Free Mac Web Design Software

Ashley Donohoe
Free Mac Web Design Software

If you're a web designer and Mac user, there are a variety professional-quality programs available that can help you design your own web page and help out with other site management tasks. While all of these are versatile programs, some are simple WYSIWYG programs, and others are designed for web experts who understand code. If you're looking for a quality free web design software program, consider trying one of the following options.

Four Free Web Design Software Options for Mac

Mac web designers have many free, versatile programs to choose from. Some possible features include one-click multimedia integration, intuitive interfaces, support for recent web programming languages, and drag-and-drop page design.

1. KompoZr

KompoZer, an open source web authoring application powered by the Mozilla project, doesn't require knowledge in HTML and is useful for beginner web designers. The program features:

  • Simple buttons to add tables, images, links, forms, and formatted text to pages
  • Manual code editing capabilities for advanced users to use CSS, JavaScript, and HTML
  • Tabbed browsing to use both WYSIWYG and manual coding and switch between them
  • An FTP site manager to quickly and easily upload content to the website
  • Support for templates
  • Validation tool to ensure the website's code is valid and clean
  • Spell checking capabilities for the website's text
  • Support for add-ons that allow users to do more with KompoZer

2. The SeaMonkey Project

Another Mozilla-powered project is SeaMonkey, which is an all-in-one Internet application that provides email, web browsing, and IRC chat, as well as web design and site management tools. Its simple web design tool Composer includes the following capabilities:

  • Support for add-ons that include additional web development tools
  • Support for CSS and DHTML tables
  • Simple menus for inserting tables, images, and other objects into your page
  • DOM inspector to view properties in a webpage, such as embedded objects
  • Debugger to find errors in a site's coding

Although SeaMonkey is a decent web design tool, it can be more unwieldy than other choices if you don't need bulk of those web applications (and most Mac users do not).

3. Nvu

Known as a free Dreamweaver alternative, Nvu is an easy to use web design program that is supported by multiple platforms, including Mac OS X. Some highlights of the program include:

  • A menu bar that makes it easy to change the size, color, position, and font style of text
  • One-click tools for adding tables, forms, images, and links into a page
  • Multiple tabs that let users easily switch between a WYSIWYG design mode, manual HTML coding, and a preview mode
  • Built-in spell check and publishing tools
  • A code inspector that lets users click a specific tag and change its value in a special pane

It is important to note that the most recent version of the program has compatibility issues with Mac OS X Lion and is suitable for users with earlier versions of Mac OS X.

4. Amaya

Amaya is especially useful for users who prefer graphical tools for creating and editing webpages and desire advanced tools for working with complex content as well. Some features include:

  • A formatting panel that provides access to most major formatting tools
  • Built-in themes that can be applied with one click
  • A dual-view mode showing both a visual preview and the underlying code for a page
  • Customizable interface and different profiles to change what tools display on the program by default
  • Compatibility with the MathML markup language, which allows users to use complex mathematical expressions on a page
  • Collaboration tools for working on the website as a group
  • Ability to edit two pages side by side
  • Advanced tools for working with CSS, formulas, and SVG graphics

Two Fee-Based Programs with Free Trials

It is a truism that "anything free is worth what you pay for it." Software is occasionally the exception to this rule, but a truly professional site is probably going to require professional quality website design software. While the following programs do require eventual purchase - and are not cheap - free trials of the software are available. Using a free trial can be a great way to get a site started and to evaluate your future needs.

1. RapidWeaver

The cheapest, fully-featured web design software around, RapidWeaver offers more than the basic WYSIWYG and site management features that free products offer. Some of its features include:

  • A wide selection of templates and themes for new sites
  • Plug-ins to integrate with other Apple applications, add blogs to the website, and make photo albums
  • Multiple publishing options including Smart Publishing, which only updates changed pages to the web server
  • Add-ons for greater customization.
  • Drag-and-drop capabilities to add resources to the website
  • Special tool for adding HTML code snippets
  • Tools for SEO and site statistics

The demo version is fully functional and time-unlimited, but it will cut off each site at three pages. To create sites that have more than three pages using this program, you'll need to pay for the full version.

2. Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver, the web standard created by Macromedia, and later purchased by Adobe, has always been offered as a fully-functioning 30-day free trial. It has full capabilities to do any kind of web design, ranging from CSS and Javascript hand-coding to WYSIWYG drag-and-drop design and everything in between. Some other features include:

  • Extensive site management tools, including collaboration, database, and site testing features
  • Integration with other Adobe design programs
  • Live preview capability that lets users see a preview of the page while they make edits
  • Built-in tools for designing web apps for Android and iOS devices
  • Support for content management systems, HTML5, PHP, ColdFusion, ASP, and Ajax
  • Inspection tools for identifying potential problems in code and finding suggestions
  • Built-in templates to get started

While the final price is a significant investment, there is a reason this is the top professional web design client out there.

Choosing the Best Mac Web Design Solution

Quality web design tools do not have to be expensive. The free Mac programs described above provide users with a variety of tools for designing websites by hand, by using templates, and by simply clicking buttons. Some factors to consider when selecting a program include your experience level, the need for compatibility with specific web programming languages, integration with other applications in the case of image editing, and the need of any debugging tools for manually editing code. No matter which solution you choose, all of these programs have simple tools to enable Mac users, whether novice or advanced, to get started on creating their own websites.

Free Mac Web Design Software