Sounds good to us, especially as this first release already has a strong set of new features.
Buying a 365 product not only gets you a perpetual licence, you’ll also get new features as they’re developed over the 365 days after purchase (no more waiting for the next version), and supporting services such as online hosting are also free over the same period.
Animations are a highlight, with new support for parallax scrolling, 30 other scroll animations, and 40 extra “on reveal” animation types.
Xara’s SmartShapes technology now handles some genuinely smart objects, including photo grids and charts. Just drag and drop your photos into the attractive grids and you can scan, pan, rotate, resize or reposition them to suit your needs.
There should be much more to come, as an upcoming SmartShape API will soon allow developers to extend Web Designer 365 with their own plugins.
Symbol support is another highlight, with the addition of Google’s Material Design icons giving easy access to more than 1500 professionally designed vector graphics.
There’s also search tool to find the symbol you need, and it can then be inserted into your page as an editable vector graphic, or inserted into text.
Xara Web Designer has a cloud-based editor, Xara Online Designer, enabling sites to be edited anywhere, on any device. It’s still in beta and doesn’t have the full Web Designer feature set, but Xara says it’s “evolving rapidly”, and additional functions will be made available under the 365 Update Guarantee.
This example site gives you an idea of what can be done, showing the new parallax effect on the header graphic, along with scrolling animations, SmartShapes, photo grids and more.
As previously, the program is available in two versions.
($49.99 normally, $44.99 until May 1st) is the baseline edition we’ve detailed here.
Xara Web Designer Premium 365 (64-bit) ($99.99 normally, $79.99 right now) is an extended edition with tools to create presentations and animations, ecommerce and chart widgets, photo sliders, extra graphics tools, and more.
Both packages have trial builds available for Windows Vista and later.