For all you do-it-yourselfers out there who want to build a Web site for your small business, you might be interested in the latest news from WebAssist, a San Diego, Calif.-based software development company. Today it announced the availability of Site Assist 3.0, an extension designed for use with Adobe Dreamweaver.
An extension modifies or adds to the existing capabilities of a software application. According to WebAssist, the new extension will let people create sites that use modern Web standards like cascading style sheets (CSS). Style sheets define and control how Web pages look in terms of colors, fonts, layouts and other characteristics related to presentation.
Pick Your Business: Start by selecting the structure best suited to your company's industry.
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"Standard-based sites that use CSS-based layouts are easier to maintain, more flexible and better supported by current browsers," says Eric Ott, president of WebAssist. "We've added all the benefits of CSS functionality in SiteAssist 3.0 while keeping the tool very easy to use."
According to Ott, SiteAssist simplifies the common challenges of building a professional-quality Web site creating and maintaining site navigation and providing for cross-browser support. "These issues are tough enough for experienced Web developers. Small businesses need an easy way to generate a Web site without requiring a lot of technical know-how," says Ott.
SiteAssist is designed to make building Web sites easy, or what the company calls "point-and-click simple." It further claims that the extension lets you build a site "in seconds."
A five-step wizard walks you through the process, starting with a selection of industry-specific Web site structures such as: consultants, education, medical professionals, non-profits and real estate each with a navigation scheme appropriate for the industry you choose.
The wizard also takes you through selecting the design elements for the site. Ott says you can mix and match from 20 templates, 10 navigation designs and 11 color palettes and fonts. The variety of the templates, plus the number of possible combinations, says Ott, helps give your site a fresh, unique look and feel.
Lots of Options: The SiteAssist wizard helps you choose your Web site's design, colors and fonts.
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The extension also includes a library of about 40 page layout options from which to choose. These pages include an interactive gallery, single-item highlight and text only, among many others.
SiteAssist also automatically generates a site-map of all the pages on your site. Once the site's created, you can further modify and customize it from within Dremweaver.
SiteAssist lets you make site-wide changes after you've created and posted the site a feature WebAssist calls re-entrant design. For example, you might want to add another page, change a color scheme or update a logo. Once you're finished making changes, the wizard updates them across the entire site.
A partial list of SiteAssist 3.0 features include:
- Five-step wizard
- Integrated Dreamweaver customization
- Re-entrant design for easy site reconfiguration
- 20 professionally designed templates
- 11 professionally designed color schemes, with matching graphic elements
- 17standards-based navigation schemes
- Vertical market site types: Administrative, Consultant, Corporate, Education,
- Medical Professional, Non-Profit, Online Store, Personal, Portfolio, Real Estate and Special Event
- CSS-based, standards-compliant layouts and navigation
- Table-based layouts for clients requiring backward compatibility
- Multi-level navigation automatically generated
- Step-by-step instructions for customizing template and home page
- Getting Started guide
SiteAssist 3.0 is compatible with Dreamweaver 8 and Dreamweaver MX 2004 for both Mac and PC platforms. It's available via download from the WebAssist site and costs $199.99, but the company is selling it for $149.99 until August 15.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
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