Homepage Maker 5 

Fancy having your own web site? Then this is one of many products that say they will make it easy to do. Is it just as easy as they say?

The install was easy enough but before that you have to fill in the registration form and worst still it will not let you do the install until you have gone online. Why have a yes/no choice if 'no' leaves the screen up and 'yes' will not proceed until you have gone online. I am not a fan of forced registration and worst still one that purports to offer a choice but does not. The install took 130MB of hard disc and took just over 3 minutes.

You could just start the program and start filling in names, folders and other information. However for a novice I doubt that anything of any great value will emerge from this exercise. The first step should be to read the 132 page manual or at least dip solidly into it.

Once you have entered basic details the HTML Editor is the place you have to get used to, it is divided into two vertical panes with the folders on a narrow left band and dependant on what is selected the right side will either display the editor window or the internal preview window.

Creating a project is what most will want to do and no doubt to great anticlimax you are not near entering or making HTML data but only in making decisions that at this stage may not seem important but are vital, things like colour schemes, if you want people to read what you have written make the scheme something not to garish, this is called a designset. Once you have designed a few pages you will realize this stage was one of the more important. Luckily there is a design button in the Editor to probably tone down your first choices. There are templates - and unless you have a great deal more talent than me - use them.

Now onto creating pages again there are wizards to determine how the text will flow and ten different page styles are a tick box away in the page wizard. A copy of Perfect FTP is included (freeware) to enable you to upload your website to the server. But long before this I expect you will need to make repeated visits to the Design Adjustment Wizard for the first time you get a chance to see if your graphics fit, you also see if text is readable on the colour background you have chosen and at last you are not guessing. By this point I suspect that a great number of people will have said this product is not for me.

I am told there are packages that can do all this without you ever seeing something like 'javascript:vs_addid(1):jsdata_showelements(0):' certainly this is not one of them and like another recently reviewed program you certainly need to get your hands dirty and that is why reading the manual is vital. A great deal is made of PHP Functions but in the small print it says these can be used only if your server supports PHP will the average user know this? If not how can they find out?

This is the basic version of Homepage Maker 5 the same manual also covers the Pro version (£50 more) and then there are two other versions for specific tasks. While I managed to create something - after many aborted attempts - if was even by my standards 'crap'.

The words 'learning curve' are often banded about and while I have not tried other products of this type this to me was rather like do it yourself brain surgery and something I am unlikely to try again in a hurry.

Should you have more ability and understanding and you already have this - or another such product - then please do write a review.

Should my lack of ability have spurred you on then spend £19.99 from the link below and let us all know that it is not as hard as it seems to me. 

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Comment by jeff, 3 Feb 2008 20:57

i bought this as i know nothing about htlm.wish i had kept my £10 .to much german ,could not work it out .does not support help on vista ,never got on thare web page once very slow ,very frustrating for newbie like me .looks good on the box wouldent type in some boxs.only few tenplates .over all rubbish pay for what you get ,dont reccomend at all if you dont understand like me .get someone to show you or buy reccomened product

Comment by paul_smart, 8 Dec 2007 18:40

That's at least the opinion of yourself and Paul Stubbs, I was not impressed either but mainly for the unintelligle manual.

Comment by Reef, 8 Dec 2007 18:30

The most useless piece of software I ever loaded!!

Comment by paul_smart, 27 Oct 2007 9:21

Glad it's not just me that found it hard to understand

Comment by Paul Stubbs, 27 Oct 2007 0:00

I played around with it until the early hours and couldnt even get started. I sent the company an email asking how I could just get a simple page. That was over a week ago and still not had any reply.

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