by Mark H. Anbinder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A little over a month ago in "Closing the Book on Visual Page" in TidBITS-439, Adam speculated that Adobe's PageMill for Macintosh had quietly faded away, since there had been no sign Adobe would offer a companion to PageMill 3.0 for Windows. A week later, we reported that Adobe was indeed working on PageMill 3.0 for Macintosh, and today, even sooner than expected, Adobe announced an impressive upgrade and released a preview version of PageMill 3.0 for the Mac.
Like its Windows cousin, PageMill 3.0 for Macintosh adds the site management features of SiteMill to an array of new and improved Web authoring features. Scheduled to ship in early October, PageMill 3.0 sports improved table editing, <FONT FACE> tag support, support for Java applet placement (and previewing if Macintosh Runtime for Java (MRJ) 2.1 is installed), site-wide search and replace, cleaner editing of raw HTML (for those who wish to tweak the code themselves), comprehensive contextual menu support, and strong support of Mac OS 8.5.
The biggest enhancement in PageMill 3.0 is likely to be SiteMill's site management capabilities, now rolled seamlessly into the package. PageMill users need never touch a separate FTP client: Finder-like views of a Web site's contents enable intuitive drag & drop management and synchronization of the site. Serious Web designers will be especially pleased that PageMill 3.0 is better behaved than its predecessors when dealing with non-standard HTML and other types of markup used with database software or server-specific functions.
The software's support for Mac OS 8.5 enhancements to the Appearance Manager, contextual menus, and Navigation Services features won't matter to most users initially, though it's nice to see Adobe thinking ahead. The sweeping contextual menu support within the application will be a treat for those who have become used to Control-clicking objects with Mac OS 8. Adobe has stopped short of assuming everyone will wish to use this feature, though, and provides other means to access the controls and commands in the contextual menus.
PageMill 3.0 also includes an update feature that enables the software to check for PageMill updates on Adobe's Internet servers. It can check and perform the updating automatically, check periodically and allow the user to decide whether to download and install the updates, or wait for the user to check for an update manually. These options provide easy and automatic ways to keep the software up to date, without the discomfort many users have with downloads occurring behind their backs.
PageMill 3.0 will be available in early October with an upgrade price of $49 for existing PageMill owners. The new software will sell for $99 on Adobe's Web site if you'd like a product box, CD, and manual, or $79 if you want an electronic version. In the meantime, you can download the 8.6 MB public preview version (a release candidate that may turn out to be the "golden master") and take it for a spin.