Home SynthaSite Launches Technology Preview of Online Webpage Editor

SynthaSite Launches Technology Preview of Online Webpage Editor

SynthaSite came out of stealth mode today and launched an alpha tech preview of their online web publishing platform. The goal of SynthaSite is to bring the offline functionality of a WYSIWYG web site editor like Frontpage or Dreamweaver to the browser in a rich Internet application. Though the tech preview is very rough around the edges, it is impressive and the team has an ambitious list of features that they promise to add before the beta version hits the web this fall.

SynthaSite is the product of a 6 person team from South Africa. It uses AJAX and is backed by three South African investment firms. The technology preview released today is very much a work in progress, but the team has a lengthy product roadmap outlining what they hope to accomplish before the wider beta test later this year.

Based solely on what I’ve seen so far, it’s hard to say SynthaSite is a Dreamweaver-killer. But the potential is certainly evident. The application is easy-to-use and intuitive and feels like an offline, desktop app. The SynthaSite IDE presents developers with a two-pane view: your workspace on the left, and a tool bar on the right. Adding web site components is accomplished by dragging them from the tool bar to the workspace.

The tool bar in interesting, because in addition to general web site features (like headers, text blocks, images, etc.), users will be able to tap into the SynthaSite “superstore,” which will be stocked with widgets, premade templates, and other site items for free or for purchase. The beginnings of the “superstore” idea are visible in the tech demo, which allows you to add widgets from Flickr and YouTube via drag and drop. SynthaSite hopes to allow developers and designers to sell custom widgets and templates directly inside the application.

SynthaSite has ambitious plans to create an open platform that allows developers to create their own widgets to plug into the app. For now that plan remains just a vision — in the tech demo, you don’t even have control over all the markup on your page — but Synthasite CEO Vinny Lingham assures me it is coming. “The idea is that a sophisticated developer can write stylesheets and demarcate areas for drag and drop functionality – and then modify as he so pleases,” he said. “The API will allow developers to construct their own widgets and mashups for use in the demarcated area.”

Sites created with the application can be hosted by SynthaSite, who plan to provide free hosting, or exported as PHP and uploaded to web space elsewhere. The company also plans to integrate SynthaSite with third-party CMS systems, and to offer a “Service Marketplace” allowing website developers to hook up with contractors.

SynthaSite has a limited number of spaces available for people to test out their alpha tech demo, sign up at their website.

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