MenuMachine for GoLive 6
from Big Bang Extensions
- reviewed by: Mike Swope
The overwhelming raison d' upgrade for many members of the GoLive community, in addition to OS X compatibility, came in the guise of a well-planned, well-designed and well-implemented GoLive 6 extension to create DHTML menus from a small, unassuming Australian developer. MenuMachine was announced at the introductory price of $39, and Big Bang Extensions was immediately swamped with sales. To date, sales have exceeded expectations and continue at a steady pace.
DHTML menus are those menus found on web sites that, when rolled over or clicked on, drop down or cascade into submenus, sometimes 3 or 4 menus deep. DHTML menus help visitors navigate large sites such as Koch Industries or Flint Hills Resources. Neither site was created with GoLive and MenuMachine. Both sites also demonstrate some of the problems that some visitors can experience with DHTML menus. DHTML menus must be well-coded or they will only work well in a single browser (usually Microsoft Internet Explorer) on a single platform (usually Microsoft Windows).
- DHTML menus
DHTML menus are painstaking to create, taking many hours to hand code, test, and fix bugs. Many programmers, of course, will borrow code they've used already as a starting point for new menus. Despite this shortcut, DHTML menus take a great deal of time to develop. DHTML layers must be programmed to be triggered on and off. Background and font colors made to change on mousein and mouseout. Submenus set to appear and disappear. Hyperlinks established. Images created and made to rollover. Some of the tools in GoLive and Dreamweaver make DHTML menus easier to create, but not easy enough to rave about. For the beginner, DHTML menus are to be faced only by the very brave, even with GoLive or Dreamweaver in their web arsenal.
The moment that Big Bang Extensions announced MenuMachine, GoLive users like myself thronged to the Big Bang web site to check out the new software that promised to make DHTML menus so simple. We were skeptical, but hopeful. We studied the screenshots. Read the extensive instructions. Those of us with loose wallets let go of $39 for the opportunity to try this software that seemed too good to be true. Maybe, just maybe, this software would do what was promised. Make DHTML menus easy and reliable.
MenuMachine simplifies the creation of DHTML menus substantially for both experienced and inexperienced designers using GoLive 6. It makes them so simple, in fact, that menus that would have taken hours can now be created with MenuMachine in 1/10th the time.
For example, I had the crude beginnings of a DHTML menu with three dropdowns that I had started just before MenuMachine was released. The first crude single DHTML layer for the dropdown took me better than an hour to create and have it turn on when rolling over the trigger. I still had to insert the links and make it turn off when the cursor exited the area. I wasn't looking forward to finishing the dropdown and creating the other two dropdowns to complete the DHTML menu, not to mention editing the dropdowns after the client reviewed them and requested changes. But when MenuMachine was announced, I purchased it immediately, and in half the time I had already spent, I had created, tested and tentatively approved the entire set of menus with MenuMachine!
Although there are just three tabs to MenuMachine – Edit, Format, and Options – MenuMachine is powerful medicine. Big Bang Extensions has thrown in every option and control but the castor oil, it seems.
First time users of MenuMachine, experienced web designers or not, will become drunk with MenuMachine's power immediately, and will remember that first white-hot feeling of code-enduced euphoria. MenuMachine DHTML menus can use either HTML text or images, colored text, and rollover text and images; can have colored borders, display main and submenus in different stylings, display in specified fonts and styles, and have assorted alignments; can pop-up when rolled over or clicked, fade at a specified interval (usually milliseconds), overlap by specified amounts, display arrows to indicate the presence of submenus, open to the left or right, be positioned relative to the window edges, and scroll within the window at a specified speed. Hurrah!
Big Bang Extensions has left out very little, if anything, from MenuMachine. No other solution provides such a powerful, integrated, cross-platform and cross-browser menu creation system for Adobe GoLive, or any other WYSIWYG web package. MenuMachine offers a great opportunity and, frankly, Adobe should purchase the rights to MenuMachine from Big Bang Extensions and then pay Big Bang Extensions big bucks to maintain and continue its development. MenuMachine is simply that powerful.
- An incredible bargain
For now, however, MenuMachine is an incredible bargain at a special $39 introductory price, and quite possibly the best reason (second only to Mac OS X compatibility) to upgrade to GoLive 6. Visit Big Bang Extensions to purchase and download this exceptionally powerful and empowering GoLive 6 extension.
- Find out more about MenuMachine at the Big Bang Extensions web site
- About the author:
Mike Swope is publisher of inetreviews.com, a site that publishes hardware, software and book reviews and sells Macintosh and Coca Cola merchandise. Mike and his wife are also partners in SuperPersonalized.com, offering professional quality photo calendars, mousepads, magnets, t-shirts and other photographic gifts. Mike is also president of MacWichita Macintosh User Group in Wichita, KS, a full-time graphic/web designer for Koch Business Solutions, and proprietor of Swope Design.