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Namo WebEditor 5 by Jasc
Reviewed by Ken Greek

HTML editor and site management tool for PC.

Namo WebEditor 5 is a full featured WYSIWYG HTML editor that simplifies the creation and management of web pages and sites. Suitable for beginners and pros, this makes building complex sites easy with a wide range of flexibility. [Namo WebEditor 6 suite is the most current application in this line.]

System Requirements: OS: Windows 95, 98, NT, ME, 2000 or XP.
32 MB RAM (Win 95, 98, ME) 64 MB RAM (Win NT, 2000, XP)
12 - 220 MB hard disk space
Resolution of 800 X 600 or higher, 256 colors or more
MS IE 4.0 or higher (for preview)

Cost: Download version - $139 USD. Boxed version - $149 USD. A free trial download is available from S.J.Namo at this link.

Installation: The setup program runs automatically when you insert the CD and the setup procedure is simple to follow. It will ask for the serial number and license key the first time you run the program. These numbers are on the packing list that usually is affixed to the outside of the box that you received it in, NOT in the Namo package itself, so don't toss that box in the trash immediately when you get it or you'll end up dumpster-diving later (voice of experience :)).

This Reviewer's Thoughts

Let me start this review off with a little personal background. I hand-code 95% of my HTML with a text-based editor, BBEdit, on a Mac. I use this for literally everything from HTML, JavaScript, Visual Basic, ASP, Perl, et al. On a PC I use HomeSite as this has been the closest thing to BBEdit I have found for PC as far as compatible functionality. Both assist code writing to a helpful degree and generate clean code when they do. I've used a number of WYSIWYG editors in the past and they all give me the willies either in the way they work, the sloppy code they write or program specific code that they produce. When I have to use FrontPage for some sites, generally the air turns blue around me and paint peels off the walls. That said, when I first opened up Namo, my first thought was "Oh no...this is another FrontPage!" So it was with some trepidation and reluctance that I dove into Namo.

The more I explored, the more I warmed up to it. Wizards abound and features are automated. I created some single pages. I used the site wizard to quickly make a simple site. And what really stood out and made me begin to smile was when I looked at the code itself that was generated by the wizards...it was clean. Changes made in the WYSIWYG "Edit" window resulted in honest code when viewed in the HTML window. And changes made in the HTML window were accurately reflected in the Edit window...they worked well hand-in-hand. Generated menus with the site wizards produced real live HTML code that could be tweaked by hand if need be, rather than resulting in "bots" as in FrontPage that need to have server-side extensions installed to work correctly.

Adding features to a site is a snap. Want some JavaScript effects? There's a Script Wizard with rollovers, drop-down menus, scrolling text, animations and pop-up windows to name a few to choose from and simple to set up. Choose a wide number of banners, buttons, and other elements to insert from the large range of selections that are provided. Themes are provided for a number of types of sites to use if you choose. A Smart Button editor allows you to use and customize from a large library of vector graphics for buttons, banners and other graphic elements.

One thing I like no matter what program offers it is a table editor and Namo has this also. It removes the tedium of creating tables, especially complicated ones. Visually create and manipulate the table layout by adding, removing and merging cells easily.

Just as tables can be a bit of a pain to set up at times, so can frames and this is another thing that Namo turns into a breeze. Creating a new frameset is merely a matter of picking a layout from the 18 to choose from and it's done...easy as that. Enter the content for the frames in the Edit window, save the files for each frame and you have a perfectly coded frameset. This feature is one I like.

If you need to connect to a database to drive content on a site, the Database Wizard makes that a snap also. Supporting ASP, PHP and JSP formats, it enables you to create interactive content from within the Database Wizard that is well appreciated when compared to to doing it all by hand.

The Site Manager makes managing the pages of your site a snap. Move, rearrange or delete pages quickly. Publish your site to a server once you're ready from there.

And all of this is pretty straightforward to use and well presented...not once in experimenting with what things did or how they worked result in any real surprises. And the printed manual is a joy to use as it is clear and concise, a reference that you can easily find answers to your questions in without having to wade through "geek-speak". This is a manual that you can actually use and understand.

I came away from using Namo with a new appreciation of WYSIWYG editors. This is one that is done right. As a Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool, Namo stands head and shoulders above the more popular FrontPage as far as I'm concerned both in regards to usability and transportability of code...the choice between the two is a no-brainer. The paint on my office walls can now breathe a sigh of relief.

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