In the Studio Today... Apple's iWeb & iCloud Changes will Adversely Affect Artists

October 21, 2011
Apparently, back in June, articles began surfacing about Apple's changes that were coming soon with iCloud and Mobile Me.  Being a busy working artist and mom, I pretty much did not notice this news until recently.  Fast forward to current, October 2011, and working artists are ugrading to iCloud and buying the new iPhone 4s.  We suddenly realize that our easy iWeb package from Apple is now going to be no more; we will be forced to move our websites to another service provider at our own expense, and our Mobile Me galleries will no longer be hosted after June 2012.  Are you kidding me?  Ouch. 

Working in a building with more than forty artists, and having worked with hundreds of more artists in my previous position, I realize how massive this change is going to affect Marin County artists alone (see links to 10 artists sites created in iWeb at the end of this article).  Artists invested in iWeb and Mobile Me because it was easy to use.  Easy to create a website, and easy to update it when you created new art to share with the world.  It catered to people who didn't want to invest their lifetime building a site, or updating it, or finding a place to host it.  It was terrific for people that couldn't afford to hire a web designer, and were creative enough to give it a go.  It came before blogger and Facebook... It was the very first, graphical user interface that artists loved being in, and working with.  I respect this very much, and I honor the iWeb team and Apple for what they did here.  In essence, iWeb has been awesome for the working artist in Marin County because it was so easy it gave us time to paint, sculpt, create and do what we want to do, not spend time on our websites.

Now, perhaps Apple never heard this from us.  Perhaps Steve Jobs never heard our praise for iWeb, and how much time it has saved all of us artists from having to deal with service providers, and hosting and all the issues of a website that we just don't want to be spending time or extra money dealing with in a small business situation.  I wish he had.  I wish I knew sooner about these changes, and I wish I was able to congratulate the iWeb team for their work.  Perhaps it is not too late?  Perhaps there is a way for us to band together and let the iWeb team know that artists love iWeb for it's ease of use, hassle free hosting and all the very essence of design simplicity that Steve Jobs seemed to be all about (If you agree, tell Apple here!) There are not too many templates in iWeb 2.0.4(which I am still using), so sites tend to have similar layout and functionality, but it was always easy enough for people to use, understand, and sites were clean to read.  Simplicity in design remained true across the board.  Most of these sites still have the Apple design feel in some capacity, which I adore.

Here are a handful of local, artist websites that use iWeb.  I want to share with Apple what we loved about iWeb, Mobile Me, and this service, and I respectfully ask that you consider the artists, teachers and others who have used this product, loyally for the past years.  Don't end this just because it doesn't make you the most money.  Find a way to help artists, teachers and those who really value your product's ease of use; this product gave us the freedom to really go create and be artists.  Thank you, iWeb team.  Artists who agree, please join me in providing feedback to the iWeb team here.

iWeb 2.0.4:

iWeb 3.0.4:

iWeb 3.0.3:

iWeb 3.0.2:


Roddy said...

Having had a long term association with iWeb via the iWeb for Musicians website I can relate to your situation.
There are alternatives to iWeb, such as Sandvox and RapidWeaver, but they are not any better and are fairly expensive.

An alternative method it to use the online site builders but these have a lot of limitations and cost around $200 per year - realistically.

The latest version of iWeb is compatible with Lion and is going to be viable for quite some time. Its a question of finding alternative hosting.

I recently helped a group of musicians move away from HostBaby and to set up a multi domain account with Host Excellence. This type of account allows up to fifteen domain names so they can each upload to their own root folder and each website is independent of the others. This reduced their individual hosting cost to about $20 per annum.

The iWeb FTP allows easy, non techie, uploading to any server although the alternative method of publishing to a local folder has the added advantage of allowing the SEO tags to be added and the files optimized for faster download.

In the absence of a suitable replacement, I would encourage you to upgrade to the latest version of iWeb and continue to enjoy using it for the foreseeable future along with the added benefits of commercial hosting.

Bill said...

I discussed this concern at my local Apple store yesterday. While it does sound like iWeb will not be going away, it does sound like it will be left "as is" for the rest of its life. While it's reassuring to know that I can simply move my iWeb files to a new (paid) host, I'm inclined to create a new website on one of the free sitebuilders/hosts. That will save me the site hosting cost and probably avail me to more options assuming I select a website builder that will be in the arena for the long term. Now, if I can only recreate my fairly elementary iWeb site on one of those site builders.

Lastly, while it's a disappointing development that Apple will no longer be nurturing iWeb, I can understand that it makes less sense for them to keep money into it given that there are so many options that were not available back then.