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

Apple is terminating the MobileMe web hosting service as of June 30, 2012. That means that users who hosted their website at 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.


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, or, 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.