Free Online Design Tools
The lastest trends in photo and
Web development are the use
of free online tools for Website
development. Because they are
online and often designed for
mobile use as well, they have
seen broad use in both mobile
and online circles.
Above are two examples of the best “largely free” [advanced features are charged at varying price points] online photo
editors. They run in all of the latest browsers and have mobile versions that work well in the large screen smartphones and
most tablets. Their limitations are speed of operations, size of images that can be safely edited, and number of features
offered to photo editors.
In a similar fashion, free online Web development is appearing as well with such software as Weebly and Webs SiteBuilder. In
addition two of the best online Blogger tools, Google Blogger and WordPress.com, have website building tools that support
widgets, menus, web pages as well as blog posts - thus, they are now general Web site building tools as well.
The screenshot to the left shows the Webs SiteBuilder in action online. As you
can see at the bottom of the screenshot, Webs SiteBuilder provides number
of element buttons which allow for fast development using drag and drop
creation of Web pages :
1)Image+Text element -a text block allowing image embedding
2)Slideshow - inserts a slideshow allowing multiple images with transitions
3)Video and Audio buttons - for adding video and audio to a Webs page
4)Google Maps - alows adding many styles of maps to a page
5)Forms - adds input forms for user interaction on apges
6)Menu Buttons - allows adding menu buttons to a page
Most important most of these same features are available in Weebly,
Wordpress, Google Blogger, Wix and many other modern Web Design tools.
So more than ever before Website Building has become both low cost and highly effective. Now the task for both developers
and users alike is to choose among some very good tools for Web development.
Web components have been
discussed for the past 3 years
in various W3C working groups.
But what is happening now is
such Web Components as
Templates, Shadow DOM, and
Custom Elements starting to
appear in browser apps and
Firefox, Google and Opera.
This more rapid development
is spurred in part from
mootols, Angular, and others
delivering similar capabilities
to what Web Components
offer. There are security and
reliability considerations that
and functionality now.
But software vendors see the advantage of being first with Smarty-like templates for HTML5 or where a <tree> or <grid> tag,
defined as a Custom Element brings scripted and extendible behaviours and styling to the design of a website. And with
Google and Mozilla racing to provide Java Script libraries which make Web Components available on all the popular browsers,
Web Components appear to be on leading edge of major HTML and Web Development breakthrough.
SaaS-Software as a Service and Cloud Services
In contrast, to Web Components, SaaS
and Cloud Services are the current
perpetual rookies much like SOAP and
WSDL were through the late 1990’s and
2000’s in IT development. Both SaaS and
Cloud Services have been declared as
the next Big Thing in IT and Web
development for the past 4-5 years. But
just as SOAP and WSDL faltered on
complex, top-down models [see the
chart at left], SaaS with Cloud services
could likewise stumble on the
complexity of its models. Key SaaS
systems suffer from a top down approach
which works against current Web
demands for Agile development cycles But also considerable vendor fragmentation and proprietary methods did in SOAP and
WSDL and the same is happening in key Cloud Services.
For example, proprietary technology impacts major SaaS offerings from vendors such as Adobe, Amazon, Google, IBM,
Microsoft Oracle, SaleForce and SAP among dozens of vendors. The problem is not with interfacing to the SaaS and Cloud
Services where standard RESTful systems using well understood HTTP, JSON, and XML APIs are available from most vendors.
The problem is in very different methods for configuring, operating and controlling each vendors SaaS apps where proprietary
But SaaS continues to prosper despite its proprietary problems because with plunging prices of hardware and hard disk space
SaaS vendors are able to offer Cloud Services at a yearly starting cost that is less than a well equipped desktop PC from 4 years
ago. Also, through the magic of virtual systems, Cloud Services are able to accommodate sudden surges and later drops in
demand in demand better and more cost effectively than the customer could do in their own in-house computing facilities. As
well Cloud Services offer users real back-up, storage, and Internet bandwidth that also can be more expensive in self-
So already Web tools are geared towards interfacing tightly with a number of Social media systems with proprietary APIs to
Adobe Cloud, Google Apps and Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter among others. Expect Web Tools to start to interface in a
similar tight fashion to SaaS vendors as well for a wide array of database and large scale business applications.
The trend in Web Development is the continuing prevalence of proprietary. To this day, Microsoft maintains an IE browser that
has its own proprietary extensions and which again, is well behind the other major browsers in implementing HTML5 standards.
But Microsoft is not alone, key HTML5 standards for Web database, offline operations, CSS3 syntax and operations, plus Web
Microdata and Application Services have widely diverging implementations among the major browser vendors. This proprietary
streak is reflected in SaaS and Cloud services where even the RESTful interfaces have variations among the vendors which
become much more pronounced when doing vendor specific configuration, coding and customizations of apps on the Cloud
FireFox make Web Components applicable cross browsers. This is sort of like what jQuery did for versions of IE, it brought CSS,
carefully as a)the standards emrge and b)how closely the major vendors adhere to those standards.
Finally there is good news concerning basic web site development. There are many tools that make designing and building a
website much easier to do and at low if not no cost other than time to the website owner. Xara Website Designer is exactly one
of those tools - so see the review to see how well it delivers on the promise of website development for everyone.