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Softpress Freeway Pro review

Almost any layout on the web without coding

The layout-based approach gives access to a range of DTP-style tools

Our Verdict

A great mid-range tool for creating attractive web pages, without having to know code


  • Works out how to create your layout

    Has support for dynamic web pages

    Easy to use


  • Ruins custom code

    Can't cope with more advanced projects

    No way to tweak code inside this app

Most web packages present a dilemma. The simple ones can produce attractive pages, but don't offer much fine control or flexibility in their designs. The more powerful ones can do just about anything, but they force you to learn HTML and coding to do it.

Freeway is probably the only package available that tries to capture the best of both worlds: powerful features and attractive designs, but without the need to learn how to code.

If you've ever used a page layout program like QuarkXPress or Pages, you'll understand Freeway. You drag and drop elements around the page and customise them using various palettes.

Not only does this include simple things like changing your text's font styles, but it also includes special effects like drop shadows and glows. When you're ready to publish your page, Freeway will work out what it needs to do to replicate your page in HTML.

Freeway comes across as a less polished but more advanced iWeb. It has similar features but supports more sophisticated web functions, such as forms, tables, rich media formats and image maps.

Unlike iWeb, it has standard page layout functions such as item locking and an extension architecture called "actions". It can also deal, in a rudimentary way, with scripting languages and databases such as PHP and MySQL.

Freeway falls short of the likes of Dreamweaver and GoLive, however. Its layouts are all fixedwidth; while it claims to be able to import and include HTML code in its layout, it usually mangles them hideously; and you can't tweak code until you've exported it. If you're looking for a step up from iWeb,

Freeway is the way to go. If you're looking for a way to handle complex or dynamic web pages, look elsewhere. Rob Buckley