Namu6

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Namu6 is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website creation and editing tool that can be used by anyone without any HTML or coding knowledge required.

I will start by saying that this is a beautifully designed program.

Whenever I review programs like this I expect to spend a few days working with the program, reading instructions and going through tutorials before I can come to grips with it and/or get to a point where I can start generating results; Namu6 was so intuitive and so simple to use that I was a bit taken aback.

As an added bonus it does a very competent job creating websites too.

Here are some notes on this program:

  • The user interface: simple and uncluttered. There are a number of controls on the toolbar but you will not use these much; 90% of your interactions with this program will consist of selecting an element on the page and right-clicking to prompt a context menu that is relevant to the element you are working with. These menus are very well organized and somewhat sparse, but they manage to deliver most of the functionality that you need.
  • The website theme: Namu6 will have you design a theme for your website (i.e. what the top banner will look like and how it will be formatted, what the text headers and different borders will look like, etc.) Once this is in place it applies to your website as a whole; i.e. the look and feel you create will be preserved across all pages. On the one hand, this makes your website consistent throughout, and the site will not be a mess of different colors and fonts. On the other, though, it also makes it very difficult to create different pages with custom looks and/or styles. Note that the program comes with a number of built-in themes and a you can download more from the website.
  • Form vs. Function: Namu6 contains enough features/functions to deliver clean, competent sites that are as good as those produced by any for-pay WYSIWYG programs in its class (if not better). You can do a lot of things and all the features are streamlined into the overall economical design. On the flip side you will at times want to do simple things and find that you can’t (e.g. using gradients, changing background colors for certain parts, inserting tables, etc). Compared to other website creators Namu6 can feel a bit restrictive.
  • HTML editor: there isn’t one, unfortunately, which can really limit what you can do beyond hammering out the basic website. What you could do if you want to install a widget or two or Google Adsense ads or anything else is to export to HTML and then use an HTML editor to insert any such custom elements into the site.
  • Working with objects: most objects such as pictures, headers, and margins can just be dragged and resized at will, and pictures can be cropped right within the interface, which is quite nice.
  • The cookie-cutter effect: websites created with Namu6 will look similar to some extent. To find examples, I searched Google for “made with Namu6” (by default the program embeds this string in the bottom of your site, although you can switch this off from the options menu). Check them out.

This program has a number of strenghs (a) the learning curve is short; you can hammer out a 4-6 page website in 2-3 hours, (b) it is very simple and straightforward, making it easily accessible to a wide audience, (c) the user interface is simply brilliant, (d) it can generate good solid websites that work and have all the elements that a website must have, and (e) it is fun to use. As a freeware website building program it is on the top of my list.

Version tested: 2.4

Compatibility: Windows 98, Me, 2000 or XP. Seems like it works fine on Vista as well, although its not stated as such in the Namu6 site.

Go to the download page to get the latest version (approx 3.9 megs). Also visit the program home page.