Summary:

Karelia Software released Sandvox 2.0 Tuesday, a major upgrade to its website building software for the Mac. I had a chance to get a walkthrough of the new release from Dan Wood, president of Karelia Software, and the new capabilities are impressive.

sandvox2-feature

Sandvox 2.0Karelia Software released Sandvox 2.0 Tuesday, a major upgrade to its website building software for the Mac. I had a chance to get a walkthrough of the new release from Dan Wood, president of Karelia Software, and the new capabilities are impressive. I’ve been told that there are more than five dozen new features and major improvements. Some items of immediate interest will be the much more capable and flexible image handling, improved integration with a number of social media and web services, and support for some advanced web technologies.

“Sandvox 2 makes it stunningly easy to create powerful websites,” says Dan Wood. “We’ve made literally dozens of improvements to give our customers the easiest to use website building tool available on the Mac today. Sandvox 2 is far more flexible and a quantum leap forward for our customers.”

Drag-and-Drop Website Design

You can drag and drop images into place on the page and resize them directly by pulling on the corner handles. Text flow around the image and other parameters are adjusted by using the inspector, which also allows for setting up image galleries with lightbox overlays using jQuery animations. All very slick.

Sandvox 2.0 also supports a wide variety of widgets and “objects” that can be dropped into any page. Sites can easily integrate with Facebook (including Facebook Comments), Twitter, Disqus, IntenseDebate and more. YouTube videos can be embedded just by pasting the URL in the YouTube widget and you can insert Amazon product listings with images pulled directly from Amazon too. Under the hood, Sandvox 2.0 sites support HTML5 video and audio tags and jQuery. Sandvox is also smart enough to provide a Flash-based player for browsers that don’t support the <video> tag.

While the popularity of web-based content management systems is growing, Sandvox provides an excellent website creation tool for those that want deep integration with the media and other tools on their Mac. It’s a good compromise between the extremes of using a zero-install online service like Blogger.com or WordPress.com with little flexibility and the technical know-how of installing your own CMS on a hosted service where that flexibility comes with a steep learning curve. According to Wood:

Our customers don’t need to know a lick of HTML, CSS, jQuery, JavaScript, HTML5 or any other technical stuff to drag-and-drop their way to a cool website. That said, people who do know a bit of HTML can use their knowledge to build a powerful site, without being bogged down in the details of putting the whole website together.

Pricing and Availability

Sandvox 2.0 requires Mac OS X version 10.5 (Leopard) or higher and is currently available in English and French (additional languages coming soon). Sandvox is available through Karelia’s online store.

Sandvox 2.0 is regularly priced at US$77 and the upgrade price is US$47. Introductory pricing through May 20, 2011 is discounted by $10 ($67 and $37). Anyone who purchased Sandvox after January 5, 2011 is eligible to receive a free upgrade. New licenses, upgrades, household licenses and site licenses are all available directly from Karelia Software.

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