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After iLife '11: Alternatives to iDVD and iWeb


Over the weekend TUAW is going to be featuring in-depth reviews of the new iLife '11 suite -- or at least the three apps that were updated. As most of you know by now, iWeb and iDVD didn't receive an update at all. In light of that, we've compiled a list of several alternatives to iDVD and iWeb that you may want to try out. From a purely consumer standpoint, I don't think any of these apps offer the ease of use that Apple has so successfully built into iWeb and iDVD, but given that iDVD seems all but abandoned -- as should the MacBook optical drive be -- and the future is uncertain for iWeb, it's always nice to know you have some alternatives.

iDVD alternatives:

SmallDVD
SmallDVD is a simple utility that lets you take any video files and add them to a DVD image ISO which can then be burned onto a DVD using Disc Utility. SmallDVD doesn't have many features, but it will appeal to those of you who want to create very simple DVDs with static background menus. It also has the added benefit of only creating the ISO file which can then be shared to DropBox or iDisk, and then downloaded and viewed on another computer using only the ISO -- no optical drive needed. SmallDVD is a free download.


MovieGate

MovieGate is a step up from SmallDVD, but nowhere near as powerful as iDVD. It lets you create DVDs with chapter support, animated menus with sub-menus, subtitles, and photo slide-shows. The interface isn't very pretty to look at, but if you want a DVD authoring app that might be continually updated, this has more of a chance than iDVD. MovieGate is a free download.

Roxio Toast 10 Titanium
Most people think that Toast is only for creating DVD backups of your data or doing disc-to-disc copies, but it can actually make a pretty good custom DVD that is playable in any DVD player. While the custom menu creation controls are not as impressive as what you get with iDVD, Toast offers some other cool features like the ability to burn EyeTV, Tivo, and web videos directly to your DVD disc. You can also create photo slide-shows directly on the DVD. Toast 10 Titanium is $79 after a $20 mail-in rebate.

iWeb alternatives:


There are really only two good apps out there that I would call iWeb alternatives. Both of these apps lack the out of the box ease of use of iWeb, yet both are easy enough to learn for the novice website creator and offer powerful features that iWeb lacks for the professional web designer.

Sandvox
Sandvox by Karelia Software is a decent web creation app that has friendly user interface control which easily allows you to add web pages to your site and edit their content. Sandvox works by letting the user easily create pages like photo collections, download and contact forms, RSS, and site maps. It also features a nice collection of "pagelets" that allow you to add small sections of content to sidebars on your site. Sandvox comes in two editions: the $57 "regular edition" and the $97 "Pro" edition which adds raw HTML page editing.

RapidWeaver
RapidWeaver is by far the best iWeb alternative. Not only is the software well designed, but what makes RapidWeaver so appealing is its large user base and community who are constantly creating add-ons for the app. The application itself doesn't have the exact drag and drop simplicity of iWeb, but it comes pretty close. It's easy enough to use for someone like me who has zero web design abilities, but also powerful and adaptable enough for professional web designers. If iWeb is indeed finished, the future of simple yet powerful web design on the Mac lies in RapidWeaver. RapidWeaver costs $79 and volume licensing is available.

While this article only addresses application replacements for iWeb, there is one notable web-based option. BaseKit allows you to create and design websites entirely through your browser with no coding skills required. You can choose from hundreds of themes or upload your own theme designed in Photoshop. BaseKit is a monthly subscription that ranges from $8/month for the basic package to $24/month for the pro package. Check out their introductory video below.

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