We already have several web based Office suites. Hence, itï¿½s only natural that someone would come up with web based web-design tool. Here are three web-based web-design tools.
Synthasite : The newest kid in the block is Synthasite. It sports an advanced tabbed interface that is very similar to desktop based solutions. It offers a rage of templates to get you started. Synthasite is widget based and you need to drag and drop widgets to create your website. Currently not many widgets are available but that is again due to it’s young age. Synthasite is in early technical preview stage and there are many quirks. It also made Firefox unresponsive on a couple of occasions. Also note that the content created during tech preview may be lost when newer versions are released. South Africa-based Synthasite has ambitious plans. Expect a lot of new features in the coming days.
Weebly : Weebly is yet another free WYSIWYG based web-development tool. Weebly offers a decent number of high quality templates. The editing options are displayed in a horizontal bar at the top. I was very impressed with Weebly’s interface. Its intuitive and extremely simple to use. Undoubtedly Weebly’s biggest strength is its ease of use. Every object is presented as a widget which can be dragged and dropped. You can create new columns, insert text, pictures, video, adbrite ads, feed reader, Google maps, flickr photo galleries, webforms as well as custom html. Weebly also released their own blogging platform recently. New widgets are being added constantly and Weebly plans to open up their API to allow others to create widgets. Another advantage of Weebly is that it allows you to download your website.
SiteKreator : SiteKreator is an advanced platform for developing websites. It offers a large amount of templates and styles; however most of them are not available in Free account. If you decide to go for the professional package you would get access to a large gallery of stock photos, fonts and navigational menus. Professional account allows you to create galleries, webforms, forums and blogs. SiteKreator sports a very simplistic interface, but it works rather well. There are tiny icons – when you hover over them you get the option to add or edit objects. Here is a website created with Sitekreator. Overall SiteKreator is quite an advanced solution and clearly its not just amateurs that they are targeting.
All of these services are WYSIWYG based and are excellent options for novices. Anyone can create decent looking websites with these services with just a few mouse clicks. No html knowledge is required. In fact solutions like SiteKreator are powerful enough to even satisfy the needs of corporates. These services can be useful to SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) business, which cant afford large team for web development. Power users (with some knowledge of html) may miss the flexibility offered by powerful desktop based applications. But make no mistake these tools can take on many desktop based Web Authoring Systems.
ETA : I missed out on another similar service called Jimdo. Jimdo is another hassle-free easy to use tool for creating webpages. Here is a website created with Jimdo. With Jimdo you can add rss feeds, youtube vides, flickr photostreams, del.icio.us bookmarks, photogallery, web forms and flash content to your page. You can even send newsletters. However ads are inserted automatically in pages created with Jimdo.