|Full Product Review|
Review by Tanya Metaksa
Webstyle includes over 1000 ready made NavBars, theme sets, animated banners, 2D and 3D headings, buttons, dividers, bullets and bitmap textures. They have a rich variety of attributes to start with; for example, effects can be created using graduated transparency, blends, moulds and perspective envelopes, a combination of vector and bitmap images, including text. The 3D headings (originated in Xara3D) have a variety of lighting and surface attributes as well as a collection of various extrusions, bevel and font types.
Additionally navigation buttons can be constructed within Webstyle from any button previously designed, giving the user limitless possibilities for navigation buttons or bars. Constructing a NavBar is more complex than creating a simple button and some of its colors are not editable. In addition to the color, size, text, and shadow options, Webstyle has an entire menu for navigation bars (see Figure 9). The NavBar menu has areas for creating mouseovers, adding alternate text, and even inserting a URL and a frame location, if one is putting the object of these buttons into frames.
All of Webstyle's objects can be sized. Just click the Size button and the size menu appears, allowing one to adjust the slider or set the size of the graphic in pixels. The whole graphic can be sized or just the button can be changed.
One of Webstyle's useful features is "Style." Creating a Style gives the user the flexibility to save such attributes as shadows, fonts, and color and apply them to other graphics to create a uniform look and feel among objects. Style can be accessed through a right click on the mouse to set the style and then clicking on the menu button at the bottom right of the screen to apply the style to a new template.
Other objects that can be designed using Webstyle are bullets, headings (both 2D and 3D), logos, dividers, and even banner ads. With the exception of 3D headings, all these objects are configurable in the same manner as buttons and backgrounds. When using 3D headings the bevel menu becomes available and several more options can change the 3D look: depth, type, and corner style.
All the templates supplied by Webstyle are in a Xara's own XWS format. Additionally when you Save files for use on the Web, Webstyle saves them both as a GIF/JPEG file and as a XWS file so that it can be reedited, if necessary, into Webstyle. When the Load button is clicked the XWS file will be retrieved and loaded into Webstyle. If it is necessary to access GIF/JPEG/PNG files the Import button must be used, which causes Webstyle to look for the corresponding XWS file. Unfortunately, Webstyle cannot retrieve any graphics files that were not saved as XWS files.
Webstyle is a good product for designing and creating simple and quick Web objects or for prototyping Web pages for others. However, a Web page designer cannot use original files as templates within Webstyle, thus limiting its use to only Webstyle proprietary files. When saving GIF/JPEG files Webstyle gives several options so that if it is desired the files can be further manipulated in other graphics programs.
System requirements are Windows 95, 98, 2000, Me or NT4. It requires a PC with a 486 chip or better, 64 MB Ram, and 40 MB available hard disk space. The full version costs $69, while upgrades from version 2 are $29. A trial version good for 15 days can be downloaded from Xara's Web site.
--By Tanya Metaksa
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