openElement is a powerful next-gen HTML editor for creating websites suitable for any need: personal, showcase, gallery, organization, corporate, etc. A professional and dynamic website is within reach to anyone with zero coding.
openElement includes numerous website templates and elements to quickly and easily create your free website without any prior knowledge or programming experience.
Reviewing 1.49 (May 3, 2015)
This version still doesn't work offline! Downloading and running are two separate operations, when running the program the user may not have an internet connection (as is often the case with me, usually very deliberately so for obvious reasons). Moreover, in my case (same with my colleagues) the installation of downloaded programs is never done with the net connected for safety reasons (and they can be days–sometimes weeks–apart). The reasons for this ought to be obvious to Blind Freddy.
If the developer can't include a default template and a few other samples in a 45MB file then one has to wonder what his actual motives are. Also, why aren't the templates offered as a proper separate download (in say the way IrfanView does by bulk-loading its plugins in one file–this would solve the online problem)?
Frankly, I'm damn tired of demand-driven software that insists users do things in exactly the way the developer demands. A part of my job is testing and vetting software for users and commence and I see hundreds of them over a week or so, and I can assure you that developers who insist on such arrogant behavior never get past square one–no matter how good the software is.
Developer, if you read this take note!
Reviewing 1.44 R3 (Feb 26, 2014)
I can understand some of the previous reviewers' concerns, but I love this program. I've been using it for a few months and love the features and workflow.
I've saved a lot of time with this wysiwyg editor (and what do you know, it all shows up great in the browser!). The layers system is great, too. You can design a basic layout and then invoke it on as many pages as you want. I haven't really run into any problems with openelement. It's true that you can't simply import existing html pages, but if you have all the images and stuff, it's fairly easy to reproduce most layouts.
I don't have a problem with needing to be online to download templates, etc, nor with the way the templates themselves are downloaded. I figure, if you have to download the program in the first place, you can download a few templates if you need them. I tend to work from scratch anyway, but the templates can be a great starting off point.
Other things: The support on the forum is great. Very quick and reactive. The code is fine, especially since I haven't had any browser compatibility issues. I love that I can use my own scripts if I need to or tweak the css easily using the properties menu. I'm also trying my hand at creating elements using the element editor, but I have to brush up on my programming a bit, lol.
Honestly, I've tried a bunch of these programs and this is the first one I'm not pulling my hair out over. Doesn't hurt that it's free too.
Reviewing 1.42 R2 (Oct 14, 2013)
openElement is an interesting program, it seems to be a very different take on that other Mozilla-core-using web editor, BlueGriffon, it much more resembles Microsoft's Expression Web than does BlueGriffon.
(BlueGriffon, of course, being only a pretend-free editor [presumably to overcome Mozilla's licensing requirements], in that it's substantially nobbled--you really have to buy BlueGriffon's add-ons to make it do anything useful.)
At first glance, it is hard to tell whether openElement will become a practicably useable free product or not. As of this release, it has some very nasty tendencies which would definitely stop me using it:
-- First: when you install it, it almost insists that you run it in on-line mode. If you do not then you essentially get an error message when it can't 'call home'. [For me, web development has to be able to be done off-line, going on-line only to preview the finished product.]
-- Second: when openElement goes on-line one is confronted with templates at its website. However, templates initially download as executable .exe files in an incomplete format/state, the exe then downloads the remainder of the template and installs it per se (essentially the template exe is just a downloader and installer).
This is very disconcerting indeed - from a security and privacy point to an ongoing dependence on the website to fully utilize the software and its templates. Like BlueGriffon, there's a gotcha but of a very different kind. If you download a template and install it then the website certainly knows that template has been installed on a machine at IP address xyz. This is something that I'd not contemplate.
For this reason, like BlueGriffon, I reckon openElement will never develop a really large following. Moreover, ultimately, this type of web development environment isn't as flexible as is even BlueGriffon (in it's full form) or a product like Dreamweaver. It may, however suit the neophyte who wants to experiment with web pages for the first time.
Why the developers have taken such an authoritarian and limited approach to openElement is anyone's guess.
What the web still badly needs is a truly open, free and fully-developed web editor, but if you expect openElement to deliver this then you'll be very sadly disappointed.
BTW, oompoop's comment about the limited language support has validity. openElement has obviously been developed in French and, at present, English is the only other language. Also, certain (minor) aspects of the program haven't yet been converted into English. I'd suggest these remaining 'Frenchisms' are unlikely to worry the average native English speaker--most having sufficient knowledge of that Latin language. It however might be a problem or at least a significant irritation for those with absolutely no knowledge of French and who've only limited English.
P.S.: for those who need a web editor of this kind, despite my misgivings about most things Microsoft, I'd seriously recommend you try MS's free Expression Web 4. It's a very competent editor despite some limitations (and end-of-line development--MS wouldn't give it away free otherwise). If nothing else, use it to do a head-to-head comparison with openElement.
Reviewing 1.42 R2 (Oct 10, 2013)
nice GUI, but unfortunately only french or english (til today) and there was no chance opening/editing my personal website.
I was searching an alternative for Kompozer/NVU/BlueGriffon.
What a pity ...
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