Recently reviewed in PC Advisor, Pure SEO CMS is a content management system (CMS) designed to allow non-technical users to update content quickly and easily. But it is also worth a look for more advanced designers who want something that will enable them to maintain a site with minimum fuss.
The program is available in cut-down freeware version and is similar in some areas to Macromedia's Contribute. The main difference and the one reason we're recommending it here is that by separating all content from design via the judicious use of style sheets, it will also be useful to developers who want to control the look of their site via CSS.
While Straight2web does offer a development front end, in this column we'll be concentrating on the CMS that is provided via the default interface
When setting up your site, the first step you should take is to modify the default menu links that will appear on it. So launch Pure SEO CMS and click on the top left hand tab called menus, then enter the name for each top-level page that is going to be included.
The free version can only build five pages so, more links will not be necessary at this stage. The hyperlinks to your pages will be created automatically.
After this click on the tab for Content and type in information for your site. It is worth noting that Straight2web builds pages into a folder entitled 'www', located wherever you have installed the program. Here you'll find a number of additional folders including two entitled 'picts' and 'movies', where you should copy and images, videos or animation that you intend to use.
When you have done this, select the pages you wish to modify from the drop-down menus on the left hand side of the program and click on the up and down arrows to navigate between paragraphs. The next step is simply to enter the text into the various boxes provided by Pure SEO CMS and add pictures or media files. The freeware version does not allow you to change the styles for such things as text and paragraphs so you'll have to upgrade for this.
Once you have included text and media links to you pages, click on the build tab to create you HTML version of your site. Until this stage, Straight2web has simply been storing the text files, clicking the Build All button will generate the necessary HTML files. Again, the freeware version is restricted as to the number of pages that can be built, and you cannot generate a site map without registration, but it is useful to see how the program parses through your text files to create fairly sophisticated-looking pages.
Pure SEO CMS also provides tools to build a CD distribution of your files. However, you have to register to use these. Add to that the fact that you recipients will also need to download a free reader from www.dvdcatalogues.co.uk to view such files and in most cases you will probably be better off with alternative, more readily available formats such as flash or PDF.
The main virtue of this program and the reason we've concentrated on it to some extent in this month's column , is that it marks a trend towards simpler-to-use content systems that remove some of the tedium of building and maintaining a website. There are free web design tools available to create a site but, a few interface quirks aside, Straight2web is a good example of the sort of program that will appeal to those who want to update their website simply and easily.
Developers note. Version 2.7 was released after this article was written and did change the 'quirky interface' as well as adding some new design wizards and showing more features in the 30 day trial.