Make a Website Without Coding Knowledge, Thanks to Free Beta of Breezi
At a Glance
Just because Microsoft no longer makes FrontPage doesn't mean people no longer need a visual way to create websites. On the contrary: Breezi (currently in free Beta) joins the ranks of visual website creation tools alongside Wix, Weebly, Jimdo, and many other tools. Breezi may not be unique, but it sure has style.
The whole point of creating a website visually is that you don't have to be a Web developer. Breezi understands this, and crafted a beautiful introduction that works even if you know nothing about Web development. You don't even need an account to go through the tutorial. It starts you off with a basic template for a website selling unicorn meat, and then you watch a short video about playing with text labels. Then you try it out yourself, and move on to the next step, which has another short video and exercise. The whole thing is six steps long, and took me about ten minutes to work through. At the end, I was ready to begin, and knew my way around Breezi. It is one of the smoothest introductions I've seen for a site creation tool recently.
To design a page with Breezi, you start off by selecting a layout. The layout is a basic grid: For example, a header, then a large content area split down the middle, then a footer. Most layouts are more complex than this, but that's the basic idea. To place content into your layout, you drag and drop apps (Breezi's name for widgets). There's a text app for plain text and titles, a video app, a Twitter app, a picture showcase app, and so forth. You just drag an app and drop it onto a slot in the layout, and then you can configure it--fill in your text, pick a content source for your video, and so forth.
Breezi also offers a built-in blog editor, but unlike Weebly, will not let you invite collaborators. The idea is that the designer will finish working on the site and then hand it over to the customer for editing the content.
Much like the new version of Wix, Breezi is entirely HTML-based. Avoiding Flash is a good idea, but when I tried editing my Breezi website in Firefox, the browser slowed down to a grind and could not handle the editor. Breezi says this may be because of some Firefox add-ons such as Firebug. Switching to Chrome fixed the issue, and the site became more responsive.
Breezi does not break new ground in terms of functionality, but it is a nice take on the visual website creator concept. Its gradual and polished introduction helps even inexperienced users get up to speed, and its sensible layouts help ensure that your website is nicely composed.
Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor's site, where you can use this Web-based software.