Right from the first moment you open Adobe GoLive!, it becomes obvious that this is not your standard Web page layout tool.
Right from the first moment you open Adobe GoLive!, it becomes obvious that this is not your standard Web page layout tool. Clearly aimed at the professional market, Adobe GoLive! lacks wizards, 'pre-canned' templates and the word processing layout approach of most of its competitors.
Unlike these other tools, GoLive! utilises an accurate grid based layout which requires you to accurately position graphics, text, Java objects and other Web page elements on a tight grid. To layout a Web page, one selects a grid and sets it to the size of the page. Objects are added by dragging and dropping placeholders for the objects on the grid and finally graphics and text are positioned inside the placeholder. Whilst this is considerably more work than merely typing the page in a standard editing tool, it does ensure that elements do not 'jump around' as the page is edited. One little 'gotcha'; the grid layout only works with pages created in GoLive!. If you open a page created by any other method, GoLive! reverts to the standard 'word processor' layout mode.
Being a professional Web designer tool, GoLive! includes elaborate control of colour for text and backgrounds. Since GoLive! is able to manipulate the Web objects themselves, this colour control can also set the colour palette for GIF and JPEG images included in the Web page. Also included in GoLive! is a full version of the Apple QuickTime movie editor which can be used to create movies for display in Web pages (with the appropriate browser plug-in). Whilst the movie editor may be handy for producing little animations or selecting parts of a movie to include on the Web, it is unlikely that many designers will attempt to create their own cartoons using this tool.
Of course, GoLive! provides extensive support for frames via the frame view which allows one to drag and drop the various Web pages into the template to create the frame enabled site.
The site management tools are excellent. Simply point GoLive! in the direction of your Website and it quickly scans all files to build an overview of your site. Depending upon how you like to work, you may use a hierarchal folder analogy to access individual pages of your site or you may prefer a flowchart view which shows how pages are related. Irrespective of the view, GoLive! clearly indicates which pages have problems with a little green bug icon and which pages are linked with appropriate arrows. The site management tools also include handy features such as global search and replace of links and the ability to use both relative and absolute links in the same site and switch between them as required.
Once you are satisfied with your site, you can upload to your Web server with an FTP client built into GoLive! This FTP client is claimed to be seamless and is smart enough to only upload changes, thus saving on ISP charges.
However, there is a price to pay for all of this power. GoLive! is far from intuitive (if you have ever used any other Web design tool) and a good read of the manual is essential. Whilst GoLive! does have comprehensive online help, it is ironically not context sensitive. This is frustrating if you are in the source screen and you want to press F1 to quickly find out about a particular tag. Although this information is available in the Web database, it is accessed via another part of the program when it should have been integrated with the help system.
GoLive! clearly started out life in the Macintosh world as is obvious from the interface. Whilst most Windows users can operate a Macintosh GUI, having non-standard controls makes using GoLive! just that little bit more difficult for Windows users. Again, I hope that this will be fixed in the next release.
On the whole, GoLive! is an excellent tool for professional Web designers and programmers. If you design Web pages for a living or are a graphic artist who can handle the precision of tools such as Illustrator, then GoLive! is for you. On the other hand if you just need to produce a Web page for home or business, GoLive! will be too hard to use and somewhat overkill.
This Review appeared in the December, 1999 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine