One of my friend Vinny Lingham‘s* latest projects, a revolutionary, browser-based, wysiwyg website builder, Synthasite, launched into beta this week (November 5). I had the good fortune of being able to play around with the latest incarnation just before its public release and I found it simple to use and quite addictive actually.
Although all the action takes place inside your browser, it looks as though you’re using installed software. Synthasite is powerful: you have all the benefits of web-based software, and the most important benefits of desktop-based software. The Synthasite platform has integrated with social media providers Flickr, Youtube, Revver, Metacafe and Google Video so that you can introduce content into your website from a single environment in a drag-and-drop fashion, even if you have no prior programming experience.
I created a complete website about Staffordshire bull terriers, which had three pages including text, Youtube videos and Flickr photos, presented in an not-altogether-unpleasant template design — and I did it all within 10 minutes! A pity that the hosting issues hadn’t yet been resolved, so I couldn’t publish the site to a hosting environment and show you my 10-minute site :(
On the downside, the GUI needs some work to spruce it up and there are still some usability issues with locating buttons and navigation where they are most intuitive. I don’t think there are enough page-design templates, and I would have liked to have seen a blogging tool or similar CMS. I can see that there is plenty that’s been going on underneath the hood since the alpha release, and I’m excited at the possibilities. I’m told that new content widgets and site templates will be coming through thick and fast from early next year.
* Disclosure: The author and Vinny Lingham are business partners in KeyJam.net