Freeway 4.2 Pro
Desktop publishing-style Web development application

As one who has used Freeway Pro through its infancy, adolescence, and current young-adulthood, I can report that the progression of this product is consistently impressive. Freeway 4.2 Pro has come a long way and addresses enough bugs and issues, along with its new features, to really warrant a full “.0” renaming (in other words, this could have come out as version 5.0 instead of 4.2). Softpress continues to include the details that make Freeway Pro excellent for the advanced consumer, home office Web guru, design professional, or to those who develop websites for personal use, while also making it a great learning tool. If your need is to be competitive and create interesting-looking websites that differ from what you may find elsewhere, test drive Freeway 4.2 Pro. In this case, Web design takes the high road.

Right from first launch, the design assistant offers categories for you to select a style from the template library. Make your selection and choose from the items presented or go with Blank and incorporate your own elements. The alternative is selecting the Custom option and indicating the parameters of your layout.

Drag-and-drop is an understatement for Freeway Pro in that the ability to drop nearly anything from anywhere into your layout is built in. From your image libraries, other websites, or using the layer capability to add stylized content, it lets your creative energy flow onto your new site with ease. The interface is simple and smart, but don’t let the simplicity fool you. This is a designer’s Web tool because it makes use of Photoshop plug-ins and you can create graphic text with shadow, emboss effects, glow, and other flair for your design. Site-wide spell checking, image masks, and support for nearly any file type allow Freeway Pro to be as much a design tool as a Web design tool. In fact, it’s fun to use. And by the way, this is already a universal binary application available for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

A feature that I found helpful was the addition of e-commerce site development with their Freeway Shop actions. Not only can you design your online store, but Softpress offers their affiliation with Mal’s free e-commerce solution. You can create a fully functional e-commerce solution with far less effort than with most applications—you can even use an existing site and edit it with Freeway Pro.

An issue that gave me some difficulty in previous versions of Freeway Pro was viewing the output in multiple browsers, including Opera, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, OmniWeb, and AOL’s browser, switching between Mac and PC. The results in different browsers were far more consistent in version 4.2 compared to those from competitors, but you should still check your work with as many browsers as possible to ensure that your content displays correctly.

Finally, you have the ability to publish your new site from within the application and, unlike other products that offer such a feature, Freeway Pro can perform incremental FTP upload or .Mac upload from within the application. There are so many features that I would definitely suggest downloading the free trial version. Freeway Pro may not be for everyone, but it may be for everyone else.—Daniel M. East

PRICE $279 (Boxed); $249 (Download)
FROM Softpress Systems Limited
PHONE 800-853-6454
WEB www.softpress.com
FOR Mac

LAYERS VERDICT
HOT Graphic layout Web design; e-commerce creation
NOT Most templates only good learning tools
RATING 4

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