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Apple iWeb '09 review

The easy-to-use web builder only has a few new features

Apple iWeb '09
iWeb '09 is ideal if you're after a casual fling with website creation rather than something more serious

Our Verdict

iWeb is easy to use, but its relatively few included themes lack versatility


  • Virtually zero-learning curve
  • Publish directly via FTP (at last)
  • Widgets add modern touches to sites


  • Most templates are too focused or flat
  • No (easy) offline preview
  • Limited design options

Apple's website creation tool, iWeb, made a big splash when it debuted in iLife '06 but has since been neglected, which is a shame because the application, in theory, is very attractive.

In contrast to other iLife components, iWeb '09 continues to practically discourage individual creativity. Basic editing tools and controls mean working outside the boundaries of included themes can be frustrating and just two new themes have been added in the new version.

Limited options

Only a minority of those themes are versatile; quite a few only suit one purpose, like the Road Trip or Comic Book themes, while others are decidedly juvenile or flat in appearance. If your goal is to put together a personal website with as little effort as possible, or quickly share a collection of media with the world, iWeb is golden. But if you are serious about blogging or are trying to build a site for your business, you should probably look elsewhere.

However, there is a new feature that makes iWeb a bit more compelling: the ability to upload your site to any server via FTP. Previously, you needed a MobileMe account to publish a site automatically, otherwise you were forced to save the site locally and upload it manually to your own server.

While it's nice to see a feature come into fruition (especially when it should have been there when iWeb was first released), other features, such as previewing your site offline, are still missing.

Instead, the significant addition to iWeb is moving widgets and the media browser into a sidebar. The widgets for embedding YouTube videos, Google maps, and more work well, and the implementation is ideal, but it's not enough to make up for the fact that iWeb remains limited.