Adobe has released the public beta of a website design tool that, for now, goes under the codename 'Muse'.
Muse, which operates using Adobe's cross-platform AIR runtime, was made available on Monday. Unlike the same company's more complex Dreamweaver, Muse is targeted at graphic designers who want to design and publish websites without needing coding skills.
In a statement, Adobe said the tool used the latest web standards, such as HTML 5 and CSS3, and provided "innovative frameworks for adding navigation, widgets and HTML to include advanced interactivity on a site".
"The ability to build websites as easily as laying out a page in InDesign is one of the most popular requests from our design customers," Adobe's design and web product chief Lea Hickman said in the statement.
Muse provides many customisable site features, including widgets such as navigation menus, and interactive elements such as slideshows and remote rollovers. It allows for master page layouts and site-wide properties, as well as sitemaps that can be quickly changed.
Other signs that Muse is aimed at graphic designers include automatic image optimisation for .psd and .png files when the site is published, and the ability to switch between 'web-safe' fonts and display fonts that are automatically converted to images.
One notable feature of the tool is the ability to create Adobe-hosted trial sites where the designer can test their creation. These can then be converted to paid-for Adobe-hosted sites, sent to clients or exported for FTP to other hosting providers.
Muse also allows 'round-trip editing' so images edited in Photoshop or Fireworks will be automatically reflected in the webpage layout.
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