When words like "code-free Web authoring" are thrown around, people tend to think of very basic WYSIWYG tools designed for novice users. But this is not the focus of Adobe.
Instead, the target audience of Muse appears to be graphic and print designers who are comfortable in tools like InDesign. This means that, while Muse allows for Web authoring without the need to know code, many novice users will still find the interface somewhat complex. However, graphic design professionals should be right at home working in Muse.
As an early preview, Muse is missing a lot of functionality. Templates to aid in initial site design and more widgets would be especially helpful. Much of the core interface also has an unfinished feel to it.
The target audience of Muse is also a little unclear. Businesses that already use Adobe’s CreativeSuite can have designers work in InDesign and other graphics tools, and then use the round-trip features of the suite to send content to Dreamweaver and Flash. Muse seems to be mainly of use to designers who have the need to build websites but don’t want to make the investment in additional Web tools.
The preview of Muse is currently free. According to the Adobe site, the eventual plan is for Muse to be sold on a subscription basis. Those wanting to try out the free Muse web design tool can download it at http://muse.adobe.com.
In the Plan interface, new pages can be added simply by clicking on a plus icon, a page can be deleted by clicking an X icon, and a right-mouse menu brings up options such as duplicate page.
Instead of the type of interface found in traditional Web authoring tools such as Dreamweaver, the Design interface in Muse has much more in common with InDesign, allowing for the kind of traditional page composition and layout usually reserved for creating books and publications.
From the Muse widgets library, it is possible to add a variety of rich content to a page, such as Adobe’s Lightbox widget for interactive image effects.
Within Muse it is possible to preview a site and its pages using the integrated WebKit engine in the tool, or you can choose to preview in any browser on your development system.
The integrated Publish feature in Muse requires an Adobe Business Catalyst account. This allows for a simple trial version of the site to be published, and is effective for demoing a site for customers or for developers who will use the trial site as a basis for a final website.