In more than thirty years of using computers I have tested and used many software packages. Because I live on charity, I always look for free or low cost software. Some freeware is better than commercial products. If it is reviewed on this site I have used it myself, and I still use most of it regularly for my work on Buddhist Publications. This site was produced in Serif WebPlus X8, which was the final version of WebPlus. It produces fixed width sites using absolute positioning.
These reviews are my way of giving back something to the programs’ authors for their efforts in developing their software and providing it for free or at low cost. It has helped me in my work, and I hope others will also find these products useful.
Whether you’re a software author or just a fan of some product, please don’t send me anything for testing. I select software based on my needs through recommendations on various support forums. If I find a product that I like and use frequently, then I may write a review. I don’t do it for commercial reasons and I wish to preserve my impartiality.
I am not on a mission to promote free or Open Source software. If commercial software or shareware is good value for money, then I will ask someone to purchase or register a copy for me.
Not long after I started using PCs in 1988, WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS was £350, and CorelDraw 3.0 was heavily discounted at £150 when CorelDraw 4.0 was due to be released. People complain if software is more than £100, and about the lack of proper beta testing if it is less than perfect. Even if it is free they complain about its limitations. If only they knew how things used to be!
ALI TEXTS IN ROMAN SCRIPT need accents such as macrons above ā, ī, and ū, and dots below several consonants. In those days we were all using the ANSI character set as Unicode fonts were unheard of. I got a copy of CorelDraw 3.0 to add the accents to existing fonts. It had an export filter that added one new character at a time to a TrueType font. The choice was limited to the ANSI character set and the program frequently crashed. For much less (£37/$49) than the price of CorelDraw 3.0 twenty years ago, FontCreator Home Edition makes the task far easier and has many more features. It supports the latest version of Unicode, and fonts with one or more colours. You can download my free OpenType Unicode fonts — they were created with FontCreator, which I have used since version 4.0.
Some have coloured glyphs for Stylistic Alternates like that illustrated on the left, but coloured fonts are not supported in Serif’s applications. Modern browsers and some other applications can display them in Windows 10. The Segoe UI Symbol font has Emojji glyphs in colour.
Commercial software is not necessarily better than Freeware, but if it is designed well it can prove to be better value. There are some excellent free programs like Inkscape, which have a great deal of power, but only if you know how to use them, and that requires a big investment of time.
Technical support is another important issue. NetObjects Fusion Essentials is still free, but it is very dated now and support is hard to get. I used it for many years, so I know how to do what I need to do, but someone new to web publishing would find WebPlus easier to learn. Ask a question on Serif’s CommunityPlus support forum and you will often get a reply within minutes, and offers of all kinds of help from other users. WebPlus is no longer sold by Serif, and Serif Web Resources are deprecated, so unless you have sites built in WebPlus look elsewhere for web-publishing solutions.
Page last updated on 05 July 2022