Sandvox Review

Sandvox is a little different than a lot of products on the market. For one thing, it’s standalone software designed by Karelia, which is becoming rarer and rarer these days as web-based alternatives are gaining popularity. Further, the website makes it clear that they are trying to optimize for Mac computers, focusing their efforts and programming on getting the most out of that architecture. And to be perfectly honest, it works remarkably well for that purpose, making it one of the better standalone systems out there. It’s flexible, easy to use, and well-constructed to take advantage of the way Macs are built.

EASE OF USE

Sandvox is one of the easier to use drag and drop applications currently available on the market. It gives you a range of different templates to start working with, most of them being primarily empty designs with intuitive methods of adding a whole host of important features to the website. Moreover, it makes it easy to start from scratch as well if none of the pre-programmed layouts suit your tastes.

This is one of those rare programs that addresses the needs of beginners and experienced developers alike, giving plenty of access to the finer points of web design but also making it easy to just throw together a website. Unlike similar products where the accommodations made get in the way of serious development, these actually can assist experienced website builders.

BUILDING

Building with Sandvox could honestly not be simpler. The drag and drop interface is tight and quick, making it simple to put things where you want them to go. Moreover, the program doesn’t restrict your placement in arcane ways like many of them do, which is nice since it can be incredibly frustrating to not be able to place an object and have no idea why.

The ability to extend the program with Code Injection and jQuery is also helpful, since again it gives experienced developers a chance to create advanced pages with ease. Add-ons, from social media integration to video and audio embedding, only take a couple of clicks to make happen. Ultimately, there is a wide range of Web pages that can be made with Sandvox, limited only by your own skill level.

HOSTING

Sandvox is a standalone builder that runs locally on your machine, so any hosting that you get will have to be through another company. In most cases, this is better anyway and gives you more control over how your website is presented to the world.

MARKETING

I honestly didn’t expect there to be a focus on search engine optimization content in Sandvox, but they do a good job of making it very easy to alter the code of your various pages in order to best take advantage of how Google and other major search providers work. It does more than comparable products.

That being said, this is a standalone application, so if you’re looking for social media marketing, email lists, and the like, you’re not really going to find much here to help you out. Integrating your social media into the website is easy, but that’s pretty much it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t expect any more.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Support for Sandvox is exactly what you would expect from something designed for Apple products: robust, professional, rapid, and helpful. They have a decent amount of documentation on their website to work with, all of which is easy to understand and well written, and if you can’t find your answer there then it’s easy to get a hold of a service tech from Karelia, the maker of the product. They also have a Sandvox-specific forum that you can search and post to if you need assistance. As a side note, the developer and designer guides are nice touches in the Support section. It’s good to see them really trying to make this an application for professionals and beginners.

PRICING

There are two major ways to buy Sandvox in a single payment. Both provide the full range of features available to the program; the only difference is that number of computers that you’ll be able to install independent copies on. A single user copy of Sandvox costs $79.99 and can be installed once on a single computer. A Household license is $119.99 and presumably can be installed on multiple computers, though I admit that I can’t seem to find a direct explanation of exactly how many.

You can also download a demo to try out. It’s the full version of the program, but you’re restricted to building only five web pages without buying a license.

THE GOOD

This is a strong platform that allows everyone from beginners to advanced developers to make amazing websites with ease

THE BAD

They seem to be hiding what the difference between a standard and Household license are

AND THE UGLY

If you know little or nothing about hosting a website, looking for servers, or purchasing URLs, you’re going to have a rough time of getting your website on the internet

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