Serif WebPlus X2 is a feature-packed website-authoring tool that won't break your budget - but does it come up to scratch?
Serif has a long history of creative software development, building inclusive tools at budget prices. WSerif WebPlus X2 is no exception, packed with extra resources, easy to use wizards and comprehensive documentation.
The generous templates and clipart are a Serif trait, but we were surprised at how functional the Serif WebPlus X2 web-authoring package actually is.
Serif WebPlus X2 is aimed at casual users, providing a drag-and-drop page design environment that doesn't require any coding experience whatsoever.
In fact, Serif WebPlus X2 feels more like a desktop-publishing package than a web-authoring application. There's no code produced until your site's published – and from our tests the results are clean and readable should you wish to make any manual edits.
There's enough in Serif WebPlus X2 to keep more demanding users happy too – like RSS tools that enable you to insert blog headlines and news feeds. Dynamic forms can be created with a couple of clicks and there are site-management tools too. These include full publishing features, traffic reports and improved search engine optimisation to make sure your pages appear within Google's search results.
For upgraders from previous versions of Serif WebPlus there are several new functions making their debuts. Extended media features includes YouTube clip, podcast and Flash-animated gallery support. All are menu driven, requiring nothing more complicated than typing in a link or two.
There are even dynamic data features, with database and forum connectivity, that use Serif-provided web services. These are insertable as "Smart Objects" directly into your Serif WebPlus X2 pages.
Like many template driven, drag-and-drop design tools, the quality of your site is dependent in part on the quality of the resources provided. The Serif WebPlus X2 package boasts 30 "professionally produced" templates which, although varied in quality, are better than those that many similar tools provide. Some of the special effects, borders and clipart are all a bit "MySpace" for adult tastes, however.
A lack of direct code editing features makes Serif WebPlus X2 unsuitable for professional site design – but there's enough here to keep most other users more than happy. Packed with features, brimming with extra resources and integrated with Serif's own web services, it's a comprehensive and cost-effective choice.