.

mrmwebmax

+

For me, I’m personally sold on using the open-source Drupal 7 content management system (CMS) for all of the sites I build. As for theming sites (site templates…the way they look), I use a piece of commercial software called Artisteer. It’s a very powerful one-two punch.

The beauty of using Drupal is that there are so many free add-on modules available. Some, for example, provide access to Facebook and Twitter APIs. For example, I’m building a site for a client right now. Whenever the client sends a Tweet out via Twitter, it gets pulled into their website:

http://www.badasspads.com

Their Facebook page updates also get pulled into the site.

A site that I’m finally—and I mean finally—building for myself includes even deeper integration: It features a blog, and whenever I post to the blog, the site sends a Tweet out via Twitter containing the blog entry title, and a tiny URL pointing to the blog entry.

Anyone who really wants to build powerful, interactive sites should definitely give Drupal a try. The learning curve is steep, but well worth it.

Lancashire-Witch

I’ve taken another route.  Most of my iWeb site content is photos; and I have photos and movies on MobileMe Gallery.
I tried hosting my site on Dropbox; but it was so, so slow. Then, having looked at Sandvox and others I decided to simplify.

I now use new Journals feature on iCloud. My movies are on Vimeo.
With an iPad using the iPhoto app and Photo Stream its very easy to produce pleasing results in Journals.

I just hope iCloud is around for a lot longer than MobileMe and web.me.com.  I couldn’t cope with yet another Apple-disaster-in-the-cloud.

Val Weidner

Thank you for this write up
I have only been using my mac for a couple of years and felt proud when I published my little website with iWeb. Hearing that Apple was ending support for iWeb and the easy hosting that came with my MobileMe account was scary.
I did some research and found rediwebhosting.com who offered a hosting plan for iWeb and a tutorial to show me how to move my iWeb site easily into the new hosting account. When I asked them about alternatives, they suggested I take a look at Freeway and I have now downloaded a free trial copy. It looks more complicated to use so I think I will investigate Sandvox now. My new hosting is suitable for this too as I have already asked.
Nice to see that other companies are keen to help us out. At 70 I don’t want to have to learn too many new things.

JoniWin

I’m looking for something to replace iWeb.

Has anyone tried EverWeb - http://www.everwebapp.com

Looks like it is very similar to iWeb with a few more features like mobile sites.

George Puzo

I had no idea that the web hosting service MobileMe was being terminated. Now I am in need of a new hosting service, do you guys have any suggestions? I would have to say I can see why you did what you did Geoduck. I am thinking that it may be best just to rebuild my website as well. 

George Puzo |  http://innovationsimple.com/ecommerce/

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