GoLive 6.0

GoLive is our recommended HTML editor for anyone who's serious about designing and coding or managing a company Web site. However, this professional-level program can easily overwhelm hobbyists.

Like many of Adobe's graphics tools, including Photoshop, GoLive sports the standard Adobe look and feel. Its interface consists mainly of a primary editing window and a number of tabbed palettes, which pop up by default on the right side of the screen.

With GoLive, you'll have little trouble building your site. To begin with, once you've opened a new project, you must choose to work in either GoLive's Layout Editor or Source Code Editor. The Layout Editor is a visual, WYSIWYG, code-free work space. Here, you can drag and drop page elements, such as graphics, to different locations or change their properties through the Inspector tab. To create a site from scratch, you start with the Source Code Editor. As you type your HTML, the Code Editor lets you format your document in several different ways. For example, you can opt to colour-code the syntax, number the lines, wrap words and indent the text. If you can't decide which editor you want to work in, the View > Show Split Source option lets you access both views at once. Very convenient.

Hand-coders will welcome the new Syntax Checker, which verifies your code against a document type definition. Adobe goes all out here: it verifies your code for HTML 4.0 traditional and HTML 4.0 strict compatibility so that random syntax errors won't mess up your site, and it searches your code for browser-specific tags so that you can optimise it for various browsers.

Even better, GoLive helps you create pages in WML, i-mode, and WAP for deploying on wireless devices, such as Web-enabled mobile phones. And although a few of GoLive's features, such as the emulator for Nokia phones, aren't available in the Mac edition, GoLive is still one of the few development tools with both Windows and Mac versions (along with Macromedia’s Dreamweaver).

GoLive is so feature-packed that its interface runs the risk of overcrowding. In fact, it's possible to open a few dozen windows and tabs at once. Although the easy-to-use toolbars and palettes -- which include the Inspector, the Objects palette and the main toolbar -- automate tasks that could take hours to code manually, their sheer numbers may overwhelm newcomers and occasional users. To be fair, though, version 6.0 lets you add or subtract items from the toolbars, dock any palette at the edge of the screen and minimise it as a tiny tab. Developers can completely customise the interface using the included Software Development Kit.

Better still, GoLive's management and collaboration tools, namely, the Web Workgroup Server, more than justify version 6.0's £329 (ex. VAT) price tag. With these tools, you can manage your files on a server so that they are available to your team. With GoLive installed, you can check files in or out so that only one person can open a single page at a time. You can also track revisions to see changes to files, get a report of all of the broken links, archive your site and roll it back to a previous version. The server software that installs along with GoLive includes a browser-based interface that makes managing large sites a point-and-click affair. GoLive also integrates nicely with Adobe's other tools -- Photoshop, for one -- so that you can, for instance, import a PSD file (Photoshop’s native file format) and resize it from within GoLive.

For those who want to save time and effort, GoLive's premade templates help you create an entire site based on already-designed pages; you just plug in your own text and images. You can even create your own master templates and lock certain regions, thereby limiting others' ability to edit them. For example, you could lock all regions on a page except certain specific content areas so that less experienced co-workers can update the content without messing up the design.

If you need help using GoLive, you can look for answers in Adobe’s free online forums or knowledge base. The site already contains some support data on GoLive 6.0, as well as some for earlier versions. You'll also get a period of free phone support, but its length will depend on whether you bought an upgrade or the full version.

GoLive's Web Workgroup Server, site-wide templates and features, and its integration with other tools make it ideal for professional Webmasters who create and maintain large corporate sites.