Xara Designer Pro X9 - First Look by Gary W. Priester
Xara Designer Pro X9 First Look by Gary W Priester Xara Designer Pro X9 First Look by Gary W Priester Xara Designer Pro X9 First Look by Gary W Priester Xara Designer Pro X9 First Look by Gary W Priester
FIRST LOOK By Gary W. Priester

Website Design

There have been a whole bunch of new changes and improvements in the Website Design area of Xara Designer Pro X9, most of which have been covered in minute detail in my Web Designer 9 First Look Review. So I will only address the basic changes here and you can follow my link to my review for more details. Repeating Background Patterns In case you haven’t noticed, look off the page. All of the background patterns I have been using in this review are included in the Designs Gallery. However, the ones in the Designs Gallery are all black and white and gray. But changing the colors is incredibly simple. There are several methods, but the simplest method also demonstrates a cool new feature covered in the next paragraph. And before I forget, scroll the page up and down. Notice anything? The background stays “Fixed.” It does not move. You have the option of Scrolling or Fixed. For more info on the patterns click here. Improved Drag and Drop Color Drag any color from the screen palette or the Color Editor and drop it onto the background. A helpful Replace Color  dialog pops up and gives you the option to change one or the other (or both) background color. This feature can be used for a variety of operations. For example, changing colors on a Navigation Bar used to be tedious. Now just drag a color and drop it onto the Navigation Bar and you can opt to replace the MouseOff, MouseOver button or the text colors. Drag and drop also works with a group of colored objects, or an object that has a gradient fill. This is so much easier. More Drag and Drop Magic Colors are not the only thing you can change with drag and drop. Previously if you wanted to change Navigation Bar styles you pretty much had to start over from scratch. You might say that now, it’s a real drag. But in a good way. Open the Designs Gallery, find a Navigation Bar you like and drag and drop it onto the existing one. You’ll be asked if you want to use the current color scheme, and after you make your choice, the Navigation Bar style (but not the content, button names, sub menus, etc.) will change. Go here for more information. Retina Display Support Designer Pro X9 lets you design websites with Retina high resolution display, the text and graphics will publish at Retina resolution. Razor sharp. Ultra clean. Bright, vibrant color, and detail rich. Select Retina Hi Def Images in Website Properties > Website and Xara Designer Pro X9 does the rest and delivers vibrant content to high definition supported mobile devices. Just make sure your photo images are 192dpi (two times Windows 96dpi screen resolution) or higher. When you publish your website, Designer Pro X9 exports two versions of your graphics, one at 96dpi for desktop browsers and one at 192dpi for mobile devices that support high definition display. Click here for more information. Improved HTML5 and CSS3 Compatibility Rounded rectangles, multi-color gradient fills, flat  transparency, and soft shadows can now be rendered directly in the browser faster than the browser can load a bitmap. And the rendering is device dependent. A host of new HTML5 and CSS3 features improve the download speed for your web pages. Click here for more details. Easier, Faster Publishing Most users have been able to publish their website to their web host directly from within Web Designer or Designer Pro X. But entering the appropriate FTP information, passwords, and sub-directory information is confusing and frustrating. The website publishing process has been simplified AND you no longer need to publish to your computer first. (YES!). Designer Pro X9 publishes to a temp folder. So you only need to set up your FTP information once. And to repeat, no more need to locate that folder. And it gets better. All Designer Pro X9 users get a free MAGIX Online World account with up to 2GB of server space plus a free domain name, and domain based e-mail with up to 5 e-mailboxes. But wait, there’s more. If you sign up for the free MAGIX Online World account, all you need to publish your website is your website address and your optional sub-folder. Now this is really cool! After you publish your site to the server, a small dialog pops up with a direct link to the site so you can preview your website! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Click here for more information (close to the bottom of the page). 20 New General Web Theme Templates + 120+ Business Specific Templates I always tend to overlook these handsome, professionally-designed templates, because I would prefer to design my own from scratch. But I studied design and have worked in the business most of my life. But I know that a lot of you good readers lack the time or the training to go through the process of designing a site from scratch. And there really is no need to. Look through the templates, find one you like, and customize it to meet your needs. All the design work, color selection, font selection, has been done for you by design professionals. And these “smart” templates expand or contract automatically to fit the content. Any of the 20 general web themes (60 in all) are free. Xara is at this very moment, designing business-specific web themes with matching print themes. Click here and here for more information. Widgets and More Widgets Xara Designer Pro X9 has tons of widgets. For example: Charts Widgets, a series of charts that you can customize to suit your data, Forms Widgets, an assortment of simple to complex forms, E-commerce Widgets, including Google Checkout, PayPal, ecwid, eBay to Go, Wazala!, and AmazonAssociates, Audio/Video Widgets including YouTube, DailyMotion, MAGIX Online Album, Flickr, Picassa and Grooveshark, Social Networking Widgets such as: Google G+, Facebook,Twitter, Add This and LOCKERZ share. And Other Widgets which include a whole bunch of Google widgets, Embed a Website (an iframe), Google and Bing Maps, NY Times, BBC, and Reuters news feeds, Quotes, Currency Converter, Skype, WebRSS, Search and Nabble. And if there is not a widget you like, you can always add content via a placeholder. Plus, new in Designer Pro X9, Google + and Google Ad Sense. The Fast Shuffle — Improved Object Positioning and Automatic Page Resize This feature introduced in the previous version has been improved. All of the pre-designed website templates have this feature built in. If you add to your text area, resize a photo, add or delete graphics, all the other objects on the page automatically reposition as needed and the page expands automatically. And now, if you remove content, the page gets shorter. Go here for more information.
TOP: The templates pages expand or contract for more or less content. RIGHT: I increased the size of both the small photos and the text area, and made font size larger. The page size automatically increased and the “footer” moved down accordingly.
Easier Google Analytics Google Analytics is free and a great way to gather a world of data on your website visitors. Stuff like, how many visits, what browser and resolution your visitors are using. Mobile vs browser, country, and a lot of other very useful information. Adding this to Designer Pro X9 requires: signing up for your free Google Analytics account, generating the tracking code, and placing the tracking code into the Head, or is it the Body section. Ack! I can never remember where that code goes. Well, lucky for me, and you, it is a no-brainer now. Once you have generated the code for your site, open the Website Properties menu, press the new Analytics Options icon, and paste your code. How easy is that? Give Google about 24 hours to index your site, and then start harvesting all this good information on your Google Analytics page.
NEW LINK, Top of Page automatically reloads the current page from the top. In the Links menu.
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