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Alternatives to Adobe's Creative Cloud

Duncan Evans | June 18, 2013
Discover the software alternatives when you unplug the Creative Suite drip

Of course, at £799 you might not really consider QuarkXpress to be much of an alternative, in which case Scribus (Free) might be more appropriate. This is open source so it's free but still supports colour separations, CMYK, ICC colour management, PDFs and spot colours. Graphics are supported with images, charts and graphs while text features drop caps, frames, lists and a Story Editor.

Dreamweaver web design
If you like the drag and drop, visual method of designing websites, rather than hand-coding everything, then Dreamweaver is ideal. Finding a like-for-like replacement is a little harder because it features the WYSIWYG design interface as well as a code editor with sophisticated syntax-checking. However, one to look at is RapidWeaver 5 (£54.99) which comes with 11 types of built-in page content types. These cover everything from graphics-heavy photo albums to text-friendly blogs and contact forms. For the actual website design there are 45 preset themes included where you can change from one theme to another with just one click. There's built-in support for FTP and SFTP to upload the site. If you do need to get your hands dirty with coding then that's possible as well but it's the automated features like relinking when you move pages around and a dedicated plugin that creates a sitemap automatically that will be most appreciated. To back it up there's support for GoSquared LiveStats and Google Analytics plus a host of add-ons, all rounded up in one area. Code generated by RapidWeaver is guaranteed to look good in all popular browsers and the themes are built using CSS so they can be customised if required. Some alternatives include Sandvox ($79.99) from Karelia Software which offers a drag and drop interface for HTML5 code with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube integration. There's also Freeway 6 Pro ($149.99) which allows you to design the pages visually with master pages for content and style. It's ideal for creating new website concepts and testing them.

Easy websites with Muse
So if you found Dreamweaver too technical then you may well have become acquainted with Muse which offers an even more visually orientated design interface. More like page-design than web, Muse still allows snippets of code to be used but they are cut and pasted in when required. Again, RapidWeaver is a great alternative but for truly simple web design take a look at Artisteer ($49.95/$129.95). This uses basic templates and adds photo objects and buttons and can export Wordpress themes, Joomla and Drupal templates. Of course, iWeb was the natual alternative to Muse but Apple canned that along with MobileMe. Online alternatives now include Jimdo (Free) where you can start creating a hosted website by selecting templates and layouts or customising the ones supplied. You can add a webstore, include image galleries viewable with Flash and HTML and add Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links. The Pro version is £60 per year and adds more professional designs and options, while the Business version at £180py adds a sophisticated online store. There's also Weebly (Free) which has a free model for a basic website, $4pm for the Starter package that adds custom branding options, expanded site stats and support, and the $8pm Pro package. All the sites are SEO optimised, have links to social media and blogging. There are 100s of contemporary site designs and layout is easy with a drag and drop interface. Sites will work on everything from the desktop browsers to iPhone and iPad.

 

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