Freeway I have really enjoyed this software.

Recently I needed to find new software to use to make and maintain my website. www.thomasrgriffith-artist.com I had been using iWeb for a long time. iWeb was nice software. It offered a fairly limiting amount of options, but it had what I needed, it was easy to use, and it was fast to make changes and updates. However Apple has stopped supporting the software, so it was truly dyeing and bugs that would show up are never going to be fixed. O and when I got my new Mac, iWeb wouldn’t work on it. 😦

It took a lot of comparing and searching and more comparing and more searching. I googled, I binged, I…., well you get the idea.

I can not believe how many choices there are for building a website today. I knew what ever I decided on would be something I was going to use for a long while. I was going to have to rebuild my site from the ground floor again and I really did not want to have to change software anytime in the near future and start again. Needless to say I was cautious.

I found Freeway and gave it a test run. It is definitely a lot more complex than iWeb, but it isn’t so complex that I couldn’t figure out most of it within an afternoon. There are a lot more features than I had before and as I have been using it, there are as many features as I could imagine needing.

I have used a lot of software over the years and my pre-requisites for software have become fairly set in stone. Of course there are times that there just isn’t anything made yet to live up to my picky needs, so I end up settling. Freeway however passes all of my obsessive nitpicks.

1 Elegance,
Software should not have a bunch of crap that is gimmicky and useless. This is something that many of the main graphics software has fallen into being.

If you took the bells and whistles that are never useful out of Illustrator it would become something that did not look like the inside of the space shuttle. Most of these frills can be done by using the better computer every artist has (Their Brain) anyways. It has always seemed to me software companies just keep adding stuff so they can sell the next hot upgrade. Many of these extras come off as campy and lame anyway.

Freeway is pretty elegant. The interface takes a little bit to understand, but once you get there it is very easy. For the bells and whistles, Freeway uses Actions which are like plugins. You can find a huge amount of these that are free or very inexpensive. This way if you want something extra you can simply add it and you are not saddled by a bunch of crap you don’t need. You could make a pretty outstanding site with just the actions that come with.

Many software packages are going this route and I really like it. This also makes room for innovation by others outside of the company and that is a recipe for great ideas and useful tools.

2 Not Excessively over priced,
I am not cheap and I don’t mind paying a fair price, however I take the high price of graphics software personally.

When I first dreamed of being an artist way back in the 80’s all an artist needed was pencils, pens, rulers and a drawing table. Some of these things where not inexpensive, but they were not out of range. Also they didn’t come out with Drawing Table 2.0 in a year and make it so if you didn’t have that one you could’t compete in the market place, our worse your old table would’t work in the studio you currently own.

It seems pretty absurd that software companies are surprised that someone would have the nerve to hijack their software. Hey, you make something that is so essential to a person making a living and put it way out of their price range, what do you think they are going to do?

Freeway is pretty reasonably priced and they offer versions with fewer options for even more reasonable prices. They also have told me that you can do upgrades to the better versions. That in my book is cool! I love decent software that I don’t need to take out a loan for.

3 Great Customer Service
What do I have to really explain about that? I like to be able to call an IT person and say “OMG I broke it what should I do now?”

While I was playing with the Demo version I had questions about what if when I buy this and if this or that happens. I emailed their customer support. What!? They answered with clear and reasonable answers before I even bought the software in a very timely manner? Crazy!

What else is crazy is now they have my money, they continue to answer my silly questions. They even had me send them my file and they looked at it and told me what to do. They have emailed me sample files. That is awesome customer service and I think is the best feature so far of this software.

I hope this little rant on a software package that I enjoy is helpful for anyone out there looking to make their own website. Sadly it is only available for MAC but then if you don’t have a MAC, well I send my condolences. Microsoft isn’t awful, it just isn’t a MAC.

O! and here is a link to the software company that makes Freeway http://www.softpress.com

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