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Trust me, they won’t even notice…

So let’s assume you’re a big, powerful, corporation, generally viewed as “customer centric” with very cool and useful products. Sometimes, though, you have the occasional ‘what we’re they thinking?’ moment with a product. Let’s further assume your name is, oh, I don’t know, how about…Apple? Here’s yet another of those moments they seem to have with some regularity:

iPhoto icon

That, in case you’re not familiar with it, is the button in iPhoto toolbar that lets you publish a selection of images to your .Mac homepage. Click it, and a wizard comes up that helps you select the theme, layout options, and other features for your photo page. You then click Publish, and presto, your images are published on your .Mac homepage, complete with a very nice slideshow feature. Presto, bango, simple!

So what’s the problem? Well, that button (and the wizard it launched) has simply vanished in iPhoto6. There’s no discussion about it in the manual, nor in Help, nor in the Read Me, nor in the Knowledge Base. It has simply disappeared into the ether.

Instead of using the handy wizard, you’re now supposed to send all your images through iWeb, which will then force you to create an actual site, just to contain what should be a simple slideshow page. Yech. There is a workaround, which I’ll write up in detail for macosxhints next week. (Short version: export and resize to 800×600, upload the folder to your iDisk, then use the .Mac homepage to create the photo page.) But the workaround is a far cry from the ease of use of the old wizard.

Now personally, I never used this feature, as I don’t use .Mac for my photo pages. However, after recommending the iLife upgrade to my mother, I definitely got an earful about this “new and improved” iPhoto when she found her single most used feature missing in action! Since I feel responsible for the problem she now faces, it’s the least I can do to try to help spread the word about this, and hope Apple can see fit to return a basic feature to the application.

I’ll probably be writing about why this is a Really Bad Thing on macworld.com next week, but I wanted to get something up about it now, while it was fresh on my mind. Of course, based on Apple’s treatment of the discussion I linked to above, I don’t have a positive feeling about the chances of this feature’s return…

Locked!

Perhaps, though, if enough people make enough noise about it, they can bring back what was a powerful and easy-to-use feature.

17 Comments

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  1. Amen! I found that myself when I tried to help my wife publish some photos after upgrading to ’06. Amazingly poor choice by Apple to force iWeb use. It’s no where near as quick and easy as before.

  2. Me too! Worse yet, there is no way to convert .Mac homepages to iWeb! What a “.Hassle”!

  3. OK this is just ridiculous. The iPhoto/iWeb integration is nearly identical and you can do the work locally then upload vs doing it online. It’s painfully simple and i can’t understand what the fuss is about. In iPhoto, you still select photos [and you still name them in advance if you want to save time in iWeb or HomePage], you click ONCE on the iWeb icon to select Photo Page, iWeb opens, you click ONCE to select the template of your choice, and then you click PUBLISH. 3 clicks. 3 CLICKS people. And you’d do the same in HomePage. Beyond a slightly understandable desire to maintain consitency between HomePage and iWeb UI… this is much ado about nothing.

  4. 1) The templates available in iWeb do not match the templates available in the old tool (which are those shown on the .Mac page). There are many more available on .Mac than there are in iWeb.

    2) With the iWeb solution, you wind up with a heavily bloated page, large PNGs, and assorted other cruft that you may not want. If you just want a page of photos, iWeb is not the best solution.

    3) iWeb publishes to web.mac.com, not the existing homepage structure. So all the work you’ve done so far is worthless; you can’t tie your new photos into your old structure without some manual labor. Even then, the layouts won’t match and it will look disjointed.

    4) iWeb is really for creating entire sites, not just photo pages. It’s total overkill for a photo page. You can see this when you create your first iWeb photo page — you get an index page linked to the photo page as well. Most people using .Mac don’t need this, as they have their homepages served on .Mac already.

    5) Why involve two applications when just one did the trick before?

    6) Why take away a perfectly functional feature for no good reason?

    Sorry, but I don’t find iWeb to be an ideal, “just as easy to use” replacement.

    -rob.

  5. I agree completely and was both baffled and disappointed that Apple would do this. iWeb is not a good replacement for those of us who simply want to post photo galleries that are linked together via a standard index page. The workaround is time-consuming and unnecessary. Please, Apple, bring back the HomePage button. I don’t want to revert to an older version of iPhoto.

  6. 1) True. The painfully amateurish HomePage templates were plentiful, so you had a wide variety of ways to make your web site shout, “I have a web site design aesthetic from 1997!” iWeb, in contrast, only provides around 12 nicely-designed, relatively professional looking themes.

    2) I just generated a quick page of photos from iPhoto 6 via iWeb using the “white” theme (which is essentially what you’ll get when you do an Export, except the “white” theme actually has some style to it and auto-links your other albums). I wound up with a massively bloated 6 KB total of PNGs for the “start slideshow” button, “made on a mac” button, etc. Some iWeb themes are bigger than others, of course, but even the most basic ones look much better than iPhoto’s Export feature.

    3) No argument on this one. It would have been nice to import the existing stuff from HomePage into iWeb.

    4) iWeb creates an index page because it is meant to take the place of HomePage. It’s no more overkill for creating a photo page than the whole existing HomePage infrastructure is. As was pointed out, it takes the same steps to create an iWeb photo page as a HomePage page, but unlike HomePage, you can actually modify your photo pages after the fact in iWeb.

    5) It wasn’t one application before, it was one nice desktop app (iPhoto) and one crummy web app (HomePage). Now you have two nice desktop apps. And apart from the additional Dock icon, you’re still just getting a window popped up with a theme chooser and a publish button. The workflow is the same…just more flexible if you want to change it later. A more appropriate question (the one that Apple answered) is: why have both a web app (HomePage) and a desktop app (iWeb) that do the exact same thing? Why not just re-create the same workflow using the new desktop app and add more power if someone wants it later?

    6) The reason is that it is no longer necessary with iWeb there. It does the same thing, only better and more attractively. There is no difference in the amount of work, the first themes that pop up (white and black) are fairly bandwidth-friendly, and it looks nicer than HomePage ever did. The only valid point here is the lack of integration between the two; there ought to have been an easier way of integrating existing HomePage content with the new iWeb structure.

  7. Thanks for the feedback, and you raise some valid points. However, my mother (and others I’ve spoken to who relied on this feature) have no interest in “designing a web site,” regardless of how seemingly simple iWeb may make it to do so.

    I see no valid reason why they would have to remove one feature (which clearly still exists in the realm of .Mac) just to add iWeb integration. Why take away what works and is used by some when there’s no work required to keep it in the program?

    -rob.

  8. One reason is probably that having two options there in the toolbar that do the same thing would be confusing. Someone buys their first Mac (something more and more common these days, it seems, at least in the company I keep), opens up this iPhoto thingie, and sees two options: publish photo page using HomePage, and publish photo page using iWeb. Both get sent to .Mac, both create similar layouts with links at the top. Which to use? It’s more straightforward to simply provide One True Way of publishing photos to the web. And the workflow remains nearly identical to the HomePage workflow.

    I don’t see how publishing to iWeb requires you to “design a web site” any more than HomePage does. You click the iWeb button, it creates a photo page, and it auto-links the other photo pages to it, in exactly the same way HomePage does. There is no difference in the process or the end result…except that you can actually open up your page after the fact in iWeb if you want and add more photos (something my own mother has wanted to do for some time).

    What probably would have solved this is adding a menu item to the “Share” menu that publishes to HomePage instead of iWeb, so that people who want to keep their current HomePage-based site for consistency’s sake can continue to do so. This would keep iWeb as the prominent “new way” of doing it for new users, while allowing for continued use of the old web-based tool.

  9. Then how about choice. Choice is always good. Freedom of choice is even better. Instead of saying that one way is better than the other and limiting which way to do something, give the end users a way to select which way they want to work.

    (The way it should have been)
    First have a dialog box that comes up and asks the user how they want to publish their photos. If the users wants to try out iWeb and see what it has to offer as far as publishing the pictures from iPhoto, they can select that option and continue with the installation. If the users just want a quick and dirty way to publish their photos then they choose that option and the Homepage button put on the taskbar. If the user wants to switch, all they would have to do is open the preferences of iPhoto and make the change.

    Apple could then make a note somewhere and state that the Homepage function would be removed in iLife ’07, instead of abruptly removing it like they did.

  10. I agree this is really annoying. In fact it’s baffling. I spent an hour just trying to find out where I’m going wrong, because I thought they just CAN’T be that stupid. How am I supposed to link my old pages and my new ones? What about the fact that I liked some of the old templates? I am considering dropping the whole sorry mess (.Mac that is). This is the one feature I really used. Breaking it so that they can push iWeb is insulting. I don’t like iWeb frankly.

  11. I agree, this was a stupid removal, and I found this entry as I am trying to continue to use homepage and iPhoto, I don’t WANT to use iWeb for publishing a photo album…
    This really sucks.
    Mark

  12. I have literally hundreds of Homepage albums.. they are not in any way compatible with iWeb stuff and iWeb stuff is so clumsy it’s useless to me. There is no way to convert and the web addresses are not as use friendly.

    here is an example ‘the new way’

    http://web.mac.com/rouses/iWeb/Site/Jackie%20surgery%202.html

    the equivalent address in ‘homepage’ lingo:

    http://homepage.mac.com/rouses/jackie/

    the most important difference: the ‘jackie’ part is a ‘site’ and you do NOT need the rest of the address.. meaning you can use web-forwards to the site.. i.e.

    http://rouse.com/jackie

    now.. which is actually useful?

    http://web.mac.com/rouses/iWeb/Site/Jackie%20surgery%202.html
    going to ONE single PAGE

    or..

    http://rouse.com/jackie
    which is person-readable and goes to the whole homepage site for ANY pictures ever uploaded to that site.

    There is just no comparison whatever between the iWeb sloppy solution and the homepage useful solution (homepage has it’s own problems no doubt.. very slow poky buggy java is the biggest gripe).. but the site structure makes it far more useful and the instant album means it’s still more useful to make the pages yourself by hand by uploading using ‘export’ to your .mac and using mac.com to create the pages with homepage as a workaround.

    I am stuck with iPhoto 5 for now because APPLE LEFT ME HIGH AND DRY. the iPhoto 6 solution is far worse that worthless.

    -awr

  13. I am so glad to see these comments, because I have been trying for DAYS to figure out why I am so stupid that I could not update my many many many iPhoto5-generated photo web pages into iPhoto6. Now I understand that it’s just not possible. And I am so gosh-darn ANGRY about this that I could spit. Why I ever updated to iPhoto6 is now beyond me. If I wanted a photo website, I would have paid the $100 to a pro photo webpage company to design one for me. All I wanted was the ability to edit the pages that I’d already created and to integrate them into one simple list-based homesite…..

    AAARGH.

    Susan

  14. I absolutely agree!
    I’m considering to cancel my .Mac account because of that.
    Like many others here, I lost hours figuring out why I could not access to my homepage from iPhoto anymore, posted in various French forums (where it looks like nobody cares maybe because .Mac is less popular here?), went to iWeb to see how to do it, to find out that the templates were not the same and I add no access to homepage anyway.
    My wife is the main user and updater of our site, and refuses to go through a new, more complicated (even if rather simple) way to do so.
    I catch that this kind of situation is not rare : mothers, grannies, old people, or whoever is afraid by computers, that you finally convinced that they actually could do it, and who do NOT want to use those extraordinary new features that iWeb has to offer, but want to go on publishing new pages to an already EXISTING homepage in a simple and known way.
    Those are the people that Apple chose to ignore.
    Not very smart.
    (I bought my first Apple computer in 1983)

  15. This is the single dumbest thing Apple has done in a long while. I got used to the simplicity of clicking the homepage botton to publish my site. Friends and family are used to checking in to look for new pictures ( whether on a 1997 style site or not). Why the heck should I have to publish to a new site now and go through hoops trying to “link” to my homepage?? I want them on the same page using one programme. If Apple advertised “upgrade to iPhoto 6 and watch us screw you by removing a feature you are used to” then I could have made an informed decision and stayed with 5.
    What’s worse is that the average person is left totally high and dry since they can’t even revert to iPhoto 5 because stupid 6 changes the library content so that 5 can’t read it. And I already upgraded to 2 gigs of storage paying a premium for a fairly limited space because I enjoyed the simplicity of homepage. Smart Apple..really smart.

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