by Wayne Kawamoto
ecBuilder Pro 5.0
These days, anyone can hang an electronic shingle on the World Wide Web. Multiactive Software’s ecBuilder Pro 5.0 offers straight-forward tools ideal for those interested in building an e-commerce site. This version offers additional templates and content pages, and accommodates more catalog pages.
EcBuilder Pro easily creates sites that contain a shopping cart, use security encryption, and perform real-time credit-card processing. The intuitive, thorough 14-step wizard asks users to answer questions and fill in forms. The wizard also covers such topics as merchant accounts, currency, shipping options, tax rates, and digital certificates.
With ecBuilder, users can create up to 100 catalog sections on the site. EcBuilder offers helpful pre-defined templates for developing catalogs in real estate, automobiles, retail, and service sectors. The program also installs banners to cross-promote other sites and can create up to six pre-qualification questions to ask customers.
EcBuilder allows the use of one’s own Web server or host, which may be a convenience for some. It also helps publish the site and submits it to search engines.
While ecBuilder does many things right, there are areas for improvement. The program could do a better job of showing how current work will appear in the final site. Data entry is generally straight forward, but clumsy at times. Pre-defined search terms would help when sifting through long lists.
Overall, ecBuilder Pro 5.0 is a viable way for any business to create a Web site and gain an e-commerce presence. Firms that use ecBuilder won’t have the control over their sites that they would if an HTML expert built them from scratch. But the results are attractive and functional.
Multiactive Software, Inc.
$199 download, $229 shipping version
Pros: Straight-forward wizard; excellent help and documentation; creates a comprehensive e-commerce site
Cons: Could offer stronger previews; search function is needed when selecting from lists