Adobe Systems has released a new version of Muse, its coding-free web design tool, and the program is packed with significant additions and updates.
A new Forms widget, for instance, makes it easy to add a custom form to your page. Alignment tools help you align page objects in relation to each other, and asset support means you can now link to PDF files, archives, executables and more, ready for your visitors to download.
Muse widgets and controls work far more as you’d expect. Switch a menu between horizontal and vertical, say, and it’ll preserve the same size and spacing, as much as possible. And if you add a lengthy URL to a page and the Hyperlink control only displays the first part, you can now resize it to show the entire address.
Major improvements to HTML code generation include the program’s new ability to create shadows, glows and gradients through CSS, rather than by generating images. And as a result Muse sites are both faster to generate, and quicker to load.
Elsewhere, a new File > Upload to FTP Host dialog allows you to upload a site to your preferred FTP server.
If you’re not hosting the site on Adobe Business Catalyst then Muse will now create an appropriate sitemap.xml file to help deliver better search engine optimisation.
And other additions include Japanese and Italian localisations, greatly improved font handling, and a new ability to set styles, colours and swatches just by dragging and dropping, amongst many others (the official release notes will tell you more).
While in theory we ought to be delighted by all these new features, in some cases it’s hard not to wonder why they weren’t there for version 1.0. Being able to add forms to a page, easily link to PDF files or upload to a specified FTP host doesn’t exactly represent advanced functionality.
Still, at least Muse has these features now, and there’s no doubt that this latest release represents a major move forward for the package. A 30-day trial version is now available if you’d like to sample these new goodies for yourself.