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Adobe Muse review

Verdict

Simple, high-impact web design in a completely code-free environment, but we’re wary of Adobe’s subscription plans

Review Date: 13 Sep 2011

Reviewed By: Tom Arah

Price when reviewed: Free

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
5 stars out of 6

It might seem strange that Adobe is producing another web design application – after all, it already produces the dominant market leader in Dreamweaver. However, Dreamweaver’s success comes from its hands-on focus on the HTML, CSS and JavaScript code with which web pages are constructed. In stark contrast, Muse enables you to create design-rich websites in a completely code-free environment.

Based on this design-first principle, you might expect Muse to kick things off with a choice of pre-prepared templates, and that may be the case with the commercial release (which will also have a new name). For now, though, the free launch beta concentrates on helping users produce unique designs from scratch.

Click the New Site command and you’re presented with a simple dialog in which you set the page width (the height adjusts dynamically), number of columns, margins and so on, just as you would in a DTP application.

Adobe Muse

However, when you click OK you’re not taken to Design View, but rather to Muse’s Plan View. Here you’ll see your site presented as a hierarchy of page thumbnails. Building out from your homepage you can quickly add child and sibling pages to create your overall site organisation, and then control and re-order it simply by dragging and dropping.

As well as regular pages, the Plan View lets you add and apply master pages. It’s here that you design the overall look and feel by adding repeating elements such as banners, footers and logos. To help set up your master page framework, Muse provides smart layout guides, automatic object snapping, onscreen feedback and easy grouping.

Muse’s creative design power initially seems strangely limited, since the only drawing tool provided is the Rectangle tool. However, you can apply solid, gradient and bitmap fills, as well as shadow, glow and transparency effects, rounded corners and bevels, so you’ll soon be able to bring your page to life.

Muse also extends its own creative capabilities through integration with other applications. In particular, you can simply copy and paste bitmap graphics into Muse or load and place multiple files, including Photoshop PSD, Fireworks PNG and Flash SWF formats, using the Place Gun. Importing native Adobe file formats offers greater control, such as the mapping of PSD layers to rollover button states, and also enables round-trip editing.

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User comments

Hmm

Love it, cannot wait to see what a fully released version will be able to do, (can built a website in under an hour if you know what you are doing) but wait, subscription charge, erm what!!!. this might be popular with the pirate community then... charging, i'll stick to Dreamweaver then, thanx adobe!!

By mobilegnet on 13 Sep 2011

Didn't they learn anything from PageMill?

By PunxJ on 14 Sep 2011

Subs etc

@mobilegnet - plenty of potential users will be put off by the subscription, Adobe presumably thinks it can make more profits from those that aren't. And of course Muse and hosting could all be rolled into a rolling annual CS subscription to make it more palatable.

@PunxJ They've definitely learned a lot from PageMill. And even more from NetObjects Fusion :)

By TomArah on 14 Sep 2011

Didn't they learn anything from PageMill?

By PunxJ on 14 Sep 2011

The new Frontpage

I've felt for a long time that there is a need for a modern replacement for FrontPage - which was excellent at what it did, but ultimately bad for being non standards compliant. I'm now stuck with a 250 page Frontpage website that I don't have time to re-do in Dreamweaver, this sounds like just the thing to do it for me.

It sounds like ultimately I might end up in the same trap again though...

By roblightbody on 15 Sep 2011

The new Frontpage

I've felt for a long time that there is a need for a modern replacement for FrontPage - which was excellent at what it did, but ultimately bad for being non standards compliant. I'm now stuck with a 250 page Frontpage website that I don't have time to re-do in Dreamweaver, this sounds like just the thing to do it for me.

It sounds like ultimately I might end up in the same trap again though...

By roblightbody on 15 Sep 2011

The new Frontpage

I've felt for a long time that there is a need for a modern replacement for FrontPage - which was excellent at what it did, but ultimately bad for being non standards compliant. I'm now stuck with a 250 page Frontpage website that I don't have time to re-do in Dreamweaver, this sounds like just the thing to do it for me.

It sounds like ultimately I might end up in the same trap again though...

By roblightbody on 15 Sep 2011

The newe Frontpage

What was that again, Rob?

By Binaa on 16 Sep 2011

Anyone tried Supadu?

Try it!
Its awesome and offers way more that MUSE as you can see i am a big fan!!

By supadufan on 7 Dec 2011

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