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I first came across NetOjects Fusion sometime around Autumn/Winter 1999 in WH SMITHS one morning / afternoon while taking a break (was either lunchtime or a free period... of which I had rather alot) from failing a GNVQ I.T. course @ Redcar & Cleveland College I was doing back then. A full version of "Netobjects Fusion2" was being offered for free on the front cover CD-ROM of a computer magazine called "Software World", along with a time limited demo of "Netobjects Fusion4"....... since I'd only had a PC of my own about 4months back then, and had next to bugger-all software for it, how could I resist? Especially since it looked like it could beat the living crap out of the restricted demo of "HotDog Express" I'd got off the front cover CD-ROM off "Internet Advisor" a couple of months previously. I think it was around 2001 I noticed a new version was being unleashed......... "NetObjects Fusion MX", with exciting new features in addition to the exisiting ones....... but as it cost around £99 at the time I didn't think too much of it, on the basis it was so expensive and I wouldn't be able to afford it.
Early the following year, and due to circumstances beyond my control...... namely getting pissed off at twice setting up message boards with companies offering free messageboard services, and twice having them deleted when they decided to ditch the free hosting in place of pay for only....... I resorted to getting premium paid for domain name & website hosting off "1&1 Internet Ltd" (since they were UK based, and therefore unlike the American based messageboard providers accepted the NATWEST Switch Debit card I had at the time), and part of the package included receiving £400 worth of free software....... part of which consisted of this "NetObjects Fusion MX" software + an add-on called "Apollon Component Tools".
Basically, NetObjects Fusion is a piece of software for creating professional looking websites, without the need for buggering about with HTML code...... and works pretty much like a Desktop Publishing package. Best of all it automatically saves your work when you hit the X button in the top right corner of the window to close the program...... so if you somehow manage to hit it by accident, you don't end up loosing the bloody lot. + it also creates an automatic back-up.
Installing it is pretty straight forward, standard MS Windows Proceedure: launch the .exe file, follow the onscreen instructions..... so fairly idiot proof.
Starting a website with it is easy as anything... just open the program, then select FILE > NEW SITE > BLANK SITE and a page appears with a little box marked "HOME" (for the front page / index.html). To add more pages, say "About Us", "Links", "Contact Us", etc click on the button along the top marked "New Page", which will add a new box, marked "Untitled1", "Untitled2", "Untitled3", etc. Click on where it says "Untitled" to select it, then enter the name you want to call it..... and while it does so, it also automatically adds the page titled to the auto-generated menu's & title bar. It does so in a family tree like structure, so if, say the "Links" page is getting too damn big, click once to hi-lite the box representing the page, hit the "New Page" button, and it'll open box underneath it, then can just change it from "Unititled4" to "Links 2" or something like that.
To go to the page you want to work on, either double click on the box representing the page on the tree structure, and it'll take you straight to it, or........... click once on the box to hi-lite it, then press the button marked "page" (3rd one along the top), to go back to the structure, press the button to the left of it marked "Site".
You also get a variety of site styles with the software (click the "Style" button.... 4th one along). You can select from a variety included with the software, but also choose from stackloads more online..... from within the software, once your in "Styles" press the "Online styles" button. and a box will appear in the middle of the screen, giving a list of ones available on the left, and a preview on the right once you've clicked on them (kinda like on the software it's self, but smaller). Once you've found one you like, click "Set Style", and it'll automatically change all your pages to that style + all subsquent pages added later.
Once you're done, uploading is easy too, as it has a built in FTP uploader to get it onto your webhosting space.
Adding things is easy..... things like Images, Flash animations & PDF files can be inserted simply by clicking the appropriate button on the menu, clicking & dragging to create a frame..... then from the palette menu type thingy just select the file you want to include..... no messing about with "<IMG SRC=" or "<EMBED>" html tags.
Put simply, this is the quickest & most idiot proof way to knock together a professional looking website..... once, one of my friends in the States needed a website for a home business she was setting up with a relative, she asked me to do it since she didn't have any knowledge of making websites. She went off to post a letter or something (we mostly only get to talk over Instant Messenger while she's at work these days), and when she got back 30minutes later I already had the site up & running (and without any technical gremlins) on my webspace.
Hell of alot easier to use than Dreamweaver, too. ------ additional: One thing I forgot to mention is this version has been replaced by an even better version...... even it's successor, Netobjects Fusion 8 can be had for free on Magazine cover disks (take a look next time your in a newsagents).
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